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Birmingham Royal Ballet plans

Posted on April 12, 2013

pagodasnationalballetofjapanhidemi seto

pagodasnationalballetofjapanhidemi-setoBirmingham Royal Ballet has announced plans for the 2013–14 season, including the UK premiere of David Bintley’s The Prince of the Pagodas (pictured), rare Frederick Ashton revivals and works by Bintley, John Cranko, George Balanchine and Kenneth MacMillan. Performances at Birmingham Hippodrome and some tour dates have been confirmed, with more performances to be announced.


The season opens at The Lowry, Salford from September 25 to 28, with Peter Wright’s staging of The Sleeping Beauty. This production will tour to Sadler’s Wells, London from October 17 to 19, to the Empire Theatre, Sunderland from October 24 to 26 and to the Theatre Royal, Plymouth from October 31 to November 2.


Back home at the Birmingham Hippodrome, the company dance an all-Bintley Triple Bill of Tombeaux, Bintley’s lament for Ashton, the award-winning E=mc2 and ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café from October 3 to 5. This programme will also tour to Sadler’s Wells from October 15 to 16 and to the Theatre Royal, Plymouth from October 29 to 30.


Peter Wright’s much-loved production of The Nutcracker returns to Birmingham Hippodrome from November 22 to December 12, with a special family fun day on Sunday, December 8.


Three of a Kind, at the Birmingham Hippodrome from February 19 to 22, is a Triple Bill of Cranko’s poker-themed Card Game, Balanchine’s jazzy Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and MacMillan’s ragtime romp Elite Syncopations.


Birmingham Royal Ballet marks the centenary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten with the UK premiere of Bintley’s The Prince of the Pagodas, created for the National Ballet of Japan in 2011. Bintley has adjusted the score’s famously tricky libretto, making it the story of Princess Sakura of the Chysanthemum Kingdom, her conflict with her stepmother and readiness to trust the mysterious, scaly Salamander. The sets and costumes are by Rae Smith, award-winning designer of the National Theatre’s production War Horse. The production will be danced at Birmingham Hippodrome from February 25 to March 1.


Darkness and Light is all-Ashton Triple Bill, danced at Birmingham Hippodrome from June 4 to 7. Dante Sonata was created in 1940, in response to World War II. Danced to Liszt, it shows the conflict between the Children of Light and the serpentine Children of Darkness, with casualties on both sides. It fell out of repertory after the war, but was brought back by Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2000. Les Rendezvous, created in 1933, is full of meetings in a park, with virtuoso dancing. Set to music by William Walton, Façade draws on Edith Sitwell’s poetry for a series of characters and sketches, from a dizzy Debutante’s tango to a milkmaid.


The season ends with more Ashton, in a revival of La Fille mal gardée at the Hippodrome from June 11 to 15.


See for details.


Picture: Artists of the National Ballet of Japan as courtiers in The Prince of the Pagodas. Photograph: Hidemi Seto

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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