Company Artist Ruth Brill talks about the importance of new work to dancers.

I had been with English National Ballet for four years before joining Birmingham Royal Ballet during Hobsonís Choice in February this year. In my first week I rehearsed roles in Daphnis and ChloŽ, The Two Pigeons and Coppélia. It was exhausting! But it was also exciting, challenging, and above all, Iím thriving on Birmingham Royal Balletís work ethic. I have more freedom as a dancer on stage and Iíve been taken out of my comfort zone. Being able to dance in Ashton and MacMillan ballets is exhilarating and I think the big ballets really suit my style. Itís made me realise how important it is for a Company to have a diverse repertoire.

I have already been involved in creating new work too, and as an artist thatís exactly what I want to do. I worked with Kit Holder on his recent piece, 9Ė5, which was a fascinating experience. I played a domineering boss, which is certainly against type, so it was great fun. Creating new work is a collaboration between choreographer, dancer and audience. The rehearsal periods were very intense since we were learning something new and creating it all at the same time.

There are strong physical and mental demands on each of the dancers. In this particular piece there was also the added challenge of dancing to music you wouldnít ordinarily associate with classical ballet (drum íní bass). The preparation required could certainly rival any Olympic competitor.

I think you feel closer to an audience when presenting a piece thatís unfamiliar since youíre both experiencing something new together. Thereís an additional sense of pride when performing something new as the Company has pulled together to create a wholly original work of art. Thatís quite special and certainly our commitment to new work is very attractive to any dancer.

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