Dominic Antonucci discusses the emerging male talent at Birmingham Royal Ballet. This article first appeared in the Dancing Times and is reproduced with the kind permission of all involved.
In June of this year Birmingham audiences witnessed the world premiere of David Bintley’s new one-act ballet, The King Dances. Based on the historic Le Ballet de la Nuit created in 1653, The King Dances centres around a young King Louis XIV of France and features a nearly all-male cast. In the original production of Le Ballet de la Nuit, said to have lasted more than 13 hours in length, King Louis danced in numerous scenes and was supported by a cast of almost 100 men.
While Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production is thankfully not on the same scale in either duration or number of participants, David Bintley has tried to tap into the strength of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s current group of male dancers to recreate the power and impact of the original.
Celebrating his 20th year as artistic director, David feels he chose the right time to create this particular piece, as Birmingham Royal Ballet is enjoying a period of great depth of talent within the ranks of its male dancers.
He choreographed the role of King Louis on soloist William Bracewell, 24. This is the first major role to have been made on William in his young career, and I spoke with both of them about the creation of The King Dances, working with the men of Birmingham Royal Ballet, and what David looks for when selecting male dancers for the company as well as in his own pieces.