English National Ballet 2014

British choreographers Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett to create new works for English National Ballet.

Carlos Acosta to guest partner Tamara Rojo in Romeo & Juliet.

First time English National Ballet to perform at the Barbican.

Tamara Rojo and Akram Khan. Photo: David Jensen

English National Ballet Announces 2014 Season

Award winning British choreographers Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett will all create new works for English National Ballet, as part of a programme of dance inspired by the centenary of the Great War. The three pieces, part of a programme of British choreography entitled Lest We Forget, will be accompanied by a reworking of Firebird by English National Ballet’s Associate Artist George Williamson and will be performed at the Barbican in April 2014. This is the first time that the Company has performed at the Barbican.

Announcing the commissions on 10 June as part of the Company’s 2014 Spring-Summer season, English National Ballet’s Artistic Director Tamara Rojo said: “Lest We Forget marks my first commission for English National Ballet and I am thrilled that these three great artists have agreed to create works for the Company. I wanted an evening of British work and the Great War still has such resonance in British culture and society that the occasion of the centenary was an obvious inspiration.I am particularly excited to be bringing the works to the Barbican which will offer a natural home for this programme. English National Ballet has a rich tradition of touring and going to the Barbican fits with the Company’s ethos of presenting ballet to new and established audiences nationwide. The Barbican programmes contemporary dance and has an excellent reputation for working with major UK and international theatre and dance companies.”

Akram Khan said: “For a long while now, I have been waiting for the right moment to work with a ballet company on which to explore, investigate and discover new directions with my choreography, until, in the winter of last year, Tamara Rojo asked if I would be interested in exploring some ideas with the English National Ballet dancers. I said ‘yes’. This is my first venture with a ballet company, and I am extremely excited to create a new work for them for 2014. I have also invited my collaborative team to create this new work with me, Kimie Nakamo (costume designer) Fabiana Piccioli (lighting designer) Jocelyn Pook (composer) Ruth Little (dramaturge) and Jose Agudo (rehearsal director). However, one thing is important for me to point out...it is not just that I am working with English National Ballet that excited me initially, it is the wonderful realisation that Tamara Rojo is in the driving seat of this company, with a fresh, strong and committed vision, that both my producer Farooq Chaudhry and I were happy to be supporting. An incredibly talented and passionate artist leading an equally impressive company!”

Liam Scarlett said: “After having created for and worked so closely with Tamara Rojo as a dancer, there was no hesitation in accepting her commission to create a new work for English National Ballet. It is wonderful to see the company under her directorship and I look forward to be working alongside her once again.”

Russell Maliphant said: “Having met the Company, I am looking forward to getting started on this piece for English National Ballet. Work for me begins with a meeting point of myself, music and dancers in the studio. I always search to draw out unique qualities specific to each dancer and utilise those in the emerging work. For this piece we will use a contemporary personal version of classical language.”

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican said: “As we launch our Autumn season and reveal some of our Spring 2014 projects, we are delighted to welcome the English National Ballet to the Barbican Theatre for the first time. Lest We Forget is commissioned to commemorate the centenary of the Great War and Tamara Rojo has chosen four inspiring choreographers as part of her inaugural season. We very much look forward to working on this exciting season with the Company.”

Tamara also announced that she and Carlo Acosta, the great Cuban dancer, will reprise their famed partnership when they dance the lead roles in Derek Deane’s Romeo & Juliet in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall in June 2014. Tamara, who was the original Juliet in this production, said: “It’s wonderful to get the chance to revisit this role which I helped to create as a young dancer and it will be a particularly great pleasure to be dancing it with Carlos whom I partnered so often in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet.” Performed by a company of 120 dancers and actors, this is an epic staging of Shakespeare’s love story from the majestic sweep of the masked ball to the richness and grandeur of the streets of renaissance Verona.

July sees English National Ballet back at the London Coliseum with the perennially popular Coppélia - the comic adventure story of Franz and how he falls in love with a beautiful, life-like doll, choreographed by Ronald Hynd.

Booking opens on 19 June (12 June for English National Ballet Friends), Romeo & Juliet open to everyone on 12 June. Full season details below:

2013/14 Season
Le Corsaire
17 October – 30 November 2013, and 11 February – 15 Feb on tour
9 January – 19 January 2014, London Coliseum
Le Corsaire (The Pirate) is a ballet in three acts, with a libretto based on the poem The Corsair by Lord Byron. Medora, a young Greek girl, is sold to Pasha by Lankandem a slave trader. The pirate Conrad seizes Medora, takes her to his grotto and declares his love for her. Conrad's right-hand-man Birbanto, who is jealous of Conrad, tries to kill him but Medora is able to save him. Lankandem in an opportunistic moment seizes Medora and takes her back to Pasha. Conrad and his men show up in disguise at the Palace to take Medora away again. That evening Medora dances for Pasha, Conrad seizes the opportunity to take her away, killing the traitor Birbanto as Medora unmasks him. The ship on which Medora and Conrad escape sinks in a terrible storm and the two lovers die, sealing their immortal love. English National Ballet is the first UK Company to perform the complete work which showcases some of the most bravura male dancing in the ballet repertoire. Hollywood film designer Bob Ringwood (Batman, Alien 3, Star Trek Nemesis, AI and Troy) has created new sets and costumes. Staged by Anna-Marie Holmes after Petipa and Sergeyev with music by Adam, Pugni, Delibes, Drigo and Oldenbourg. Le Corsaire is generously supported by Alfa-Bank, Swarovski and Le Corsaire Appeal donors.

Yonah Acosta in Le Corsaire variation at the YAGP Gala in 2012. Photo: Dance Europe

20 – 23 November 2013, on tour
11 December – 5 January 2014, London Coliseum
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without English National Ballet’s Nutcracker. The company has performed it every year since 1950. 2013 sees the return of Wayne Eagling’s version, created in 2010 to celebrate the Company’s 60th birthday. Set in a world of frosty Edwardian elegance designed by Peter Farmer, this captivating production takes audiences on an enchanting journey with Clara, her Nutcracker doll and the magician Drosselmeyer. English National Ballet’s dancers bring to life Tchaikovsky’s eternally popular score. Nutcracker is generously supported by Swarovski, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Nutcracker Appeal donors.

Junor Souza in Wayne Eagling's The Nutcracker. Photo: Dance Europe

Lest We Forget
2 – 12 April 2014, Barbican Theatre
Award-winning British choreographers Akram Khan, Rusell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett create works honouring the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Completing the programme is George Williamson’s Firebird, premiered by the Company in 2012. This is the first time that Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant have collaborated with a classical ballet company. Firmly rooted in the classical tradition are the younger choreographers, Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett and English National Ballet’s own Associate Artist George Williamson.

My First Ballet: Coppélia
5 – 25 May 2014, Peacock Theatre, London and on tour
(Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury / Peacock Theatre London / Manchester Palace Theatre / Assembly Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells / Waterside Aylesbury / Churchill Bromley)
My First Ballet: Coppélia tells the comic tale of an eccentric toymaker and his mechanical doll, in a beautifully adapted version for young audiences. The My First Ballet series brings young audiences their first taste of ballet, with captivating music and beautiful dance. After presenting My First Sleeping Beauty and My First Cinderella at the Peacock Theatre and at theatres around the country last year, ENB2 returns with its graduating dancers of outstanding potential from English National Ballet School. Léo Delibes's irresistibly melodic score is accompanied with narration to ensure that everyone enjoys this classic story. My First Ballet: Coppélia, based on Ronald Hynd’s original production, is choreographed by George Williamson, English National Ballet’s Associate Artist. My First Ballet: Coppélia is generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust.

Dates tbc 2014
English National Ballet’s platform for up-and-coming choreographers, which previously has only featured members of the Company, will next year be opened up to welcome non-English National Ballet participants. Tamara Rojo said: “I want English National Ballet to build a tradition of nurturing the development of choreography and to open our doors to give other aspiring choreographers a platform alongside our own dancers.”

Emerging Dancer 2014
Dates tbc 2014
Emerging Dancer Competition is an annual event for English National Ballet to recognise and nurture the phenomenal talent of its up-and-coming dancers. In this live final six emerging dancers perform in front of a panel of eminent judges. The Emerging Dancer Award winner is announced at the end of the evening together with the recipient of the People’s Choice Award, which is voted for by members of the public. The Emerging Dancer Competition is generously supported in its fifth year by Talbot Hughes McKillop, the restructuring experts.

Romeo & Juliet
11-22 June 2014, Royal Albert Hall
Raymond Gubbay and the Royal Albert Hall present English National Ballet at the Royal Albert Hall in June, with Derek Deane’s breath-taking in-the-round production of Romeo & Juliet. Performed by a company of 120 dancers and actors this epic staging of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy is set in-the-round. This magnificent production brings to life all the emotions of the world's greatest love story, from the majestic sweep of the masked ball to the passion and intimacy of the lovers' pas de deux. Renaissance Verona in all its decadent richness and grandeur is beautifully evoked by Roberta Guidi di Bagno’s designs. Prokofiev's evocative and memorable score is played by the full Orchestra of English National Ballet.

23 – 27 July 2014, London Coliseum
Coppélia, is the comic tale of an eccentric toymaker and his mechanical doll. Dr Coppélius, the toymaker, has created the lifelike Coppélia doll and wishes for nothing more than to bring her to life. He imagines that his dream has finally come true, but he has merely been caught up in a lovers' tiff. Love triumphs over all in this comedy of mistaken identity and the finale is a breath-taking celebration of the lovers' marriage. Coppélia is an enchanting, effervescent family ballet, perfect for young and old alike. English National Ballet's time honoured production is choreographed by Ronald Hynd. Léo Delibes' irresistibly melodic score is played by English National Ballet's full orchestra.