News
2014-15 season announced
07 April 2014
Interview with William Bracewell
29 March 2014
Interview with Jenna Roberts
28 March 2014
Interview with Yaoqian Shang
26 March 2014
Five Best Ballet Baddies
12 March 2014
Interview with Miki Mizutani
06 March 2014
Dancing in the Blitz
04 March 2014
Emperor's New Steps
26 February 2014
The Return of Yasuo Atsuji
25 February 2014
Tapping into Different Styles of Dance
19 February 2014
Five Theatrical Transformations
17 February 2014
Birmingham Royal Ballet hosts launch of NIDMS Birmingham NHS Clinic
29 November 2013
Nutcracker activity sheets
11 November 2013
Arts Council England's Capital Investment Programme Award
23 October 2013
Recapturing A Dream: David Bintley on Tombeaux
27 September 2013
New dancers 2013
13 September 2013
Lighting Up The Stage
11 September 2013
Learn how to be wicked!
01 September 2013
London premiere of The Prince of the Pagodas announced
19 July 2013
End of season promotions 2013
06 July 2013
Retelling Giselle: Five Changes David made to the production
12 June 2013
2013 Summer season announcements
07 June 2013
Five balletic backstories
07 June 2013
Giselle illustration project announced
15 May 2013
Documentary screening in Nottingham
10 May 2013
Video: Pineapple Poll
07 May 2013
Company wins wins BBC Performing Arts Fund Music Fellowship award
26 April 2013
Carol-Anne Millar retires from the stage
26 April 2013
Five previews of the 2013-14 season
18 April 2013
2013-14 Birmingham diary dates
03 April 2013
10 more Company tweeters
22 February 2013
2013 Choreographics showing
10 January 2013
Matthew Lawrence announces his return to Australia
19 October 2012
10 Company tweeters
19 October 2012
A romantic night out
08 October 2012
Swan Lake art collection unveiled
02 October 2012
Evening of Music and Dance 2013
26 September 2012
Birmingham Royal Ballet at ArtsFest 2012
06 September 2012
Swan Lake Casting 2012
05 September 2012
Company promotions 2012
10 July 2012
Company Announcements 2012
10 July 2012
Five 'transporting' ballet moments
13 June 2012
Adapting Far from the Madding Crowd
13 June 2012
Bintley ballet posters
07 June 2012
Matthew Hindson on his score for new ballet, Faster
06 June 2012
Matthew Lawrence choreographing routine for British five-time champion gymnast ahead of 2012 Olympics
29 May 2012
Five splashes of sunshine
22 May 2012
Work continues on new IDFB ballets
11 April 2012
Cinderella wins Manchester Theatre Award
14 March 2012
Pointe Blank at Six Eight Kafé
05 March 2012
Birmingham 2012-13 Season announced
18 February 2012
Five love triangles
14 February 2012
Company dancer Kit Holder to create new work
09 February 2012
Alexander Campbell to guest in Hobson's Choice
09 February 2012
Five pieces of choreography based on bird movements
27 January 2012
David Bintley wins classical choreography award for Cinderella
26 January 2012
The Lowry’s Youth Dance Ambassadors
12 January 2012
Five on-stage horses
02 December 2011
Barry Wordsworth becomes Music Director Laureate
28 November 2011
1991-2011 Nutcracker posters
21 November 2011
Five onstage Movember moments
18 November 2011
True Light, a new work by Alexander Campkin
09 November 2011
Birmingham Royal Ballet's first audio described performance
16 October 2011
Alexander Grant, a tribute
12 October 2011
Elmhurst Announces Appointment of New Artistic Director
19 September 2011
Royal Ballet Sinfonia collaboration with Birmingham Cathedral
19 September 2011
Artsfest 2011 performance
05 September 2011
Beauty and the Beast to tour to Salford in 2012
25 August 2011
Five mighty mice
24 August 2011
Company promotions 2011
11 July 2011
Leavers and Joiners 2011
11 July 2011
Marion Tait appointed Assistant Director
11 July 2011
Elmhurst starts search for new Artistic Director
05 July 2011
Pointe Blank collection unveiled!
16 June 2011
Birmingham Royal Ballet embarks on new collaborative design project
10 June 2011
Five pieces of art inspired by the Company
29 May 2011
An unusual guide to Coppélia
29 May 2011
Company to proceed with Japanese tour
21 April 2011
Royal Ballet Sinfonia works with Pet Shop Boys
22 March 2011
Cinderella interactive timeline
18 March 2011
Cinderella designs on display in Cardiff
17 March 2011
More ballet for the boys
16 March 2011
Fancy Feet: five ballets danced in unusual footwear
10 February 2011
Company costumes on display in Birmingham store
09 February 2011
Repertory confirmed for 2011 split tour
07 February 2011
Cinderella to be broadcast on Christmas day
02 December 2010
The darker side of Marion Tait
03 November 2010
Evening of Music and Dance 2011
03 November 2010
Birmingham Royal Ballet launches phone/computer widget
19 October 2010
Nao Sakuma interview
12 October 2010
In the Upper Room gallery
12 October 2010
David Bintley and Birmingham Royal Ballet to receive Broad Street Stars at Artsfest 2010
08 September 2010
Jenna Roberts
08 September 2010
Pointes of View
02 September 2010
The Low Down on the Upper Room
02 September 2010
Elmhurst on television
24 August 2010
Romeo and Juliet gallery
10 August 2010
Concerto from the wings gallery
15 July 2010
Christopher Barron on the end of the season
13 July 2010
Company announcements 2010
12 July 2010
Cinderella tour dates announced
12 July 2010
Romeo and Juliet model box gallery
18 June 2010
Company expert working with Cirque du Soleil
17 June 2010
Jamie Bond interview
28 May 2010
Kelly can... ballet
05 May 2010
New ideas for Cinderella
14 April 2010
Royal visitors join Birmingham Royal Ballet for its birthday celebrations
18 March 2010
Extra Swan Lake date added in Birmingham
18 March 2010
Birmingham Royal Ballet backs Birmingham's bid to become City of Culture 2013
26 February 2010
Birmingham Royal Ballet welcomes back Iain Mackay as Principal
25 February 2010
Elmhurst success at Prix de Lausanne
02 February 2010
E=mc² nominated for South Bank Show Award in Dance
19 January 2010
20 year celebrations
15 January 2010
2010-2011 season diary dates
15 January 2010
North/South tour dates and notes 2010
14 January 2010
2010 Evening of Music and Dance to feature first UK look at Aladdin
14 January 2010
2010 SW tour introductory notes
13 January 2010
2010 N/E tour introductory notes
13 January 2010
New production of Cinderella announced for winter 2010
07 December 2009
Carol-Anne Millar
04 December 2009
The Sugar Plum Fairies part two
02 December 2009
Forthcoming Freefall performance
01 December 2009
The Sugar Plum Fairies part one
27 November 2009
Birmingham Royal Ballet's Christmas Choir Factor at Birmingham Hippodrome
22 October 2009
Dual controls
01 October 2009
We can be heroes
11 September 2009
Christopher Rodgers-Wilson
10 September 2009
E=mc² Costume designs
07 September 2009
Robert Parker
04 September 2009
Robert Heindel exhibition
03 September 2009
Special guest for Cyrano
19 August 2009
Trailer for Mao's Last Dancer - featuring Company Principal Chi Cao
19 August 2009
2010 USA tour confirmed
06 August 2009
Quantum Leaps introductory notes
06 August 2009
Cyrano Act I set designs and plot preview
30 July 2009
Video: Nutcracker technical preparations
23 July 2009
Two Pigeons behind-the-scenes feature on BBC Radio WM
18 June 2009
Freefall June 2009
15 June 2009
The Two Pigeons introductory notes
01 June 2009
Mozartiana introductory notes
01 June 2009
The Dream introductory notes
02 June 2009
Sir Fred and Mr B.
29 May 2009
Insight day spaces still available
22 May 2009
Easter 2010 London season confirmed
14 May 2009
David Bintley on the 2009-10 season
11 May 2009
Garry Stewart video interview
01 May 2009
Galanteries Introductory notes
30 April 2009
2009-10 season announced
09 April 2009
The Dance House introductory notes
03 April 2009
Elite Syncopations: a history
01 April 2009
Freefall update winter 2009
26 March 2009
Cyrano character guides
13 March 2009
Sylvia Pizzicato rehearsal
09 March 2009
The fruits of a friendship
06 March 2009
China 2009 tour blog
19 February 2009
David Bintley's Sylvia diary
17 February 2009
Enigma Variations Troyte rehearsal video
13 February 2009
No Evening of Music and Dance 2009
12 February 2009
China 2009 video
29 January 2009
Elmhurst to hold open auditions in China
12 January 2009
Happy Christmas from Birmingham Royal Ballet!
22 December 2008
Sylvia photoshoot video
10 December 2008
Gaylene Cummerfield
06 December 2008
Nutcracker technical preparations video
04 December 2008
David Bintley on 2008's Claras
14 November 2008
New Beauty and the Beast clip added
29 October 2008
New Nutcracker performance added!
28 October 2008
Proud to be in Birmingham
24 October 2008
Welcome to the jungle
22 October 2008
David Bintley on the story of Sylvia
22 October 2009
David Bintley on his Sylvia reworking
22 October 2008
Robert Parker on Enigma Variations
22 October 2008
Firebird sets off smoke alarm
22 October 2008
Freefall at Artsfest 2008
05 October 2008
The Beasts within
04 October 2008
Robert Heindel print up for auction
26 September 2008
Beauty and the Beast clip now on-line
07 September 2008
Lei Zhao
06 September 2008
Kristen McGarrity
06 September 2008
On-line auction 2008
04 September 2008
Robert Parker to rejoin the Company
20 August 2008
Behind the scenes: Department for Learning
18 August 2008
David Bintley on choreographic development
28 July 2008
David Bintley on the programming process
23 July 2008
Dancer galleries updated
23 July 2008
Barry Wordsworth leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet
18 July 2008
Company announcements, summer 2008
15 July 2008
2007-08 comes to a close
14 July 2008
New faces look back
14 July 2008
Birmingham Royal Ballet on Classic FM
08 July 2008
Notes on Petrushka (full version)
04 July 2008
The history of Le Baiser de la fée
04 July 2008
Notes on Card Game
04 July 2008
Desmond Kelly Gala
04 July 2008
Desmond Kelly Gala raffle results
04 July 2008
David Bintley takes on role with New National Theatre, Tokyo
26 June 2008
Christopher Barron adds to praise for Desmond Kelly
26 June 2008
Jonathan Payn on BBC Radio York, Spring 2008
18 June 2008
David Bintley on Desmond Kelly
14 June 2008
On sale date for autumn performances in London
13 June 2008
Ambra Vallo on Giselle
13 June 2008
Desmond Kelly
06 June 2008
Individual tickets for 2008-09 Birmingham season on sale 2 June
01 June 2008
David Bintley to speak at Ikon Gallery, Wednesday 4 June 2008
30 May 2008
London autumn dates confirmed
29 May 2008
The Fairy's Kiss
13 May 2008
The history of Card Game
10 May 2008
David Bintley praises increased fitness standards
09 May 2008
Petrushka
09 May 2008
2008 split tour comes to a close
08 May 2008
Desmond Kelly OBE Appointed as Artistic Director of Elmhurst
07 May 2008
Stravinsky: the real deal
03 May 2008
Your personal profile
22 April 2008
Swan Lake greets Secretary of State for Culture
10 April 2008
2008-09 repertory announced
04 April 2008
Dancer promotions, spring 2008
02 April 2008
Behind-the-scenes: wardrobe
02 April 2008
South-West tour notes
20 March 2008
2008-09 season
20 March 2008
North-East tour notes
19 March 2008
Anniek Soobroy
10 March 2008
Sunderland autumn season on sale from Tuesday 11 March
07 March 2008
2008-09 Birmingham dates announced
07 March 2008
Céline Gittens
07 March 2008
Desmond Kelly Gala
01 March 2008
Iain Mackay and Silvia Jimenez to leave Company after Swan Lake
18 February 2008
Colin Towns Mask Orchestra
14 February 2008
The light fantastic
12 February 2008
New Bintley ballet to premiere in Japan
11 February 2008
Dominic Antonucci
11 February 2008
Desmond Kelly and Marion Tait judge Young Dancer Awards regional heat
05 February 2008
Swan Lake debuts confirmed
04 February 2008
All South-West and North-East tour dates on sale now
01 February 2008
Company indicates further international intent
31 January 2008
New dancers join Birmingham Royal Ballet
31 January 2008
Japan 2008 desktop wallpaper
11 January 2008
Dual success at National Dance Awards
23 January 2008
Freefall season review
15 December 2007
Christmas season comes to a close
14 December 2007
Behind the scenes: Diana Childs
07 December 2007
Japan 2008
07 December 2007
Fantasy and Reality
01 December 2007
An Entertainment of Genius
01 December 2007
Beauty and the Beast
19 November 2007
Stravinsky autumn 2008
19 September 2007
April/May tour 2008
15 November 2007
Michael Corder: initial stages
13 November 2007
Birmingham Royal Ballet appears on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing
01 November 2007
Michael Corder visit
01 November 2007
Birmingham Royal Ballet awarded for 'Outstanding Achievement in Dance'
22 October 2007
Angela Paul
09 October 2007
All that jazz
08 October 2007
Cardiff 2008
05 October 2007
Enjoy Strictly dancing?
03 October 2007
New arrivals 2007
24 September 2007
Tyrone Singleton
21 September 2007
Company to return to Cardiff
15 September 2007
John Craxton oversees Daphnis and Chloë amends
20 August 2007
Oxford 2008 dates now on sale
11 August 2007
Edward II
10 August 2007
Strictly dancing
10 August 2007
Take Five costume rehearsals
22 June 2007
BRB dancers guesting at Royal Festival Hall
22 June 2007
Mary Goodhew: the making of a dancer
12 June 2007
Michael O'Hare
01 June 2007
Travelling to see Birmingham Royal Ballet
08 June 2007
Robert Parker's final performances confirmed
31 May 2007
Ballet on the buses
23 May 2007
Dynamic Dance designers
14 May 2007
Company launches 2007-08 subscription season in Birmingham
18 April 2007
200708 Season
28 March 2007
Sunderland autumn season goes on sale
12 March 2007
Plymouth autumn season announced
27 February 2007
Additional choreographics participant confirmed
22 February 2007
The show must go on!
16 February 2007
Choreographics participants confirmed
07 February 2007
Carl Davis interview
07 February 2007
Pas de deux - Stravinsky and Balanchine
29 January 2007
Guests artists for spring season
20 January 2007
Cyrano: setting the scene
29 December 2006
Cyrano receives additional firepower
26 December 2006
Cyrano swordplay
22 December 2006
Further new choreography for 2007
21 December 2006
Curtain falls on most successful Nutcracker yet
14 December 2006
2007 split tour confirmed
13 December 2006
BRB dancers to choreograph in 2007
06 December 2006
Evening of Music and Dance 2007
07 December 2006
USA performances revealed
07 December 2006
Ballet Hoo! rebroadcast
05 December 2006
Nutcracker breaks own box office record
01 December 2006
All Spring 2007 tour dates now on sale
01 December 2006
BRB receives nominations for classical output
22 November 2006
Ballet Hoo! Phase 3
20 November 2006
Cyrano: early stages
20 October 2006
Ballet Hoo! graduation
19 October 2006
Nutcracker gala presentation
09 October 2006
Ballet Hoo! aftershow interviews
07 October 2006
BRB nominated for TMA Award
06 October 2006
Lady MacMillan's Ballet Hoo! speech
30 September 2006
David Bintley's Ballet Hoo! speech
30 September 2006
David Bintley leads Ballet Hoo! applause
29 September 2006
Ballet Hoo! - the final stage
28 September 2006
The Acrobat and the Ringmaster
20 April 2006
Transaction Charges
14 July 2006
Company choreographics now on sale
11 December 2006
Videos
Video: Rory Mackay rehearses the role of Widow Simone
22 April 2014
Video: The Prince of the Pagodas
06 February 2014
Video: Elite Syncopations rehearsals
05 February 2014
Video: La Fille mal gardée
09 January 2014
Video: Rose Adage rehearsals
20 September 2013
Video: Sleeping Beauty fairytale divertissements
04 September 2013
Video: Pavane rehearsals
07 May 2013
Video: Giselle rehearsals
07 May 2013
Video: The Grand Tour rehearsals
06 May 2013
Video: Take Five rehearsals
06 May 2013
Video: David on Lyric Pieces
05 September 2012
Video: Grosse Fuge
03 September 2012
Video: Coppélia rehearsals
05 July 2012
Video: Swan Lake rehearsals
08 May 2012
Video: Elite Syncopations rehearsals
18 April 2012
Video: Printer Jam
18 February 2012
Video: Le Corsaire rehearsals
14 February 2012
Video: David Bintley on Hobson's Choice
06 February 2012
Video: Hobson's Choice trailer
31 January 2012
Video: Hobson's Choice excerpt
31 January 2012
Video: The Two Pigeons rehearsal
23 January 2012
Video: Beauty and the Beast, Act I pas de deux
01 January 2012
Video: Three Sugar Plum Fairies
20 November 2011
Video: Clara and the Nutcracker Prince in rehearsal
21 November 2011
Video: The Nutcracker trailer
21 November 2011
Video: Five favourites from 2010-11
03 August 2011
Video: Five 2011-12 Birmingham season previews
03 August 2011
Video: The costumes of Coppélia
13 May 2011
Video: Peter Wright's productions of the classics
17 March 2011
Video: Allegri diversi rehearsal
29 October 2010
Video: Romeo and Juliet studio rehearsals
25 June 2010
Video: Theme and Variations studio rehearsals
18 June 2010
Video: Romeo and Juliet studio rehearsals
16 June 2010
Video: Swan Lake studio rehearsals #2
06 May 2010
Video: Brouillards studio rehearsals
01 May 2010
Video: Swan Lake studio rehearsals
28 April 2010
Video: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue studio rehearsals
31 December 2013
Video: Sleeping Beauty rehearsals
17 March 2010
Video: Bluebird studio rehearsals
12 February 2010
Video: Early Aladdin studio rehearsals
04 February 2010
Video: The Nutcracker Act I, studio rehearsal
06 November 2009
Video: Cyrano studio rehearsals
29 October 2009
Video: David Bintley's E=mc² diary
20 August 2009
Video: Carl Davis on the score for Cyrano
06 August 2009
Video: The Nutcracker, studio rehearsals, 2008
29 July 2009
Video: The Nutcracker, technical preparations
23 July 2009
Video: David Bintley and Robert Parker on Cyrano's nose
19 June 2009
Video: Dame Antoinette Sibley and Sir Anthony Dowell taking rehearsals
08 June 2009
Video: The Two Pigeons rehearsal
03 June 2009
Video: Kangaroo Rat rehearsal
24 February 2009
Video: Chi Cao interview part two
13 February 2009
Video: Chi Cao interview
27 January 2009
More online

Desmond Kelly

06 June 2008

Desmond Kelly talks about his life leading up to his time as Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.

'I was born in Penhalonga, a tiny little town in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. My parents were quite ordinary people; there was no tradition of dancing or music or anything theatrical in my family. My mother was from Ireland. She'd gone to South Africa to be a nun, but found herself teaching English and Geography. She met my father, was married three weeks later, and ended up having six children! My father was a fitter and turner. When I was about five, we moved to Bulawayo, a larger town, and my sister started having dance lessons. We were very close ­ we still are. In fact, she lives in Birmingham now. These lessons took her away from me, so I wanted to go too. I did, and I was hooked!

'When I was 14 or 15, I won an RAD scholarship to study in England. The problem was that we didn't have any money. My mother was very supportive and wrote to a charity, a sort of lottery fund, and they sent a cheque for £130 ­- a lot of money then ­- to pay for my boat trip to England and to help me live for a short while. Incredibly, 40 years later, we were performing in Eastbourne. I was staying in a tiny hotel and came down to pay my bill. The receptionist at the desk asked, "are you the Desmond Kelly from Zimbabwe?" I replied that I was, and she told me that it had been she who had written that cheque all that time before. What a small world!

'When I got to England I studied with Ruth French in London for about nine months. I got my first contract with London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) when I was 17 - My first salary was ten pounds a week!

'I was promoted to Principal in 1963. I had never partnered a girl before I joined Festival Ballet, as we hadn't studied pas de deux in Zimbabwe. I had the good fortune to dance with Jeanette Minty and she taught me everything I know about partnering. She was a joy to dance with, and my later reputation as a partner was entirely down to her.

'It was on tour in Israel with Festival Ballet that I met my darling wife. We were on the beach and there was a sand bar some way off the coast. All the boys decided to swim to it. Denise did too, and I decided that she was the girl for me. She was colonial too ­- from New Zealand ­- and we hit it off straight away. Now we've been married for over 40 years.

'It was also with Festival Ballet that I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was my first tour. We spent three months in South America. None of us had any money, but we were invited everywhere! The company was extremely close, like a family, a bit like our Company still is today, and it was an incredible experience. We started in Mexico City and visited lots of places -­ Caracas, Lima, São Paola, Rio ­- I can't remember them all. Though now, after several decades, the novelty has worn off. The best thing about touring is definitely getting home and unpacking my suitcase!

'When Denise and I left Festival Ballet, we spent some time living in different countries, first in Switzerland, where I spent a season as a Principal with Zürich Opera Ballet. We then decided to go and see Denise's family in New Zealand. There we were both offered work, as the Royal New Zealand Ballet had heard that we were coming. We ended up staying for a couple of years and I was a Principal and Ballet Master there until 1969.

'I remember one day we were dancing in a former orange-packing factory ­ it was real pioneering stuff in those days ­ and I received a telegram. It was from the National Ballet of Washington DC. They invited us both to America to dance, and having decided that we were ready for a change, we took them up on the offer. We danced there for about 18 months, and it was with them that I first danced with Margot Fonteyn. She was guesting there and we danced Cinderella and La Sylphide together. Margot was amazing; a truly special woman. Some of my fondest memories of dancing are from being on stage with her ­ she had the most incredible eyes that you could lose yourself in. I'm not one for shedding tears over pieces of dance, but a few years later, I watched her doing Swan Lake. In the second act, when she was torn away from Siegfried, she put so much grief and heartbreak into her performance that I couldn't help but cry.

'Acting is so important to me. I've always wanted to go on stage and convince the audience that I am a character, not just a smiling dancer, and Margot felt the same -­ she was an extraordinary dance-actress. Unfortunately, today there is more emphasis on technique.

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