CriticalDance Forum

Birmingham Royal Ballet 2006-7
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Author:  David [ Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:14 am ]
Post subject:  Birmingham Royal Ballet 2006-7

Birmingham Royal Ballet have announced their 2006-7 Birmingham performances. The highlight has to be the wonderful all Balanchine/all Stravinsky triple bill in February, followed by a completely new production of Cyrano to a new score by Carl Davis. It's also good to see BRB continuing with their very popular Sunday performances.

Full details as follows:

Romeo and Juliet (ch MacMillan)
September 30m, 30e
October 4m, 4e, 5e, 6e, 7m, 7e

The Nutcracker (ch Wright, Ivanov, Redmon)
November 24e, 25m, 25e, 26m, 28m, 28e, 29e, 30m, 30e
December 1e, 2m, 2e, 3m, 5e, 6m, 6e, 7e, 8e, 9m, 9e, 10m, 12m, 12e, 13m, 13e

Cyrano (ch Bintley)
February 7e, 8m, 8e, 9e, 10m, 10e

Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in Three Movements (all ch Balanchine)
February 14m, 15e, 15m, 16e, 17m, 17e

Coppelia (ch Petipa, Cecchetti, Wright)
June 6e, 7m, 7e, 8m, 9m, 9e

The Four Seasons (ch Hindle), Nine Sinatra Songs (ch Tharp), Pineapple Poll (ch Cranko)
June 13e, 143m, 14e, 15e, 16m, 16e

m=matinee, e=evening
Evening performances at 7.30
Midweek matinees at 2.00
Saturday matinees at 2.30
Sunday matinees at 4.00

The touring programme will be announced later, although the repertory is likely to be the same.

Author:  David [ Tue May 09, 2006 5:24 am ]
Post subject: 

BRB touring to Christmas is as follows:

Sunderland (Empire)
17, 18 October - Apollo (ch Balanchine), Pulcinella (ch Brandstrup), The Firebird (ch Fokine)
19-21 October - Romeo and Juliet (ch MacMillan)
Booking open

London (Sadler's Wells)
24, 25 October - Apollo, Pulcinella, The Firebird
26-28 October - Romeo and Juliet

Plymouth (Theatre Royal)
31 October, 1 November - Apollo, Pulcinella, The Firebird
2-4 November - Romeo and Juliet
Booking opens 16 May

Author:  David [ Tue May 09, 2006 5:25 am ]
Post subject: 

Those thinking of travelling by public transport should note that the running time for the Apollo, Pulcinella, Firebird programme is 2 hours 50 minutes.

Author:  Tahor [ Wed May 10, 2006 6:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

David, you talk of a completely new production of Cyrano, but surely this is a revival of the ballet Cyrano Bintley made for the Royal Ballet many years ago, it was at least 10 years ago, if not longer, and it starred Lesley Collier amongst others. I remember it being awful by the way.

Surely this is simply a revival of that work, I can't believe he would create two completely seperate three act ballets on the same subject??

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu May 11, 2006 7:53 am ]
Post subject: 

It was originally choreographed in 1991 with Irek Mukhamedov in the title role and Lesley Collier as the female lead. It was cringe-makingly awful.

Even if this is a completely different version, the idea of using Rostand's play as a ballet is absurd as no play has ever stressed the power of words and poetry as strongly as Cyrano de Bergerac. Trying to adapt it to dance can simply never work.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu May 11, 2006 8:46 am ]
Post subject: 

Looks like it's a new production, folks. From the BRB website:


This brand-new production, choreographed by David Bintley for BRB, has a specially commissioned score by Carl Davis.

Music Carl Davis
Choreography David Bintley
Designs Hayden Griffin

World premiere: 07 February 2007, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome

Full details here: ... n&urn=6713


Can it work without the text? Don't know, but there is much action and the love triangle in "Cyrano" which can be translated to dance movement. Maybe similar problems faced the ballet adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" and were overcome.

Author:  David [ Fri May 12, 2006 10:22 am ]
Post subject: 

Just to clarify matters, the 2007 Cyrano has new music and new choreography, hence the labelling 'world premiere' in the publicity. David Bintley is however using the sets and costumes from the previous version.

Author:  David [ Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:19 am ]
Post subject:  BRB promotions and arrivals

BRB have announced the following promotions:

Joseph Caley and Alexander Campbell, both from Artist to First Artist,
James Grundy, Jonathan Payn, and Kosuke Yamamoto, all to Senior Soloists.

New dancers this seasons are:

Yasuo Atsuji and Annie Carroll from the Royal Ballet School
Clara Blanco from San Francisco Ballet (previously announced)
Linnar Looris from Estonian National Ballet (also previously announced)
Mathias Dingman from the Universal Ballet Academy, Washington DC
Céline Gittens from the Goh Ballet Academy, Canada
Glyn Scott from the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company.

Author:  David [ Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:27 am ]
Post subject:  BRB on TV - Ballet Hoo!

For the past 12 months or so, Channel 4 has been working with Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) and Youth at Risk for the first time to set Birmingham and Black Country youth a challenge of a lifetime. Do they have what it takes to perform live on stage, to a packed audience, with a cast of professional dancers in the acclaimed MacMillan production of Romeo and Juliet?

This has not just been an Education Department project but has involved the whole company. The outcomes can now be seen in a series of programmes on Channel 4 as follows:

Ballet Hoo! Backstage
11–14 Sept 2006, 7.55pm
A series of five-minute shorts looking at the work of Wardrobe, Shoes, Wigs etc.

Ballet Changed My Life
Weds 20 Sept, 27 Sept and 4 Oct 2006, 10pm
A series of programmes looking at the making of the piece and the participants' progress over the project.

Romeo and Juliet Performance
7 Oct 2006, 6.45pm

And on More 4 (Channel 4's digital channels but also available on Freeview):

Ballet Hell
7 Oct 2006, 8.05pm

For more about the project, go to

Author:  David [ Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:06 am ]
Post subject:  BRB Touring 2007

BRB tour dates February to March are as follows:

The Lowry, Salford
20, 21 February - Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in Three Movements (all ch.Balanchine)
22, 23, 24 February - Cyrano (ch Bintley)

Theatre Royal, Plymouth
27, 28 February - Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in Three Movements
1, 2, 3 March - Cyrano

Empire, Sunderland
6, 7 March - Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in Three Movements
8, 9, 10 March - Cyrano
Booking opens 2 October

New Theatre, Oxford
27, 28 March - Cyrano
Booking opens 20 November

In all cases Tuesday, Thursday and Friday performances are at 7.30, Wednesdays at 2.00 and 7.30, Saturdays at 2.30 and 7.30.

Additionally, the company are holding 'An Evening of Music and Dance' at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham on Friday 30 March at 7.30. As usual some items will be only be played by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, others will also be danced. Not open for booking yet.

I can also reveal that BRB will be dancing in Norfolk, Virginia during the week beginning 30th April 2007. Repertory to be announced.

Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:36 pm ]
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Overwhelmed by a night of exquisite hell
by MARK MONAHAN for the Daily Telegraph
published: October 2, 2006

A dancer perhaps easier to admire than to love, Chi Cao was a technically flawless Romeo, knocking off virile double tours with magnificent, peacock-ish power. You believed he wanted to bed the young Capulet all right, and that he was willing to show off to get her, but he was too slick: a calculating smoothie, not a boy helplessly smitten.

The first real emotional kick I got from him was in the traditionally weaker Act 2.

Author:  kurinuku [ Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:55 am ]
Post subject: 

Stravinsky Ballets, Sadler’s Wells, London
by CLEMENT CRISP for the Financial Times
published: October 25, 2006

At the programme’s heart is Kim Brandstrup’s Pulcinella. About its first performances in Birmingham I reported that the staging and the lighting were so gloomy that I could not see the choreography or the cast’s interpretations.


A mixed bill of Stravinsky
by JENNY GILBERT for the Independent
published: October 29, 2006

If Stravinsky's score had been briefer this could have been enough. But despite beautifully crafted duets for Parker with Ambra Vallo, and knockabout with Alexander Campbell, the plot feels overstretched, playing for time while the concert - cleanly shaped by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under Barry Wordsworth - plays itself out.


Romeo and Juliet
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian
published: October 30, 2006

For a ballet company to spark the same incandescent energy on stage, is hard, although one of the best things about BRB's own professional cast is the number of very young-looking dancers tucked away in its lower ranks. They may be a lot more polished than their Ballet Hoo! counterparts but, dancing on their nerves and fizzingly determined to live every step, they count for a lot in galvanising fresh imaginative life from MacMillan's familiar classic.

Author:  AnaM [ Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:19 am ]
Post subject: 

Birmingham Royal Ballet
Strawinsky Triple Bill
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London
Tuesday 24 October 2006

As part of their annual visit to London, Birmingham Royal Ballet brought their Strawinsky Triple Bill comprising three ballets that the Russian composer created for the Diaghilev company: “Apollo”, “Pulcinella” and “Firebird”.

The programme opened with George Balanchine’s “Apollo”. Chi Cao took the lead as Apollo. His performance was technically assured and he was also commanding on stage. However, he somehow missed the wonderful transition that takes this young god from pupil of the muses to his call to the Parnassus. The three muses were equally mute dramatically and though they managed to perform the steps, there was a worrying lack of character in their roles. One must assume that when a company chooses to stage the complete “Apollo”, there is an obvious interest in the narrative of the ballet, otherwise there is the more abstract version Balanchine himself favoured at the end of his life.

BRB chose the former and yet, performed it with such a lack of character, that it did not make much impact from the dramatic sense. True, in Balanchine the steps carry the actions through, but to take this idea to the limit somehow misses the point of some of the variations. If Polyhymnia gets so carried away that at the end of her variation she opens her mouth, there must be something in her variation that must give away the enjoyment of what she is doing. Unfortunately, Nao Sakuma performed this variation as if it were a complex classroom exercise. Likewise, Apollo’s variation is more than just a bunch of steps put together for the occasion. It was a shame to see a company that used to be so good at character dancing offering such a blank performance of such a great work.

Next came “Pulcinella”, with new choreography by Kim Brandstrup for the company. On this occasion, the company felt much more at ease with the piece and offered a touching rendition of what it turned out to be very interesting choreography. The main roles were danced by Robert Parker and Ambra Vallo and their portrayals of Pulcinella and Pimpinella were true and unassuming. Brandstrup’s choreography was clear enough to allow the simple narrative to flow, while allowing the choreographer to explore a language that is personal and complex. The whole company contributed with their performances to the overall success of the piece, as they all seemed to be enjoying their roles and the chances given to them.

The last ballet of the evening was “The Firebird”. The leads were given to both Chi Cao and Nao Sakuma, with Silvia Jiménez as the Beautiful Tsarevna. Cao suffered from the same problems as he did in his rendition of Apollo, if only on this occasion, his role is a character role and, unless this is clearly established, the ballet loses much of its weight. Ivan Tsarevitch is a difficult role that requires an excellent actor. The Royal Ballet’s performances have always excelled at providing very vivid characterisations and it was surprising to see BRB not quite managing this. Nao Sakuma was a good Firebird, with good jump and assured technique. It was a good rendition of the piece and an enjoyable evening.

On a personal note, I wish BRB had revived "Petrouchka" for this programme, as the ballet is hardly seen nowadays and the company used to be one of the very few ones that managed to make this piece alive. Perhaps it would be a good tool to make this very young company recall its past glory at character and dramatic pieces where dance-actors used to leave such strong impressions on the audience.

Author:  David [ Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Cyrano

David Bintley talks about his forthcoming new prodcution of Cyrano. Just follow the link.

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2006 issue of "Entrechat".

Author:  David [ Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:16 am ]
Post subject: 

BRB press release:

BRB dancers to choreograph in 2007

Three performances of brand new works by BRB dancers have now been confirmed. While the details of the project are yet to be confirmed, dates for the shows on the Birmingham Hippodrome main stage have been set at Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June 2007, with an additional matinee performance on the Saturday afternoon.

All seats for all three performances will cost £10 each, and are due to go on sale 11 December. Tickets will be available through Birmingham Hippodrome Ticket Sales, on 0870 730 1234, or on-line at Full details of the performances will be posted here on the website, as they are confirmed.

Recent productions from BRB's own dancers include June 2005's "The Planets/Into The Ferment", which saw works from Jonathan Payn, Samara Downs, Kit Holder, Michael kopinski, Jenny Murphy and Lei Zhao.

Before leaving BRB last year, Michael also set choreography to Stravinsky's "Dumbarton Oaks", and former First Artist Oliver Hindle returned in 2005 to complete his version of the Seasons, having previously contributed the acclaimed Summer to an evening of dancer-created works during his time with the Company.

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