David Bintley on Choreographing in Japan


David Bintley's production of Aladdin was first seen in Tokyo in 2008, with David choreographing a version of the story on the National Ballet of Japan. The piece is now being recreated as a co-production between Birmingham Royal Ballet and Houston Ballet, with the UK Company dancing the piece in 2013, before it appears in the US at a later date.

In an interview in the Summer/Autumn edition of Entrechat, the magazine of the BRB Friends, David revealed how the work was influenced by the dancers on which he originally created it.

‘The interesting thing about making it on the company in Japan was that they weren’t very experienced in making new work of this length, with the choreographic development necessary, and their acting skills were less practised than I am used to here.

‘It was made very quickly, in just a few weeks of choreographing, over a longer creative period, so I didn’t have time to experiment, and working with an inexperienced company slows things down a great deal – I had to work quickly, using a choreographic language familiar to them.’

However, David has often spoken of thriving on restrictions. For example, with Cinderella, he enjoyed meeting the spacial challenges of the heroine’s tiny kitchen, or the immediacy required by the short passage of music given to the Stars’ dance in Act I.

‘I made the decision to tell the story with just the steps, and not to ask for big acting performances from them, putting in as many steps as I could. The end result is a ballet that’s full of dancing, a real ‘dance show’ – they never stop! And I’ll keep it that way for Birmingham too.’