Birmingham Royal Ballet choreographer and dancer Ruth Brill unveils her latest work for the company Peter & The Wolf at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre on 10/11 May 2019 and then touring. Time for a quick word…
Your new work is Peter & The Wolf to the famous Prokofiev score – a ‘symphonic fairy tale for children’. What should we expect and is it targeted at us all?
I hope Peter & The Wolf will be an entertaining and fun experience for both adults and children. The combination of the famous music, narration and present-day setting means it’s accessible for all ages and backgrounds. I’d label it as theatre that’s rooted in classical ballet, lived through the interaction of the characters.
How do you create – do you go into the studio with a firm idea of the movement you want?
I always come in with a clear focus to each rehearsal, whether that’s to play, create or clarify. I feel that every rehearsal should achieve something, so it’s satisfying for the dancers. I prepare by spending hours familiarising myself with the music, its structure and all its intricacies and layers. I come in with a palette of ideas – whether a movement, position, formation or particular feeling. By over preparing, I have ideas at my fingertips, ready to be selected and experimented with or discarded. This way, when I’m in the room, I can be flexible and just go with the flow of the rehearsal.
How would you describe your choreographic style? And who are your dance heroes?
My choreographic style is certainly rooted in classical ballet vocabulary. For me the movement always grows out of the music, and has complementary phrasing to the score. My work has a strong sense of theatre, with clear structure and dynamic formations. I enjoy working with versatile and musical dancers. I hope my work has a high entertainment value and humour. But of course, it really does depend on the brief and wouldn’t want to be put in a box at this point!
My dance heroes are those that have inspired me at different points of my career – Gene Kelly, Jerome Robbins, Alina Cojocaru, Drew McOnie, Gillian Lynne, Anita Young, Leanne Cope, Eve Pettinger, Antony Dowson, David Bintley, Robbie Fairchild, Arlene Phillips, Brandon Lawrence, Cathy Marston, Christopher Wheeldon and Justin Peck.
If money were no object what’s your biggest dance wish?
To create my own company, with budgets to choreograph new productions, pay my staff and dancers well and collaborate with other artists across genres.
Post Peter & The Wolf, what comes next and where?
I’ll be focusing on choreography. I’m re-staging Cathy Marston’s Ballet Shoes for London Children’s Ballet, which is to be performed at the Peacock Theatre in July. I am also taking on the Interim Artistic Director role at National Youth Ballet and choreographing a new work for them, which will be on at Sadler’s Wells in September. There are a few other projects also in the pipeline but yet to be announced. I’m getting married to the love of my life in July too!
Bonus question – Tell us a joke…
How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it.
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