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Press Release: Birmingham Royal Ballet Spring 2014 season at Birmingham Hippodrome

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  • A triple bill of witty classics, Three of a Kind
  • David Bintley’s The Prince of the Pagodas


Venue and booking information:

Birmingham Hippodrome: Tickets: 0844 338 5000       www.birminghamhippodrome.com



Birmingham Royal Ballet is delighted to return to the Birmingham Hippodrome stage from 19 February to 1 March.  The Company will perform its Spring season in its home city with two productions; a triple bill of witty classics from John Cranko, George Balenchine and Kenneth Macmillan entitled Three of a Kind and performances of David Bintley’s imaginative reworking of a classic story that celebrates the power of family love, The Prince of the Pagodas.



THREE OF A KIND                                                                         19 TO 22 FEBRUARY



In Card Game, Stravinsky, himself a keen poker player, plays with allegiances, rivalries and power. Cranko’s witty choreography entered the Royal Ballet repertory in 1966. In this modern classic, the sly Jokey banishes the proud Queen, the Two, Three, Four, Five and Six strike a straight flush, and the little Two of Diamonds tries to spoil everyone’s fun.

Created by the great ballet choreographer George Balenchine for the musical On Your Toes!, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is a crazy 1930s comedy, its humour and vitality providing sparkling entertainment. After discovering that a hit man in the audience is to shoot him as soon as his stage routine is over, a luckless leading man has no option but to extend his frantic solo until the cops arrive! Music by the great Richard Rodgers completes this theatrical extravaganza.   


A completely stripped-back theatre bursts into life as dancers in brilliantly coloured costumes gather for a dance competition. An equally vibrant rag-time band play old favourites from Scott Joplin and his contemporaries to accompany a string of sketches, spanning the dazzling, the witty and the touching, as each dancer at the competition takes their turn. One of Macmillan’s best-loved creations, Elite Syncopations is certain to leave you smiling.



THE PRINCE OF THE PAGODAS                                              25 FEBRUARY TO 1 MARCH


David Bintley’s ballet to Benjamin Britten’s only commissioned ballet score was rapturously received by audiences and critics at its premiere by the National Ballet of Japan in 2011. The spectacular and imaginative costumes from War Horse designer Rae Smith bring to life the elegance and beauty of the Chrysanthemum Kingdom, and capture our imagination in the fantastical journey through the elements. 


This production boasts a stellar creative team. Choreography is by David Bintley and adds another full-length ballet to Bintley’s incredible career and history of dance making. Full length ballets choreographed by Bintley, the award-winning Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, include Hobson’s Choice, Edward II, Far from the Madding Crowd, Cinderella and Aladdin.


Music for The Prince of the Pagodas is by Benjamin Britten. The score was first commissioned by The Royal Ballet with choreography by John Cranko in 1957. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production will be one of the closing highlights of the Britten 100 celebrations; a year-long, world-wide dedication to the British composer.


Award-winning British designer Rae Smith brings The Prince of the Pagodas to vibrant life with her set and costume designs. Smith’s work credits include War Horse (winning her an Olivier Award in 2008 and an Evening Standard Best Design Award in 2007) and most recently The Light Princess for the National Theatre.


Through a lonely childhood the Princess Sakura mourns the death of her brother and the slow disintegration of her once all-powerful father the Emperor of the Chrysanthemum Throne, who, broken by the death of his son, allows his new wife to take control of his kingdom.


Presented with a choice of four powerful and wealthy husbands, Sakura’s memories of the true love she once felt for her brother gives her the courage to refuse her suitors. Her resolve is reinforced when a fifth suitor arrives at the Palace- a scaly Salamander, both fascinating and repellent. Determined not to be forced to follow her stepmother’s bidding, Princess Sakura throws herself on the mercy of the new arrival.


After a long and dangerous journey through the elements of earth, air, fire and water, they arrive at the Salamander’s kingdom, but Sakura’s adventure has only just begun.


Accompanying Birmingham Royal Ballet will be the Company’s full-time orchestra the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under the Musical Directorship of Koen Kessels. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is Britain’s busiest ballet orchestra, playing for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s wide-ranging programme in the UK and abroad.

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