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Press Release: Crystal Ballet - Ballet Goes Digital

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Ballet Goes Digital


Unique British product launched in Tokyo on 1 July



London, June 2013


Some of the brightest stars of British ballet are to join forces in a major dance initiative being launched this summer. Entitled GENESIS, this unique project is set to captivate ballet audiences everywhere and appeal to a wider digitally-aware generation. The initiative is being launched in Tokyo on 1 July when downloads will become available internationally to the general public. A European launch will take place in London in September 2013.


GENESIS is the brainchild of Crystal Ballet, a Company set up in 2011 to explore new frontiers in dance. When the downloads become available to the general public, it will be the first time ever that a collection of dance pieces has been created and filmed specifically for download to personal portable devices.


Created by renowned choreographers Kim Brandstrup and Ernst Meisner to music by Bach, Mendelssohn and Rachmaninoff, GENESIS features stars of The Royal Ballet:  including Alina Cojacaru, Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, together with stars of English National Ballet: Esteban Berlanga, Daria Klimentová, Vadim Muntagirov and Erina Takahashi.


With atmospheric lighting design created especially for the medium by Nicholas Holdridge, GENESIS is a collection of eight original dance pieces exploring aspects of human relationships. Featuring female and male solos as well as pas de deux, GENESIS takes audiences from the beginning of a relationship, to the passionate exuberance of youth, through to the comfort of middle life and to the inevitable end. 


Using the same state-of-the-art camera and techniques that have dazzled worldwide  audiences in recent films such as The Amazing Spiderman and Prometheus, GENESIS will be directed especially for the medium by Kim Brandstrup and The Royal Ballet’s Bennet Gartside.


Co-founder and Artistic Director of Crystal Ballet, Henry St Clair comments:


‘Together with our Managing Director, Mark Handford, and all the creative team, I am thrilled that this new frontier for dance performance is being launched in Tokyo. Dance enjoys a huge following in Japan, and Japanese audiences are well known for their enthusiasm for the art form. The Tokyo launch paves the way nicely for a European launch in London after the summer. With the launch of GENESIS, dance lovers will at last be able to watch dance that has been created especially for personal portable devices, and a new digitally-minded generation will have an excellent entry point to appreciate it, perhaps for the first time’.


The ‘album’ will be available to download internationally from 1 July from itunes at £15. More information from www.crystalballet.com


Notes for Editors


Crystal Ballet

International stars take ballet to the world with Crystal Ballet’s Genesis, created especially for download by Olivier and Evening Standard award-winning choreographer Kim Brandstrup, and former Royal Ballet dancer Ernst Meisner. A revolution in watching ballet, Genesis has been created especially for some of the most feted and talented dancers of our generation, including Alina Cojocaru and Vadim Muntagirov. A ticket to the ballet can cost more than £50. To download Genesis costs just £15 to watch some of the world’s great dancers on your device, as many times as your heart desires, wherever you are. Crystal Ballet’s aim is to commission the creation of new works, developed specifically for downloadable film.


Mark Handford, Managing Director

Mark has worked in the IT/Financial sector for over 20 years, for many industry leaders including HSBC, CSFB, HBoS, Barclays Capital, JPMorgan, and BP. Working as a consultant, his wealth of business and technical knowledge helped develop solutions for different trading platforms. Since he first saw a ballet six years ago, Mark's passion for the art form has grown steadily. The partnership between his IT experience and his love of ballet lead to the creation of Crystal Ballet.


Henry St Clair, Artistic Director

Born in Colchester, Henry was an avid fan of classical ballet from a very young age, and it was clear that this was to be his focus in life. After two years at the Legat School of Ballet in Kent, Henry joined The Royal Ballet Lower School in 1987 and then the Upper School in 1992. On graduation in 1995, he joined English National Ballet, performing a wide variety of roles. Henry later joined Theater Hof in Germany as Principal Dancer, dancing many of the major classical roles. In 2004, Henry joined The Royal Ballet Company, subsequently moving on to qualify as a physiotherapist, and more recently to gain a degree in Economics.



Kim Brandstrup, Choreogapher

Over the last two decades, Kim Brandstrup has established his name as one of the leading narrative choreographers of his generation, a dance maker with a natural instinct for telling stories.  For Brandstrup, telling stories and addressing serious issues has always been combined  -  “Telling stories connects us,” as he has once said,  “to our shared humanity.” Another key to the way Brandstrup shapes choreography - makes it tell stories, explore moods, stimulate our reactions to movement - lies in his initial interest in cinema, and his formal studies in film. Kim Brandstrup studied film at the University of Copenhagen, and choreography with Nina Fonaroff at the London Contemporary Dance School. Kim has been working as a choreographer since 1983, and in 1985 founded his own dance company, ARC. Now a sought-after freelance choreographer, he works with leading international ballet companies, including The Royal Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and Rambert Dance Company, as well as in film and theatre. Goldberg: The Brandstrup-Rojo Project, which Brandstrup created in September 2009 with the then Royal Ballet Principal Tamara Rojo, won a coveted Laurence Olivier Award for the Best Dance Production of 2009. The full-evening work was described variously by critics as ‘a mini-masterpiece’ and ‘a choreographic gem’. In June 2013 he choreographs soloists from The Royal Ballet, in a new work set to Benjamin Britten’s music for the Aldeburgh Festival Britten centenary Death in Venice programme, and supervises the revival of his much-admired choreography for in London and Amsterdam.


Further information: www.kimbrandstrup.org



Ernst Meisner, Choreographer

Dutch-born, Ernst trained at the Nationale Ballet Academie and at The Royal Ballet School. He joined The Royal Ballet in 2000, later joining Dutch National Ballet as a Grand Sujet in 2010. His repertoire with The Royal Ballet included Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Benno in Swan Lake, and many featured roles in the Company’s repertoire, including Manon, Cinderella, Mayerling, Giselle, Ondine, The Sleeping Beauty, Sylvia, The Nutcracker. He also danced in ballets by choreographers such as Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, David Bintley, Mats Ek, Jiri  Kylian, Kenneth MacMillan, Wayne  McGregor, Alastair Marriott, Glen Tetley, Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe and Michael Corder. Since joining Dutch National Ballet, he has danced in Alexei Ratmansky's On the Dnieper and Don Quixote, Benjamin Millepied's One Thing Leads to Another, John Neumeier's Sylvia and Krystof Pastor's Dumbarton Dances. Ernst created new choreography each year between 2000 - 2010 for The Royal Ballet’s Draft Works/First Drafts seasons, with his What If being selected as part of The Royal Ballet’s New Works at The Linbury Studio Theatre in 2008. In 2010 he was invited to choreograph for English National Ballet School, creating Petit Suite to music by Rachmaninoff. Later that year, he choreographed Two especially for Dance East’s Anniversary Gala. In 2005, he produced a performance at the Orchard Theatre on Dartford, featuring dancers from The Royal Ballet and The Mariinsky Ballet, as well as choreographing Maybe Living for the same show to a specially commissioned score by London based composer Paul Gladstone-Reid. As a teacher, Ernst has worked with the Royal Opera House Education Department, including its Chance to Dance programme, has taught at DanceWorks, as a guest teacher with English National Ballet School, and at Nationale Ballet Academie. Ernst was commissioned by Dutch National Ballet to choreograph and produce a performance for families featuring dancers from the company, creating De Kleine Grote Kist to a new score by Alastair Broadley with designs by Karoline Young-Weber. This was premiered at Muziektheater Amsterdam in May 2011, and was further performed in the 2011/12 season. His A Posse Ad Esse was premiered in June 2011 by students of Amsterdam’s Nationale Balletacademie.



Dancers: ‘official’ company biographies in alphabetical order


Esteban Berlanga, Soloist, English National Ballet

Birthplace: Albacete, Spain

Training: Conservatorio Professional de Musica y Danza de Albacete, Real Conservatorio Professional de Danza de Madrid

Previous companies: Europa Danse, 2003-2005

Joined English National Ballet in 2006, became Soloist in 2009

Favourite roles: Jardi Tancat, Nacho Duato, Paso Mezzo, Ohad Naharin, Sous Le Soleil Exactement, Tony Fabre

Favourite productions: Three Preludes, A Million Kisses to my Skin and Daylight by David Dawson and Swan Lake in-the-round

Career highlights: El Día de la Creación, Goyo Montero, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake at the London Coliseum and Des Grieux in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, and creating Faun(e) by David Dawson and Albrecht in Giselle

Other: First prize in Castilla–La Mancha competition in 2006. Roles created by Goyo Montero El Día de la Creación and Anacrusa. Benois de la Danse Award Nominee 2010


Alina Cojocaru, Principal, The Royal Ballet

Born in Bucharest, she trained in Kiev before joining The Royal Ballet School (1998) on a Prix de Lausanne scholarship. She danced with Kiev Ballet for a year (Kitri, Aurora, Cinderella, Clara, Swanilda), then joined The Royal Ballet in 1999, promoted to Principal, 2001. Her repertory includes Sugar Plum Fairy, Nikiya, Kitri, Juliet, Giselle, Odette/Odile, Mary Vetsera, Aurora, Tatiana, Titania, Manon, Raymonda, Cinderella, Ondine, Vera, Chloë, Bride (Wedding Bouquet), Sylphide (La Sylphide), Pupil (The Lesson), and roles in Scènes de Ballet, Symphonic Variations, Symphony in C, Tombeaux, Ballet Imperial, Homage to The Queen, Voluntaries, Theme and Variations, ‘Diamonds’ (Jewels) and Dances at a Gathering. She created roles in Les Saisons, Chroma, Rushes – Fragments of a Lost Story, and Rhapsody, among others. Her guest appearances include performances with the Mariinsky Ballet, ABT, Royal Danish Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Romanian National Theatre Ballet and the National Ballet of Hungary.

Dancers: ‘official’ company biographies in alphabetical order (contd)



Daria Klimentová, Lead Principal, English National Ballet

Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic

Training: School of Music and Dance (Prague State Conservatory)

Previous Companies: National Theatre Ballet Company, Prague (joined 1989, Soloist, Principal), Cape Ballet Company, South Africa (joined 1992, Principal), Scottish Ballet (joined 1993, Principal)

English National Ballet: Joined in 1996 as a Principal Dancer

Favourite roles: Title role in Sphinx, Odile in Swan Lake, Marguérite in Lady of the Camellias, Juliet with Vadim Muntagirov, Manon with Friedemann Vogel

Career highlights: Creating stage and film versions of Camille, creating principal role in Double Concerto and The Snow Queen

Other: Won Paris Dance Foundation Prize at Prix de Lausanne; first place Tokyo (1989), International Ballet Competition, Pretoria (1991), received The Patron’s Award from Dame Beryl Grey (2011). Won the 2011 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for Outstanding Female Dancer


Sarah Lamb, Principal, The Royal Ballet

Born in Boston, she trained with Madame Tatiana Legat at Boston Ballet School. She was awarded a Gold Medal by President Clinton, 1998, after being named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She won three silver medals at the International Ballet Competition in Nagoya, Japan, 1999, the Sixth New York IBC, 2000, and the USA IBC, 2002. She joined Boston Ballet in 1998, promoted to Soloist, 2001, and Principal, 2003. She joined The Royal Ballet in 2004, promoted to Principal, 2006. Her repertory includes Cinderella, Odette/Odile, Juliet, Aurora, Nikiya, Lise, Olga, Sugar Plum Fairy, Sylvia, Marie Larisch, Masha, Manon, Alice, Sylphide (La Sylphide), Theme and Variations pas de deux,Thaïs pas de deux and roles in Voluntaries, Polyphonia, Afternoon of a Faun, ‘Rubies’ (Jewels), Serenade, Concerto, Infra, Symphony in C, DGV: Danse à grande vitesse, Scènes de Ballet, and Tryst. She created roles in Carbon Life, Chroma, Limen, Electric Counterpoint, and Live Fire Exercise.


Steven McRae, Principal, The Royal Ballet

Born in Sydney, he trained with Hilary Kaplan, and then at The Royal Ballet School. He received the RAD Solo Seal Award, and the Adeline Genée Gold Medal, 2002, and the Prix de Lausanne, 2003. He joined The Royal Ballet in 2004, promoted to Principal, 2009. His repertory includes Prince Siegfried, Lensky, Romeo, Gurn, Hans-Peter/Nutcracker, Des Grieux, Bluebird and Prince Florimund, Bratfisch, Bronze Idol, Colas, Brazilian WoollyMonkey, Prince (Nutcracker, Cinderella), blue boy (Les Patineurs), The Chosen One (Rite of Spring) and Theme and Variations pas de deux.

He created roles in Three Songs – Two Voices, Children of Adam, Chroma, and Acis and Galatea (Royal Opera) and Magician/Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In 2007 he was nominated for an Olivier Award, and won Emerging Male Artist (Classical) at the Critics’ Circle Dance Awards.


Vadim Muntagirov, Lead Principal, English National Ballet

Birthplace: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Training: Perm Ballet School, Royal Ballet Upper School

English National Ballet : Joined in 2009 as First Artist, promoted to First Soloist 2010, Principal 2011, Lead Principal 2012

Favourite roles: Basilio Don Quixote, Spartacus and Flames of Paris

Career highlights: Moving to London and meeting new friends and performing the leading roles of Albrecht in Giselle and the Prince in Cinderella all during his first season with the Company. Appearing in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall in the leading role of Siegfried. Dancing the leading roles of the poet in Les Sylphides and the Prince in The Nutcracker and Romeo

Other info: Laureate at Prix de Lausanne competition, second place and silver medal at Arabesque competition, first place and gold medal at Vaganova Prix competition, first place at Youth America Grand Prix competition. Winner of the 2010 Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical). Appeared as a Guest Artist with ABT in January 2012 as Solor in La bayadère in Washington DC, and winner of the 2013 Benoit de la Danse competition  in Moscow


Erina Takahashi, Lead Principal, English National Ballet

Birthplace: Kushiro, Japan

Training: Kushiro Ballet Academy by Kou Yano, English National Ballet School

English National Ballet : Joined in 1996, became Principal Dancer in 2000 and Lead Principal in 2007

Favourite roles: Giselle, Juliet, The Chosen One in The Rite of spring

Favourite production: Mary Skeaping’s Giselle

Career highlights: Creating role of Aurora in Deane’s The Sleeping Beauty and Clara in Christopher Hampson’s The Nutcracker

Other info: Best Female Newcomer in 2002 Critics’ Circle Awards





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