Carlos Acosta's first year as Director: plans announced!

Birmingham Royal Ballet are delighted to announce our plans for world premieres, classic revivals and brand-new partnerships during Carlos Acosta's first year as Director of the Company. 

Speaking of the announcement Carlos Acosta said:

‘Bringing major new works to the stage will forge a new direction for this wonderful company. I plan to present international choreographers whose work will be new to British audiences. I want Birmingham Royal Ballet to be surprising and unpredictable, whilst continuing to be world class exponents of the classical repertoire that means so much to me personally. Continuing to drive, develop and support initiatives such as Freefall, Dance Track and First Steps connects directly with my desire to ensure the future, on and off stage, is more reflective of our experience and society today.  I embrace this responsibility and hope to bring new audiences to ballet by being accessible, by nurturing talent and by creating opportunities to experience and be inspired by this beautiful art-form, in many different ways. I am grateful to Arts Council England for their vital funding of Birmingham Royal Ballet and to Aud Jebsen, for generously supporting my artistic vision in my first year as Director.’ Carlos Acosta

Opportunity, talent and inspiration are the key ingredients that underpin his vision and ambition for the Company. Read on for details of the performances and partnerships that will shape Birmingham Royal Ballet's first year under Carlos Acosta's leadership.

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CURATED BY CARLOS FESTIVAL

June 2020

The first chance audiences will get to see Carlos Acosta’s vision translated to programme will be in June 2020. He has curated a three-week summer festival spanning London and Birmingham that brings together dancers, visual artists, writers and thinkers who inspire him under the banner Curated by Carlos (10 – 13 June Sadler’s Wells; 19 – 27 June Birmingham Hippodrome). The programme gives a unique insight into Carlos’ cultural influences and his vision for Birmingham Royal Ballet as a company hungry for creative collaborations.

At the heart of the festival is a mixed bill of electrifying ballet that showcases Birmingham Royal Ballet’s versatility and includes the world premiere of a new duet for Alessandra Ferri and Carlos Acosta by Spanish choreographer and resident at Acosta Danza, Goyo Montero whose work Chacona, set to J S Bach, receives its UK premiere. The latest Ballet Now commission, Imminent, from British/ Brazilian London-based choreographer Daniela Cardim featuring commissioned music by Emmy Award winning composer Paul Englishby receives its world premiere, and Theme and Variations, George Balanchine’s love letter to classical Russian ballet, set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky’sOrchestral Suite No.3 completes the programme. All music is performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s acclaimed orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

For the second half of the Curated by Carlos festival, Birmingham Royal Ballet will perform Carlos Acosta’s stunning production of Don Quixote at the Birmingham Hippodrome (19-27 June), opening as part of the final weekend of Birmingham International Dance Festival which runs throughout June celebrating Birmingham as a world leading destination for dance (#DestinationDance). This will be the first time this vibrant and joyful production will be presented in the UK outside the Royal Opera House in London. This much-loved 19th century classic is drawn from Cervantes’ famous novel and set to Ludwig Minkus’s score. Don Quixote showcases the technical brilliance of the dancers, and is packed full of the the most exciting fireworks ballet has to offer - huge jumps, electrifying pirouettes and gravity defying lifts.

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FORGOTTEN LAND | NEW RUNACRE-TEMPLE | THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY 

October 2020

Our 2020/21 season begins in October with a tantalising mixed programme of work never performed in the UK before.

The Seventh Symphony by former direct of Leipzig Ballet Uwe Scholz is a celebration of Beethoven’s music in the year marking 250 years since his birth, this huge work fills the stage with 36 dancers.

The world premiere of Ballet Now commissioned choreographer Morgann Runacre-Temple with 2019 Linbury  prize-winning design by Sami Fendall and a new music score to be announced.

Renowned Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián’s epic and melancholic Forgotten Land, set to Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem completes the programme.

This exciting triple bill will be performed at Birmingham Hippodrome (1-3 October) and at Sadler's Wells (27-28 October).

  • Birmingham Hippodrome Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome.com Thursday 1 – Saturday 3 October
  • Sadler’s Wells Theatre Rosebery Ave, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4TN; 020 7863 8000 www.sadlerswells.com Tuesday 27 – Wednesday 28 October

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ROMEO AND JULIET 

October 2020

Love at first dance, forbidden passions, dangerous secrets and star-crossed fate combine in this exhilarating classic ballet. In the most famous love story ever told, a dangerous cocktail of arrogant youth, simmering tension and deadly feuds erupts, leaving two young lovers at the mercy of powerful families and their own hearts. From the balcony scene’s ecstatic pas de deux, exploring love in all its soaring wonder, to the lovers’ heart-breaking ends, Romeo and Juliet is dance at its most poignant and beautiful.

Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet returns in the autumn visiting Birmingham, London and Plymouth.

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SIR PETER WRIGHT'S THE NUTCRACKER

November – December 2020

2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Birmingham Royal Ballet moving to Birmingham, and what better way to celebrate than by returning to Birmingham Hippodrome with Sir Peter Wright’s version of The Nutcracker that he created as a gift to the City of Birmingham in 1990.

Join young Clara as she is swept away into an enchanting winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and a Sugar Plum Fairy. Her magical Christmas tree and her handsome prince with his army of toy soldiers are an unforgettable delight. In this most festive ballet, gigantic sets, lavish costumes, 60 dancers and a full orchestra combine to make the perfect Christmas treat for the entire family.

To mark the occasion Birmingham Royal Ballet is refurbishing John Macfarlane’s stunning sets and costumes, supported by funding from loyal audiences.

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THE NUTCRACKER AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

December 2020

Our very special adaptation of The Nutcracker for audiences at the Royal Albert Hall returns again this year.

With gorgeous period costumes, stunning lighting, and dazzling projections, this Christmas classic is brought to life by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s world-class dancers and orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

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CINDERELLA

January – March 2021

Sir David Bintley’s enchanting fairytale is a glorious celebration of ballet, with breathtaking designs by John Macfarlane, designer of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s famous The Nutcracker.

Cinderella’s life with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters is one of drudgery and hardship until the evening of an extravagant party at the palace. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, she’s the centre of attention when she arrives at the ball in a magical coach and wearing a gorgeous gown. The handsome Prince sweeps her off her feet and they dance the night away until the clock chimes midnight and the evening comes to an abrupt end.

Praised by audiences and critics alike, Cinderella is a sure-fire mix of wonderful dance, spectacular scenery, and a cast of characters that include mice, lizards and even a dancing frog, that captures every imagination. Cinderella will be touring to Southampton, Sunderland, Salford, Plymouth, Bristol and Birmingham in early 2021.

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New partnerships and other performances in 2020/21

Acosta’s first year will culminate in the company’s jubilant return to The Royal Opera House in summer 2021 after an absence of twenty years. It promises to be a spectacular  end to Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 30th anniversary year, programme information to be announced.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s ever-popular An Evening of Music and Dance will return to Symphony Hall Birmingham on 12 February 2021. Following the success and sell out of last year’s Royal Albert Hall concert, the Company has been invited back by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform with them at the Royal Albert Hall in an evening titled The Beauty of Ballet conducted by Music Director Laureate, Barry Wordsworth on 4 November 2020.

There are new partnerships in the pipeline including the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire whose orchestra will perform for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake Dreams on 23 February 2020. This outstanding Birmingham orchestra of young talented musicians will have the opportunity to perform for a ballet for the first time, conducted by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Principal Conductor, Paul Murphy and led by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia's Leader, Robert Gibbs.

Birmingham Royal Ballet is also partnering with two Festivals in 2020, with Wayne McGregor inviting the Company to perform his duet 2Human at Dance@Grange Festival (10 & 11 July 2020). Birmingham Royal Ballet will also perform for the first time at The Latitude Festival in Suffolk also in July 2020.

Birmingham Royal Ballet is committed to supporting and offering creative opportunities for local children and young adults. The company’s talent identification programme Dance Track visits a quarter of all Birmingham primary schools annually. Every year 80 children, aged six to eight, showing a natural talent for ballet join Dance Track and are given free weekly ballet lessons taught by Birmingham Royal Ballet staff, as well as free uniforms and ballet shoes. Talented Dance Trackers are supported to apply for both the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School associate programmes. These special programmes provide children with more advanced training to refine their dance technique and are the first step on the long journey to become a professional dancer.

Freefall Dance Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s own company of highly gifted dancers with learning disabilities, returns to the Patrick Studio for its annual performance showcase on 12 November 7pm.

Birmingham Royal Ballet will also be celebrating by partnering with fellow Birmingham arts organisation, Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage which also celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2020. Birmingham Royal Ballet will host a choreo-lab residency bringing together two dancers and choreographers from both organisations, to share practice and explore each other’s dance languages. Bharatanatyam dancer and rehearsal director with Akram Khan Company, Mavin Khoo, and First Soloist with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Kit Holder, will spend a creative week at Birmingham Royal Ballet working on new choreography. They will share their findings with local colleagues at the end of the week (29 June – 2 July 2020, sharing date on 3 July).

Celebrating the company’s rich history, Birmingham Royal Ballet will join its sister company The Royal Ballet and Yorke Dance Project at The Linbury Theatre in May 2020 as part of an evening celebrating the choreographers who have shaped the Royal Ballet companies’ shared history. The evening, titled Heritage, will feature Birmingham Royal Ballet performing Sir Frederick Ashton’s Dante Sonata (1940, performed at the Linbury Theatre, 14-19 May 2020).  

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