"Birmingham Royal Ballet" tag
World Ballet Live - 2 October 2018.

World Ballet Day, 2 October 2018 – an insight into what The Royal Ballet will be doing

Jann Parry talks to The Royal Ballet about what’s happening on World Ballet Day this year and just what it means for some of those involved… Kristen McNally, James Hay and Assistant director Anthoula Syndica-Drummond.

Students of the Upper School in Aurora’s Wedding.© Tristram Kenton / Royal Ballet School. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet School – Summer Performance, ROH Main Stage – London

★★★✰✰   A matinee in two halves: fine before the interval, with dire, dreary choreography in the second half. Thank goodness for the exhilarating Grand Défilé at the close.

Brandon Lawrence and Delia Matthews in Embrace.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Polarity & Proximity: Kin., Embrace, In The Upper Room – London

★★★✰✰   Williamson’s commission – the first of an ambitious Ballet Now programme for new works – was themed on issues of gender and alienation, with Brandon Lawrence being a man struggling for identity…

Brandon Lawrence, with Lachlan Monaghan, Haoliang Feng and Aitor Galende in Embrace.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Birmingham Royal Ballet in Embrace and Kin

BRB in George Williamson’s new “Embrace” and Alexander Whitley’s 2014 hit “Kin”. Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Yasuo Atsuji and Nao Sakuma in Romeo and Juliet.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Birmingham Royal Ballet in Romeo and Juliet

With Nao Sakuma and Yasuo Atsuji in the lead roles. Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Momoko Hirata in Romeo and Juliet.© Bill Cooper. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Romeo and Juliet – London

★★★★✰   It was a fine team performance from the company but particular honours go to Momoko Hirata’s Juliet who let us know what she was thinking and feeling at every moment.

Alina Cojocaru in The Sleeping Beauty.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – The Sleeping Beauty – London

★★★★✰   It’s a better Sleeping Beauty than the Royal Ballet’s, but it benefits enormously from a stellar performance at its heart, a reminder of how civilised ballet can be.

Zenaida Yanowsky and Alina Cojocaru - respective winners of the Best Female Dancer and Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) awards.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – UK National Dance Awards 2017

Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Momoko Hirata in Sleeping Beauty.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Gallery – Birmingham Royal Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty

Gallery by Dave Morgan…

Isaac Hernandez and Jurgita Dronina in La Sylphide.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Song of the Earth, La Sylphide – London

★★★★✰   The pairing cannily indulges our need for vivid material on these bleak mid-winter nights while also steering us down from the high of the Christmas circuit, with its sugary Nutcrackers and other family-friendly fare.

Arancha Baselga and Brandon Lawrence in The Nutcracker.© Annabel Moeller. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★✰✰   Peter Wright’s glorious ballet might not shine quite so magically in its Bintley/Albert Hall version but the dancers certainly do…

Benjamin Ella and Isabella Gasparini in Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern.© Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Memorable Performances of 2017 – London

Head and shoulders above other new work this year was Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern for the Royal Ballet…

Le Rossignol masterclass: Anna Rose O’Sullivan and William Bracewell with Anthony Dowell.© Rachel Thomas. (Click image for larger version)

Feature – Frederick Ashton’s choreography for Le Rossignol – a masterclass with Sir Anthony Dowell

The Metropolitan Opera in New York staged “Le Rossignol” in December 1981 as part of a programme commemorating the hundredth anniversary of Stravinsky’s birth… the producer was John Dexter. He told Ashton, back in London, that he could choreograph two dancers as the Nightingale and the Fisherman on stage, while the roles would be sung by opera singers in the orchestra pit…

Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb in The Nutcracker.© Foteini Christofilopoulou, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Nutcracker – London

★★★★★   When Peter Wright’s production of The Nutcracker for the Royal Ballet was given its premiere on 20th December 1984, gala guests were treated to free champagne and souvenir booklets. No expense was spared…

© Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards

2017 National Dance Awards – Announcement of Nominations

The Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle is pleased to announce the nominations for the 18th National Dance Awards…

Tzu-Chao Chou in ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café.© Andy Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Arcadia, Le Baiser de la fée, ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café – London

★★✰✰✰   Bintley’s ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café saves a dispiriting evening by providing nimble demi-character dancing with a timely message, first delivered nearly 20 years ago.

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Aladdin – London

★★★✰✰   Aladdin never fully finds its feet, but there’s a lot to like about the show, from the cheery group numbers to the striking visuals.

George Williamson.© Arnaud Stephenson. (Click image for larger version)

5 Questions to George Williamson – freelance choreographer and recipient of the first BRB Ballet Now commission

Ballet Now is an initiative between Birmingham Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells to develop the (classical) choreographers, composers and designers of the future. It’s a 5-year programme with 2 commissions each year, made possible by the Oak Foundation, matched BRB funding and driven by a Creative Consortium.

Cesar Morales.© Andres Cabezas. (Click image for larger version)

Cesar Morales – Principal Dancer, Birmingham Royal Ballet

So how did a good Chilean boy end up dancing ballet in Europe…

MacMillan Celebrations – Gloria (NB), The Judas Tree (RB), Elite Syncopations (RB+Guests) – London

★★★★✰   Elite Syncopations: Dancers from all five major British ballet companies took part, some doubling up roles in identical outfits so that identifying dancers was confusing. The stand-out solo in both the casts I saw was to the Calliope Rag, Monica Mason’s original role…

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