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 Post subject: BRB North East Tour
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:38 pm 
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One additional BRB date:

June 29 (7.30) and June 30 (2.30 and 7.30)
York Theatre Royal
The Four Seasons (Summer and Autumn), New Holder ballet, Nine Sinatra Songs.


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 Post subject: BRB Summer Tour 2007
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:27 am 
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BRB have released full details of their two smaller company tours in Summer 2007.

South-west tour:

Programme: Solitaire (ch MacMillan), Take Five (new ballet ch Bintley, music Dave Brubeck), Pineapple Poll (ch Cranko)

22, 23 June: Truro (Hall for Cornwall)
26, 27 June: Poole (Lighthouse)
29, 30 June: Cheltenham (Everyman Theatre)

North-east tour:

Programme: Summer and Autumn from The Four Seasons (ch Hindle), New ballet (ch Kit Holder), Nine Sinatra Songs (ch Tharp)

22, 23 June: Middlesbrough (Middlesbrough Theatre)
26, 27 June: Durham (Gala Theatre)
29, 30 June: York (Theatre Royal)


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 Post subject: New Soloist
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:32 am 
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BRB Dancer news

Maia Makhateli has joined BRB as a solist from Colorado Ballet. Her brother David danced with the company some years ago.

Former BRB principal Joseph Cipolla will be returning to BRB as De Guiche in some performances of David Bintley's new production of "Cyrano". This premieres on February 7th in Birmingham, although there is a special preview performance open to BRB Friends only (as part of BRB Friends' 25th anniversary celebrations) the previous evening.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:49 am 
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New Kit Holder work - more details

The new Kit Holder ballet, to be premiered this summer is called "Small Worlds", and will be danced to Stravinsky's "Concerto in D."

Holder last choreographed for BRB in 2004 as part of "The Planets", a collaborative work that saw different members of the company each take on one of the movements from Holst's music.


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 Post subject: Robert Parker
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:54 am 
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Robert Parker

According to a publicity item for BRB's forthcoming season I have just received:

"Cyrano is the last role BRB principal Robert Parker will create with the Company before leaving BRB to train as a pilot."


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:48 am 
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More news on guest artistis:

oseph Cipolla and Robert Tewsley are guest artists in BRB's Cyrano


Joseph Cipolla and Robert Tewsley are to appear as Guest Artists with Birmingham Royal Ballet in David Bintley’s production of Cyrano, which premieres at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Wednesday 7th February.

Robert Tewsley will also appear in the Company’s Stravinsky programme of work. Former Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Joseph Cipolla joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (now BRB) in 1986 and danced principal roles in many of the Company’s productions including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Romeo and Juliet and The Nutcracker. A favourite with audiences, Joseph was nominated for a prestigious Olivier Award in 1993 and was invited to perform in the 1994 and 1995 Olivier Awards ceremony. He appeared in Margot Fonteyn's The Magic of Dance and A Streetcar Named Desire shown on Channel 4.

Jospeh Cipolla will create the role of De Guiche in Cyrano and Robert Tewsley will be one of the dancers cast in the title role. Robert will also perform in Symphony in Three Movements and Stravinsky Violin Concerto.

Robert Tewsley studied at The Royal Ballet School and has danced as a Principal Dancer with some of the finest dance companies in the world including the National Ballet of Canada, Stuttgart Ballet, The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet.

David Bintley’s new production of Cyrano tells the heartbreaking story of one man’s truly self-sacrificing devotion for the woman he loves and the Stravinsky programme continues BRB’s celebration of the remarkable creative collaboration between George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky.

Both programmes will be performed at the Birmingham Hippodrome before touring to Salford, Plymouth and Sunderland. Cyrano will also be performed at the New Theatre, Oxford at the end of March.


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 Post subject: Robert Parker
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:58 am 
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BRB press release:

Principal dancer Robert Parker announces that 2006/07 will be his last season

Birmingham Royal Ballet announces Robert Parker is to leave the Company at the end of the 2006/07 Season. Robert will leave the Company to train in the United States as a commercial airline pilot.

Robert Parker was born in Hull and began dancing at the age of seven. He trained at the Royal Ballet schools and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet upon graduation in August 1994. He was promoted to First Artist in 1997, Soloist in 1998 and Principal in 1999.

Robert’s charismatic stage presence and energy have led choreographers to create a number of roles on him, including the Sailor in The Nutcracker Sweeties, Hamlet in The Shakespeare Suite, Orpheus in The Orpheus Suite, Arthur and Mordred in Arthur, leading roles in The Protecting Veil and Sanctum, and recently the Beast in Beauty and the Beast and the title role in Pulcinella.

Since joining the Company, Robert has also excelled in a number of roles including the Young Man in The Two Pigeons, Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Will Mossop and Fred Beenstock in Hobson's Choice, and In the Upper Room.

Robert was nominated for Olivier and Critics’ Circle Awards during 2001 and in 2003 was given the Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Male Artist. During his 13 years with BRB, Robert has danced in most of the Company’s repertoire including Coppélia (Franz), The Nutcracker (Prince), Agon, 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café (Texas Kangaroo Rat), The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Florimund, Bluebird) The Cage, Song of the Earth, Baiser de la fée, Theme and Variations, Le Tricorn, Bright Young Things, La Fille mal gardée (Colas), The Four Temperaments (Melancholic Variation), Duo Concertant, Grosse Fuge, Scènes de ballets, Symphony in Three Movements, Far from the Madding Crowd (Gabriel Oak) and Carmina burana.

Robert Parker said: 'It’s not been an easy decision but I am lucky that flying is something I am as passionate about as dancing. I have been with the Company for over ten years and have always had the idea that I want to go out on a high. There is no bigger adrenalin rush than the applause at the end of the performance and I will miss that as well as everyone who has supported me through my time with Birmingham Royal Ballet.'

Robert will create the title role in David Bintley's new production of Cyrano, which receives its World Premiere on Wednesday 7th February.

Ends

David: A review of Bintley's new and immensely enjoyable "Cyrano" will appear shortly.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:30 am 
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Quote:
Cyrano
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian
published: February 9, 2007

David Bintley's first attempt to choreograph Cyrano, in 1991, felt like an object lesson in the kind of stories ballet should leave well alone. Stumbling to keep up with Rostand's epic plotline, unable to translate the verbal dexterity of its language, this was a ballet that foundered between the page and stage.

Second time around, Bintley's approach still looks slightly awkward. In an effort to portray Cyrano as all-round hero - fighting duels, joshing with the crowd, commanding the adoration of his fellow soldiers - the opening act comes weighted down with irrelevant incident and with characters Bintley hasn't time to explain.
more...


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 Post subject: Cyrano
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:04 am 
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‘Cyrano’ - Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Hippodrome; February 7th, 2007


David Bintley has always believed in “Cyrano.” Now, 16 years after his first attempt to bring Edmond Rostand’s classic tale of unfulfilled love to the ballet stage, that belief has been well and truly vindicated in a beautifully crafted and eminently watchable production that I predict will be around for a long time.

The audience arrives to see the curtain already raised to reveal a theatre being readied and an audience arriving for a play. While the device mirrors nicely what is happening in the real auditorium, this is undoubtedly the weakest part of the evening. As the stage starts to teem with people it simply gets too crowded to really see what is happening. Cyrano expresses his feelings for Roxane but never particularly clearly.

However, once the story moves to Ragueneau’s bakery in the next scene, it really gets going. Now Bintley is in his element and presents us with a classic dance-drama. He has distilled the story down and really got to the heart of matters, the love triangle between Cyrano, Christian and Roxanne. In doing so he gives us lots of dance, from lyrical and tender pas de deux to big rumbustuous set pieces for the cadets.

The story unfolds so naturally that the evening simply flies by. We see Cyrano, a man of contradictions. A man in love and so full of letters but who is incapable of simply telling Roxane that he loves her. A man who has almost everything except the looks and love he really wants. Indeed, it is only when he dances with Roxane that he seems to find a release and the passion of his letters translated to action. And of course we have Christian, the illiterate soldier who has the looks but not the words. And so we sweep through nineteenth century France, through Parisian streets, romantic encounters in gardens and battlefields to the final scene in a convent orchard fifteen years after we started.

The final scene deserves special mention. Cyrano limps on to the stage and sits. A tragic figure, he is now a wounded and broken man. Just like Cyrano the leaves on the trees are in the autumn of their life and have turned to red and gold. The once green trees have now turned to red and gold and just like Cyrano they are falling and dying. Parker’s wonderful acting coveys all too clearly that he doesn’t want Roxane to see him like this, yet he cannot resist his need to see her one last time. They dance together one last time, his love finally revealed, before, in an incredibly powerful scene that really tugs at the emotions, he dies in the arms of the woman he always loved, but who always seemed just of out reach.

Robert Parker has always been a superb dancer but is now also an accomplished actor who can make even the smallest gesture or look mean so much. His portrayal of Cyrano was quite simply wonderful, one minute full of bravado, the next racked with pain at the way he looks. Apparently full of confidence yet at the same time so insecure. This will be the last role he creates on the stage before leaving BRB in the summer to train as a commercial airline pilot in the US. He is going to be greatly missed.

The fresh-faced Elisha Willis made for a delightful Roxane, apparently oblivious, until the end at least, that Cyrano was her real love. Her dancing was always light and full of innocence, even when dancing with the cadets during her visit to the battlefield. Especially lyrical were some of the duets with Iain Mackay’s fresh-faced Christian. The ballet also saw the welcome return to the Hippodrome stage of long time favourite Joseph Cipolla as De Guiche. Bintley has reduced the rose to little more than a walk on but even under all that costume and heavy make up there was no mistaking his brooding figure and commanding presence.

Bintley makes numerous references to other ballets and of course, it wouldn’t be a Bintley story ballet without those trademark touches of humour. Sometimes he manages to combine these as in a hilarious pastiche of the Rose Adagio that takes place in Ragueneau’s bakery, complete with baguettes instead of roses. What is really clever is that the joke works even if you don’t get the link with “Sleeping Beauty”. There are many other clear references including “Apollo”, “Hobson’s Choice” and “Romeo and Juliet”. Probably others too.

From his first production of the story, Bintley has retained the moment where Cyrano dances with a globe (light) on his head. This is a reference to the real Cyrano de Bergerac’s science fiction novel “Voyage to the Moon” but again where he succeeds is that you don’t need to know that. If you get it it’s a bonus. It works as a visual gag anyway.

And Bintley doesn’t stop at ballet or historical references. British readers will no doubt remember the famous Morecambe and Wise version of "Cyrano" from 1977 that featured Penelope Keith as Roxanne. When Christian is mocking Cyrano’s “big conk” as Eric put it, he produces an oversize handkerchief and puts a huge glass on his nose, just like in Ernie’s play. Another reference comes when Christian is wooing Roxane on a garden bench with Cyrano coaching him from behind.

All this aided by Carl Davis’ rolling ocean of a score that is sometimes sweeping and majestic, sometimes subtle. It could be accused of being popularist (since when was that a crime anyway) but it is very easy on the ear and combines with Bintley’s choreography to keep the tale moving along nicely. Hayden Griffin’s costumes, recycled from Bintley’s first “Cyrano”, and sets could be accused of being over fussy and too big but they do place the ballet firmly in the period. And one thing that Bintley has always been certain of is that "Cyrano" is a tale of its time and place and can only be set firmly in that time and place.

The end result is a triumph. Rostand’s play is complex and although the power of words in Cyrano’s letters is perhaps never really conveyed, but Bintley does get to the heart of the matter. And to our hearts too because it is impossible to leave the theatre without feeling sorry for Cyrano, Roxane and Christian. This was a love triangle that was destined never to have a happy ending - for any of them. Of course it helps if you buy a programme or read the synopsis, helpfully printed on the back of the free cast list, but you don’t need to. You can follow everything quiet easily without - always the sign of a special piece of work.

“Cyrano” continues on tour to Salford, Plymouth, Sunderland and Oxford.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:37 am 
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Many thanks, David, for this full and fulsome account of Bintley's new "Cyrano". Judith Mackrell's review seems very much in tune with yours, and she shares your view that the opening scenes could do with some tidying.

However, overall, it sounds like a successful new full-length ballet, and, my goodness, there aren't too many of those around these days.


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 Post subject: Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in Three Movement
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:15 am 
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Stravinsky: A Celebration 2007 - Birmingham Royal Ballet
(‘Agon’, ‘Stravinsky Violin Concerto’, ‘Symphony in Three Movements’)
Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham, UK. February 14th, 2007


Stravinsky first met Balanchine in 1925 while working with the Ballets Russes. Over the following fifty years they became firm friends and their relationship developed into one of the most important between choreographer and composer. Although he made ballets to many composers’ music, it was to Stravinsky he returned again and again. So, as part of Birmingham’s continuing “Igorfest”, in which all of Stravinsky’s works are to be performed live in the city, what could be more appropriate than for BRB to stage a programme of three ballets from this remarkable partnership.

“Agon”, created in 1957, looks as fresh as ever. Balanchine created his own choreographic language to Stravinsky’s splintered score, so it is always interesting to see how new dancers cope when they take over the lead roles. In Birmingham, the opening night pas de deux was handed to Tyrone Singleton and Jenna Roberts. Both looked completely at home and made the most of Balanchine’s constantly twisting, turning choreography. They looked like they really understood what Mr B is about. They actually made it look electric and exciting, which can’t always be said when British companies dance his works. It was just a shame that Roberts’ otherwise clean lines were a little spoiled by an errant ribbon end that popped out early on.

“Stravinsky Violin Concerto” is a welcome addition to BRB’s already considerable Balanchine repertory. Following the series of unexpected entrances, exits and changes of group that mark the opening, the ballet explores a couple of what seem to be turbulent, difficult male-female relationships. Robert Parker and Elisha Willis danced the first pas de deux with all the required energy and clarity. Willis at times looked like some strange insect as she effortlessly wound herself around her partner, sometimes arching backwards gymnast-like into ever more weird yet beautiful positions. Both looked perfectly at home in the roles, and dare I say it, as if they were enjoying themselves. Willis in particular really seems to have blossomed this season and was particularly spiky and sharp. Nao Sakuma and Iain Mackay didn’t sizzle to the same extent and looked a little less comfortable. Both could have done with a little more bite and attack, both tending to round Balanchine’s sharper edges somewhat. Guest artist Takane Funatsu, making her debut as solo violinist for the work, was excellent and thoroughly deserved her reception at the end.

The whole company certainly drove themselves through "Symphony in Three Movements", superbly echoing the driving pulse of Stravinsky’s score that seems to run continuously through the whole piece. The corps were nicely sharp and of the leading dancers, Dominic Antonucci and Carol-Anne Millar in particular were sharp, spiky and athletic, and really seemed to understand what Balanchine is all about.

Following the previous week’s “Cyrano,” as full of narrative, drama and characterisation as you can get, here was ballet quite simply about just the steps and the music. Balanchine non-narrative works like these really do lay the dancers’ technique bare for all to see. Although some of the BRB dancers have a tendency to smooth Balanchine’s sharp edges somewhat, the good news is that in general they once again showed what good form they are in at the moment in a excellent demonstration of athletic, modernist, energetic, playful and intensely musical dance. And let’s not forget the important part also played by the ever-excellent Royal Ballet Sinfonia, conducted by Philip Ellis.

Stravinsky: A Celebration 2007 continues on tour to Salford, Plymouth and Sunderland.


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 Post subject: Cyrano
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:29 am 
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Quote:
Cyrano, Hippodrome, Birmingham
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent
published: February 13, 2007

It's an odd choice for a wordless art form.

Bintley has argued that the point of Cyrano is not words but love - yet this ballet insists on those letters, on writing and speaking. His characters read, with sweeping mime gestures: love, heart, lips. Growing larger, the gestures slide into dance. It's neatly done, as is the choreography. But it's boring.
more...


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 Post subject: New Choreography Programme
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:47 am 
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BRB New Choreography Programme

More details are now available of the programme of new works by comapny dancers to be performed later this year.

The works are being created by members of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Contributing to these performances are BRB First Soloist Kosuke Yamamoto, and Artists Samara Downs, Kit Holder, Aonghus Hoole, Jenny Murphy, Glyn Scott and Nathanael Skelton.

With all pieces being choreographed to music by Igor Stravinsky, these performances make up part of the Company's ongoing celebration of the renowned composer.

The programme is:

Small Worlds
A new one-act ballet from BRB Artist Kit Holder to Igor Stravinsky's "Concerto in D"

New Downs Ballet
A new one-act ballet from BRB Artist Samara Downs to Igor Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto"

New Hoole Ballet
A new one-act ballet from BRB Artist Aonghus Hoole to Igor Stravinsky's "Tango for piano"

New Scott Ballet
A new one-act ballet from BRB Artist Glyn Scott to Igor Stravinsky's "Circus Polka Suite No.1"

New Murphy Ballet
A new one-act ballet from BRB Artist Jenny Murphy to Igor Stravinsky's "Circus Polka Suite No.2"

New Skelton Ballet
A new one-act ballet from BRB Artist Nathanael Skelton to Igor Stravinsky's "Piano Rag Music"

New Yamamoto Ballet
A new one-act ballet from BRB First Soloist Kosuke Yamamoto to Igor Stravinsky's "Four Etudes for piano Op.7"

Performances are at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Saturday and Sunday June 2nd and 3rd, 2007.

Note that "Small Worlds" will also be performed on the split tour (see earlier posting for dates).


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 Post subject: Ballet Hoo!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:49 am 
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"Ballet Hoo!" on TV

For anyone who missed it, the "Ballet Hoo!" programmes are being repeated on Channel 4, starting Tuesday 6 March at 9.30am.

This is the documentary series that followed the amazing BRB programme of the same name.


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 Post subject: Dynamic Dance
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:07 am 
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‘Dynamic Dance’ - Birmingham Royal Ballet
Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham, UK; June 2, 2007


David Bintley has always tried to ensure that Britain’s ballet heritage is not forgotten. But as a director he also makes a point of looking to the future and nurturing the choreographic talent he has at BRB. In 2005, members of the company choreographed to Holst’s “The Planets”, and Oliver Hindle’s “The Four Seasons”, the latter to be seen later in the season, also started life as part of a similar choreographic evening. “Dynamic Dance”, a programme of eight new works, is the latest such venture, this time all danced to music by Stravinsky as part of BRB’s and the city of Birmingham’s ongoing celebration of his work.

The strongest piece on display was undoubtedly Kit Holder’s “Small Worlds” danced to “Concerto in D”. Holder is one of BRB’s most experienced dancer-choreographers and it showed. This was a true coming together of music, décor and dance. The work was inspired by a series of paintings of the same name by Russian artist Kandinksy, coloured shapes and lines from which formed Helen Fownes-Davies’ wonderfully expressive yet abstract designs.

One of Kandinsky’s ideas was that different viewers should be able to take different emotions or ideas from the many colours and shapes in a picture’s images. Taking this as his theme, Holder wanted to explore the idea that different moods that can be present and different people can take different feelings from the same image or piece of dance. I haven’t talked to enough people to know if he succeeded, but where he certainly did score was in the way he made it seem as if the six dancers in their simple blue and terracotta unitards were part of the set. Indeed, as if the whole was a Kandinksy painting, come to life. Special mention must go to Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao who danced a beautifully fluid pas de deux in the lyrical second section.

Proceedings were opened by Jenny Murphy’s light “Much-a-dance about nothing” (music: “Circus Polka Suite no.2”), with its suggestions of dancing at a summer ball, before Kosuke Yamomoto gave us a clear change of mood with “The end of Winter”. Danced to “Four Etudes”, Stravinsky at his most romantic, Yamomoto gave us an often reflective piece, danced here by Nao Sakuma, Carol-Anne Millar and Alexander Campbell. The work wasn’t hugely technically challenging but he and his dancers certainly managed to communicate a mood and feeling while at the same time leaving space for the audience to interpret the meaning or put a story on it for themselves, something all together more difficult.

There was no doubt what “Avec moi ce soir” (music: “Circus Polka Suite no.1”) by Glyn Scott was about. Red lights and suggestive ladies said it all! Sadly, after a very promising opening it never really delivered. Having chosen to work with Stravinsky’s five minute piano miniature “Tango”, Aonghus Hoole managed to give “All for a kiss” a quite Latin feel without ever descending into the realms of “Strictly Ballroom”. However, while we certainly saw the passion within at the beginning, the fire did seem to die down a little, and maybe a little more could have been made of the ending.

Endings seemed to be something of a problem for many of the choreographers. Several of the works seemed to end in nothing, or just fade away, as was the case with Samara Downs’ “Ebony Concerto” (to music of the same title), which up until then had been very good indeed. It seemed there was more than a nod in the direction of Balanchine here, both in some of the movement and the way she used the dancers in the space. And if you’re going to nod anywhere, that’s a pretty good place.

“Ebony” was followed by Nathanael Skelton’s “Unravelled” (to “Piano Rag Music”), the one piece that really didn’t seem to work. It was definitely much rawer than the others, more contemporary and with floor work but somehow the choreography didn’t seem to really connect with Stravinsky’s jaunty rhythms. The programme concluded with “Danses Concertantes”, an enjoyable and colourful ‘tights and tutus’ ballet with different sections choreographed by Holder, Yamomoto, Scott and Hoole. Holder, who made the opening and closing sections, showing that he can work effectively with large numbers of dancers as well as smaller groups.

On the whole, Bintley’s dancers did him proud. And it wasn’t easy for them. Normally, a choreographer can choose their own music, something that really inspires them. Here they were given a shortlist to pick from, making the whole thing much more of a challenge and open to the risk that someone will try and put an existing idea on music that doesn’t really fit it. That didn’t seem to happen, and the choreographers certainly showed more than a little promise and that the creative spirit is alive and well in the company. Special mention must also go to the students from the University of Central England, who provided most of the designs. Yes, there were times when things dipped a little, or an understandable tendency to play safe and to go for the predictable, either to slavishly follow the music or in the combinations of steps themselves. But it’s a huge jump from choreographing at school or for a BRB summer school or workshop to putting something on in front of a thousand people. The question is, having been given the chance, will they go on?

One final note. It was great to see a company here doing a free 16-page A4-size programme, complete with photos and lots of detail about each piece. Mind you, I do wonder how much it cost them financially.

“Small Worlds” can be seen as part of BRB’s mixed programme touring to Durham, Middlesbrough and York at the end of June.


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