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Beauty and the Beast

Concerto
The Firebird
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The Two Pigeons
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The Dream

David Bintley on the 2008-09 season


part five: summer


part one | part two | part three | part four | part five | part six

Emotional impact became a motivation for David when he began to choreograph his own work. 'My ambition for a great deal of my professional career was to do a piece that would leave the audience entirely in tears,' he reveals, as we discuss the next work in the season, The Two Pigeons. He jokes, 'I haven't spent all my life crying, but Pigeons is a piece that can move me to tears even in a studio rehearsal, partly because of the masterful last pas de deux and because of Lanchbery's arrangement of the music.'

The ballet also retains a particular poignancy for members of Birmingham Royal Ballet. 'It's one of our signature pieces; one of those pieces that I think we do so well. It was made for us so we've always had more ownership of it. The Royal Ballet have performed it, but it was always made for the touring Royal Ballet Company – at the time Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, now Birmingham Royal Ballet since the move to the Midlands.'

The ballet sees a restless artist leave his girlfriend to travel with a seemingly exotic troupe of gypsies, only to find that life on the road is not as romantic as he's envisaged. Returning home to his lover, he finds forgiveness and comes to appreciate the trust and stability his previous life offered.

'It's sentimental,' concedes David, 'and it can be easy to tip it over the edge, as it can be with a lot of Ashton, because that's what he was; he was a romantic old thing. But I think it actually goes beyond all that and it becomes a piece about forgiveness. It's that last duet which is really all about remorse and forgiveness. Unless you're being a dry eyed old cynic or you want to have a pop, it's fantastic, a marvellous piece!'

The Two Pigeons appears with the Balanchine work Mozartiana, in a programme titled Sir Fred and Mr B, after the two choreographers.

'Mozartiana is a piece that I saw a long long time ago, and I really liked it. There's a lovely deftness of touch involved in bringing it together.' With this ballet he has again chosen to revive a piece from the start of his career as Director of the Company. 'Because in the first five years of my directorship I was just trying to do new, new things and almost get rid of the past in order to move forwards, it got done once and then never reappeared.' Looking up at his notice board, which features a list of the names of the current Company, he nods to himself. 'This time round we've got some dancers who will really grab hold of it. In a quiet way, it's quite virtuosic, and I know that Chi and Nao will, among others, do something very special with it.'

Click here to read the final part of this interview
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