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Press Release: Birmingham Royal Ballet's Fire and Fury

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31 July 2018 



Featuring David Bintley’s The King Dances and the world premiere of Juanjo Arqués’s Ignite 
Birmingham Hippodrome 3 - 6 October, Theatre Royal Plymouth 9 & 10 October and Sadler’s Wells 30 - 31 October


Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Fire & Fury mixed programme brings to life two ballets fuelled by power and politics. Director David Bintley’s The King Dances is a modern-day glimpse at the kindling of ballet’s future, whilst award-winning choreographer Juanjo Arqués’s Ignite demonstrates that the flames of the art form continue to burn brightly today. 

In The King Dances, David Bintley casts a modern eye back to the very beginnings of ballet; a time when men were the kings of dance. When young King Louis XIV of France danced the role of the Sun God in a spectacular court entertainment, he earned himself the soubriquet The Sun King. However, beneath the veneer of the glittering, fashionable court lies a desperate, nightmarish struggle for power between the young king and his mentor, Count Mazarin. Inspired by ballet’s very first steps, an all-male ensemble displays a unique kind of virtuosity in this powerful and compelling piece. 

Juanjo Arqués’s Ignite has been commissioned as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s pioneering Ballet Now talent development programme, and features brand new designs from Tatyana Van Walsum and a score from Kate Whitley (co-founder of The Multi-Story Orchestra). Inspired by Turner’s painting ‘The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons’, Ignite translates vibrant colour into atmospheric choreography, creating a symbolic narrative unique to each audience member.

Ballet Now is generously supported by Oak Foundation’s Special Interest Programme, which provided major funding for the project. Ballet Now is also supported by the Foyle Foundation, Anthony Coombs and The Keith Coombs Trust, The Big Give 2017, The John Feeney Charitable Trust, The Leche Trust, The John S Cohen Foundation, The H Steven and PE Wood Charitable Trust, The W and M Morris Charitable Trust, the estate of Judith and John Percival, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s New Work Syndicate 2017 and Director’s Appeal 2017.

The King Dances
Choreography: David Bintley
Music: Stephen Montague
Designs: Katrina Lindsay
Lighting: Peter Mumford

Choreography: Juanjo Arqués
Music: Kate Whitley
Designs: Tatyana Van Walsum
Lighting: Bert Dalhuysen
Dramaturg: Fabienne Vegt


Listings information:

Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000
Wednesday 3 – Saturday 6 October 

Theatre Royal Plymouth
Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR; 01752 267222

Tuesday 9 & Wednesday 10 October

Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4TN; 020 7863 8000
Tuesday 30 & Wednesday 31 October  

Birmingham Royal Ballet 
Based at Birmingham Hippodrome since 1990, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the United Kingdom’s leading classical ballet touring company performing a range of traditional, classical and heritage ballets as well as ground-breaking new works with the aim of encouraging choreographers of the future.

In the 2016/17 season, Birmingham Royal Ballet toured to 13 different venues, including 9 weeks at its home venue Birmingham Hippodrome, and performed 8 different productions to over 185,000 people. 

The company’s Director is the award-winning David Bintley, CBE, Interim Chief Executive is Caroline Miller, OBE and Music Director is Koen Kessels. Birmingham Royal Ballet performs at Birmingham Hippodrome for approximately ten weeks of the year and the remainder of the year tours throughout the United Kingdom and overseas.   

The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is Britain's busiest ballet orchestra, playing for Birmingham Royal Ballet's wide-ranging programme in the UK and abroad. The Sinfonia also plays frequently for The Royal Ballet and many of the world's other leading ballet companies, including regular performances with; The Royal Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Kirov, Norwegian Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and La Scala Ballet.


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Perhaps it just means furious in the sense of frenetic? But I do sigh a bit when I see that Ignite will be 'creating a symbolic narrative unique to each audience member'. What the dickens (to coin a phrase) does that mean?! The choreographer knows nothing of the personal narrative - symbolic or otherwise - of any of the audience members; or how they might react to the piece. The most that can be hoped for is that each member of the audience will find something in the work to which they can respond. I think a little humility is called for in the description and promotion of works, especially new works.



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I hope William Bracewell can make a little guest appearance in the Bintley. He was so good in it last time around. It was the first time I saw him dance and he certainly made an impression. If he is too busy, I know there are also other wonderful dancers in the company.

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