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Houston Ballet announces dates for Bintley's Aladdin


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From Friday's Houston Chronicle, Houston Ballet announces its 2013-14 season:

Feb. 20-March 2, 2014: "Aladdin" (David Bintley)

 

The American premiere of David Bintley's "Aladdin," created in 2008 for the New National Ballet of Japan, is aimed at young audiences. This will be Houston Ballet's first work by Bintley, one of the hottest choreographers in Europe. Featuring scenery by Dick Bird, costumes by Sue Blane and lighting by Mark Jonathan, it's a co-production with Birmingham Royal Ballet, which Bintley directs.

"It's based on the novel, like the Disney production," Welch said. "It's very appropriate for children and has a great sense of humor. It also has a lot of roles - very challenging, very dance-y. Hopefully it will lead to more collaboration." [my emphasis]

 

Welch said the company will take "Aladdin" to Chicago.

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There's a novel of Aladdin?

 

I thought co-productions were always when a ballet was new: I could understand if BRB and NNBJ had co-produced, but it seems a little odd to have a co-production of an existing work. Or is the Japanese version vastly different in terms of design?

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My understanding is that BRB is rebuilding Aladdin from scratch and that has to cost mega-money, so why not do a co-pro? Houston Ballet also gets a family-friendly full-length for half-price, so to speak.

I suspect the Japanese costumes wouldn't have fit the larger British/N American bodies! (This was even a problem between the Royal B and the National Ballet of Canada, where Toronto's dancers are quite a bit bigger than the Royal B's and several Alice costumes had to be made from scratch here in Canada even though the production is "shared" between the two companies).

Also logistics of shipping costumes and sets back and forth between Japan and Europe/America were probably not cost-effective.

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We were lucky enough at a Friends technical talk in Sunderland to be told of the issues with the Japanese set - ie the set was not built as a "touring" set and the stage it was built for is considerably larger than any of the stages in the UK. The set has been modified and is being built in this countrly. Although BRB are using the designs for the costumes and, obviously, the choreography and score, the co-production is with Houston Ballet and not NNBTJ. Katherine is right about the costumes being made from scratch due to the differing sizes of the dancers.

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