If this year has been deeply frustrating for you, spare a thought for Carlos Acosta. The Cuban superstar ballet dancer took over as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet last January, bursting with ideas and plans to bring ballet and his company to the forefront of national attention.
Then Covid-19 struck and theatres all over the land went dark. Acosta's ambitious plans died a death, for the time being at least.
To make matters worse, BRB's home theatre, the large Birmingham Hippodrome, announced that its doors would remain closed until the end of the current year, at the very least. Undaunted, Acosta sought an alternative, and it emerged in the form of a partnership with the smaller Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
BRB will, therefore, be premiering a one-hour triple bill with live music at the Birmingham Rep in the autumn, all under socially distanced conditions, and the programme comes to London's Sadler's Wells at the end of October.
Under the umbrella name of Lazuli Sky, the bill includes the eponymous specially commissioned work by the choreographer Will Tuckett, who was, incidentally, born in Birmingham, alongside the solo for male dancer Liebestod, and Our Waltzes, a lively piece for 10 dancers.
Tuckett's Lazuli Sky takes its name from the most precious shade of blue in the palette of Renaissance painting, which colours Leonardo da Vinci's characteristic skies. Created during lockdown, the yearning for open spaces and clear skies inspired the intensely immersive work of Tuckett's creative team, which included designer Samuel Wyer and projection designer Nina Dunn. The costumes, including two-metre-long skirts, are devised to socially distance the 12 dancers.
The piece is set to John Adams's Shaker Loops, which will be performed live by members of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy.
Liebestod is a solo for a male dancer, set to music from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde by the Russian-Israeli choreographer Valery Panov, a demanding work that will present a welcoming challenge to BRB's excellent male principals.
Vicente Nebrada's 1970 work Our Waltzes is danced to a collection of Latin-infused waltzes from his native Venezuela, and features five couples in choreography that fills the stage with fluid movements, celebrating love, romance and passion.
Acosta has devised a varied programme, one that reflects the strange times we're living through, but is upbeat and uplifting. And above all, it's live!
Details of social distancing arrangements will be appearing soon on the Sadler's Wells website.
|What||Birmingham Royal Ballet LIVE at Sadler's Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
29 Oct 20 – 31 Oct 20, 19:30 Sat mat 14:30 Dur.: 1 hour
|Website||Click here to book|