Bar one-off events like the Evening of Music and Dance at Symphony Hall last month, Birmingham Royal Ballet haven’t performed in full since the winter 2009 season of The Nutcracker. This is quite unusual for us. This time last year we’d already completed a three week tour of China and in 2008 we’d recently been to Belfast to perform Swan Lake.
But while we’ve not been performing, it’s been far from quiet. Once our Sleeping Beauty season begins on 3 March, we’ve only got six non-performance weeks until July, and we’re performing a LOT of different pieces, which has meant that the dancers have needed this time to rehearse all those works!
Sleeping Beauty aside, a lot of work is currently underway on our 20 Years Celebrations – three performances at Birmingham Hippodrome to mark (and tell the story of) the Company’s 20 years in the city of Birmingham. As well as dance excerpts, we’ll be presenting archive news footage, covering key moments from the Company’s history. We’re also recording new interviews to tell additional stories that might not have hit the news at the time. Hopefully the show will act as an introduction to those new to the Company, heighten the understanding of those already familiar, and provide a belting show to everyone regardless!
I spoke to David Bintley, Artistic Director, this morning, who told me ‘I’m really happy with how this show is coming together. Whenever you try to do anything this ambitious, you’re never sure how it’s going to turn out, but through the efforts of everybody here I’m confident that we’re going to be able to present a totally unique, and entertaining show.’
While I can’t reveal a lot of the repertory (we want it to be a surprise when you see it on the night!) it’s already been noted that the excerpt from Aladdin which delighted so many at the Evening of Music and Dance will be seen again. You can see a video clip of rehearsals for the piece here:
David also revealed in an interview earlier this year: ‘Ballet Hoo! would have to be included in some form, because the project went far beyond Romeo and Juliet, beyond our Education department, beyond Birmingham Royal Ballet as a whole – it went national if not global, and it’s the template for how to do that kind of project and why.’
In addition to this, I can also exclusively reveal that we’ll be dancing part of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, a piece which we performed at the Royal Variety Performance when it was recorded at Birmingham Hippodrome in 1999. This was also part of the Evening of Music and Dance, and went down so well we had to include it again here!