Creating Arcadia

Ruth Brill talks about Arcadia, the ballet she's creating for the Company for 2017.

The piece is entirely inspired by a score from the saxophonist, John Harle. David Bintley gave me the music to listen to and said ‘see if this inspires you’. It certainly did and the more I listen, the more I love it. Its dramatic qualities make it perfect for a ballet. I’ve been working closely with John to make some slight changes. It has been a great experience for me to have a collaborative approach with the composer.

None of the pieces I’ve made in the past have been completely abstract. Arcadia is also a narrative piece. While not telling the full story of a single myth, it draws inspiration directly from Greek mythology. The characters are Pan, the nymphs and a chorus. I also want to evoke the landscape of Arcadia as a mountainous region of Greece, through the choreography for the chorus and through the designs.

I started working on this piece for a choreographic workshop in January 2016 - after sharing my ideas, David gave me some helpful feedback. It wasn’t until a month or so later that I was invited to a meeting in David’s office. That was the moment when he said, ‘I would like to commission you to create a piece for the Company for the main stage’.

I do feel it’s a big challenge, but I don’t feel daunted by it. It’s a big step up to make something for the main stage but you have to take that leap at some point. I feel ready, I feel excited. This is an amazing opportunity and I want to learn as much as I can about the process of creating: how you get from the beginning to the end. It’s about managing all the elements, making connections with people as well as responding to the music with creative choreography. There’s so much to it. I want to soak up as much as I can!

Ruth’s new ballet Arcadia will feature in our midscale tour and as part of the Three Short Story Ballets bill at Birmingham Hippodrome in 2017.