Birmingham Royal Ballet started life in London as Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet. Thirty years ago, though, leaders of Bimingham City Council had what proved to be a visionary idea: to invite the company to move to Britain's second city. Birmingham offered a purpose-built new home and studios, attached to the Birmingham Hippodrome, which became the company's new home theatre.
Thus Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) was born, still keeping its connection with his sister company, the Royal Ballet, but striking out with its own identity, now inextricably linked to the city that gave it its name.
It's been a mutually beneficial association, the presence of a prestigious company enhancing the international profile of the city; and the city's affection and financial support offering the company a secure base from which to develop.
And so both city and ballet company feel the 30th anniversary is a landmark well worth celebrating with a special programme – Birmingham Royal Ballet at 30 – to be filmed at Birmingham Town Hall and introduced by BRB's artistic director, Carlos Acosta. With the second Covid lockdown in place, Acosta will be joined virtually by a number of local notables.
The relatively short programme counts on 11 BRB dancers, who will perform three pieces on the Town Hall stage accompanied by the company's own orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
Ben Stevenson's End of Time is a pas de deux, which, the choreographer says, 'depicts my feeling that after some global devastation only two people remain on earth.' Set to music by Rachmaninov, it was choreographed in 1984 for the International Ballet Competition in Japan, where it won the gold medal for choreography.
The second piece, Majisimo, comes from Spanish choreographer Jorge Garcia, and continues Carlos Acosta's commitment to acquainting British audiences with dance-makers from the Spanish-speaking world, with which, as a Cuban, he is familiar. Choreographed for four couples on a score by Massenet, it showcases a refined classic Spanish style of dance and music.
The third work in the programme, Liebestod, made its UK debut as part of BRB's recent triumphant Lazuli Sky triple bill. It's a short, virtuoso solo for a male dancer by the Russian/Israeli choreographer Valery Panov, an emotion-laden piece set to an extract from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, which provides a great showcase for BRB's current crop of outstanding male soloists.
|What||Birmingham Royal Ballet at 30|
|Where||Online | MAP|
19 Nov 20 – 26 Nov 20, Available on demand for seven days from first broadcast. Dur.: 50 mins approx