Birmingham Royal Ballet, in association with Sadler’s Wells, has announced the first three choreographers and first two composers commissioned as part of Ballet Now – a unique five-year programme of professional development for choreographers, composers and designers funded by Oak Foundation.
Ballet Now will create two new one-act ballets per year for five years, each with a choreographer, composer and designer who are creating their first dance piece for a large company on a large stage. In total 30 artists will collaborate on these new works, helping to grow the pool of artistic talent available to ballet companies world-wide. This not only guarantees ten new ballets for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s dancers to perform, and for the Company’s audiences to see, but it offers those 30 artists an individual mentoring plan, a budget for their work and a level of creative support that they will not previously have experienced.
This ground-breaking initiative has been developed and overseen by a Creative Consortium; a panel of experts drawn from across the world of ballet supporting the selection of creative talent, as well as overseeing mentoring opportunities and the on-going success of the programme.
The Consortium consists of: David Bintley (Director, Birmingham Royal Ballet), Koen Kessels (Music Director, Birmingham Royal Ballet), Alistair Spalding (Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive), Cassa Pancho (Artistic Director, Ballet Black), Ted Brandsen (Director, Dutch National Ballet), Emma Southworth (Studio Programme Senior Producer, The Royal Ballet), Sally Beamish (Composer), Sally Cavender (Director, Performance Music and Vice-Chairman, Faber Music).
The first three Ballet Now choreographers are George Williamson, Juanjo Arqués and Didy Veldman. The first two Ballet Now composers are Sarah Kirkland Snider (working alongside George Williamson) and Gabriel Prokofiev (working with Didy Veldman). These artists have been selected by the Creative Consortium due to the originality, insight and world-class potential shown in their previous work. Ballet Now will give them the opportunity to challenge their choreographic practice and work on the largest scale, whilst leading a creative process in a major ballet company.
Abigail Reeve, producer of Ballet Now, commented: ‘Ballet Now is a unique programme of development and new work that Birmingham Royal Ballet is delighted to be launching in association with Sadler’s Wells. Its aim is to develop the next set of creative voices for the dance world. Our first three choreographers commissioned through the programme bring with them fresh outlooks and ideas which will excite audiences across the world.’
The Ballet Now programme will also support one designer per commission; further details will be announced in 2018.
The first Ballet Now commission, choreographed by George Williamson, will be performed as part of the In the Upper Room mixed programme at Sadler’s Wells (15-16 June 2018) and Birmingham Hippodrome (20-23 June 2018).