Polarity & Proximity, our summer mixed programme, includes In the Upper Room, one of American dance phenomenon Twyla Tharp's most iconic ballets, and Kin., created for the Company by former Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer Alexander Whitley. The line-up is completed by Embrace, a new ballet commissioned from choreographer George Williamson as part of Ballet Now, Birmingham Royal Ballet's unique five-year programme, run in conjunction with Sadler's Wells, that will develop choreographers, composers and designers to create new and innovative works for the world stage.
Quick-witted and even quicker footed, In the Upper Room by Twyla Tharp is an exhilarating, athletic ballet in which dancers in sneakers and striking red pointe shoes dominate the stage with power, flair and finesse.
Alexander Whitley’s Kin. is an energetic and abstract piece danced to a pulsing, hypnotic score by Phil Kline, played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Kin. celebrates the raw kinetics of dance, the virtuosity of ballet technique and the potential for movement to bring us together in different ways.
Embrace by choreographer George Williamson is an intimate yet powerful exploration of what it means to break free of expectations and become who we are meant truly to be. Embrace is performed to a powerful new commission by established American composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, her first for ballet. Designs are by Madeline Girling, a young designer, also creating for dance for the first time. Embrace receives its world premiere at Sadler’s Wells, London followed by Birmingham Hippodrome.
The hypnotic scores for Kin. and Embrace are performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
Ballet Now is generously supported by Oak Foundation’s Special Interest Programme, which provided major funding for the project, Foyle Foundation, Anthony Coombs and The Keith Coombs Trust, The Big Give 2017, The John Feeney Charitable Trust, The Leche Trust, The John S Cohen Foundation, The H Steven and PE Wood Charitable Trust, The W and M Morris Charitable Trust, the estate of Judith and John Percival, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s New Work Syndicate 2017 and Director’s Appeal 2017.
'Dazzling... If your pulse isn't racing, check you have one.'
The Guardian on In the Upper Room
'One of dance's most terrifyingly mesmerising works... stunning.'
The Arts Desk on In the Upper Room
'Kin. is that rarest of things: an abstract ballet that's as emotionally charged as it is technically accomplished.'
Principal casting for each performance is usually available from around five days before; once it is added to the site, a cast list button appears in the calendar below.