English National Ballet | AD Tamara Rojo announces new season

English National Ballet | AD Tamara Rojo announces new season 

english national balletTamara Rojo, the new Artistic Director of English National Ballet, today announced details of the company’s new season, talked about her vision for the company and introduced her new artistic team.

Ecstasy and Death – 20th Century masterpieces including the company premiere of Jiř Kylián’s Petite Mort

Nicholas le Riche, Étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet, will join the company to dance the role of Le Jeune Homme

Nureyev anniversary programme with three of his most important roles

Tamara Rojo dances Aurora and the Sugar Plum Fairy

George Williamson creates My First Cinderella

Loipa Araujo, José Martin & Hua Fang Zhang join the artistic team

Emerging Dancer 2013 celebrates rising stars

Speaking of her ambitions for the company Tamara said: “I want to transform English National Ballet into England’s most creative and most loved ballet company, embracing and commissioning brave new works whilst keeping the classics relevant. The English National Ballet will build on its great tradition to nourish artists be they dancers, choreographers, composers, designers or teachers.”

As well as her role as Artistic Director, Tamara will continue to dance, and will be seen in the roles of Princess Aurora and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the already announced productions of The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

John Talbot, Chairman of English National Ballet, said: “We are very excited about Tamara’s vision for the English National Ballet. She has taken over a wonderful company and we are looking forward to her building an international reputation for English National Ballet.”

Looking forward to 2013, Tamara announced two new mixed programmes.

Ecstasy and Death – 20th Century ballets of magnificent choreography and deep poetic emotion; Petite Mort, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort and Etudes. In the year which marks the 75th anniversary of his birth and the 20 of his untimely death, A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev celebrates the legacy of Rudolf Nureyev in a programme which moves from his roots in the 19th Century classics to the contemporary French repertoire.

Supporting Tamara in her new role will be Loipa Araujo as Associate Artistic Director, José Martin as Principal Répétiteur, Hua Fang Zhang as Ballet Mistress and George Williamson as Associate Artist. They will join Répétiteur Antony Dowson and Artistic Co-ordinator Jane Haworth, to make up the new Artistic Team. Speaking of her team Tamara said: “I wanted to make sure that I have the artistic staff who will nurture English National Ballet extraordinarily talented dancers enabling them to develop their potential even further.”

English National Ballet has a long tradition of introducing ballet to new audiences and fostering young talent. Newly appointed Associate Artist George Williamson will create My First Cinderella to give young children their first taste of classical ballet. George will also be responsible for the artistic direction of The Emerging Dancer Award 2013 which will see the company’s brightest young talent compete for the award in a thrilling public performance.

English National Ballet’s Spring Season

Ecstasy and Death

London Coliseum 18-21 April 2013

Petite Mort by Jiři Kylián

Le Jeunne Homme et la Mort by Roland Petit

Etudes by Harald Lander

Jiř Kylián’s landmark ballet enters the company repertoire for the first time in this programme of three contrasting 20th Century ballets of magnificent choreography and deep poetic emotion. Together they will showcase the company’s stylistic versatility, technical brilliance and dramatic flair, drawing on the dancers’ extraordinary physical, emotional and theatrical talents. This will be the first time English National Ballet has performed Petite Mort.

Petite Mort, Jiři Kylián’s beautiful, poetic piece, is a landmark of contemporary choreography and its language has inspired a new generation of choreographers. It features six men, six women, and six fencing foils, symbolising energy, silence and sexuality. The foils become dancing partners in the piece, representing the brutality of everyday life. Choreographed to the slow movements from Mozart’s Piano concertos in A Major and C major, Petite Mort was created in 1991 for the Salzburg Festival to mark the second centenary of Mozart’s death. Jiř Kylián is a Prague-born dancer and choreographer, formally Artistic Director at Netherlands Dans Theatre. Since his first renowned piece Sinfonietta, his work has become part of the repertoire of all major ballet companies throughout the world.

Le Jeune Homme et la Mort

Le Jeune Homme et la Mort is Roland Petit’s choreographic masterpiece. It concerns a faithless woman tormenting her young lover, driving him to despair. It has attracted some of the greatest male dancers, from Nureyev to Baryshnikov. It provides the perfect opportunity for a male dancer to explore the most dramatic of characters as he takes the audience through a journey of destruction and pain led by the ‘femme fatale’ Death. Created in 1946 by choreographer Roland Petit, the ballet was last performed by English National Ballet at the Coliseum in 2011, just days after its creator’s death.

Paying tribute to the choreographer, Tamara said: “I had the immense privilege of working with Mr Petit in his Carmen. It was a dream come true and he was every bit as intimidating and demanding as I had imagined. His deep knowledge of the art form combined with a love for showbiz and razzmatazz was a great artistic lesson that I have treasured ever since.”

Nicholas le Riche, Étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet, will join the company to dance the role of Le Jeune Homme, alternating with Yonah Acosta whose interpretation of the role was acclaimed in 2011


Etudes is Harald Lander’s glamorous homage to classical ballet training and dance. It requires a corps de ballet with exceptional skills and uses both their artistry and technique to great effect. Etudes showcases the rigorous training a dancer goes through every day to gain strength, agility and speed, and, above all, elegance. Etudes celebrates the journey from daily ballet class moves and simple stretching at the barre to the full blown virtuosity and bravura of the final performance. Created in 1948, it became a signature piece for English National Ballet following the company’s first performance in 1955. The music is taken from a Carl Czerny study adapted and orchestrated by Knudaage Riisager.

Etudes returns to the company’s repertoire after four years, and was last seen at the Royal Festival Hall in 2008.

A Tribute To Rudolf Nureyev

London Coliseum 25-27 July 2013

Petrushka by Michel Fokine

Song of a Wayfarer by Maurice Béjart

Nureyev’s Raymonda

2013 marks both the 75th anniversary of the birth of Rudolf Nureyev and the 20th of his untimely death. English National Ballet pays tribute to the legacy of this great artist in a programme of three works he made his own, celebrating his career from his beginnings with 19th Century classical ballet, through his interpretation of a masterpiece of the Ballets Russes, to his embrace of the innovative 20th Century of Maurice Béjart.

Speaking of the Nureyev legacy, Tamara said: “Nureyev is without a doubt the most inspiring figure in the history of male dancing. His defection caused a huge stir, but most importantly he changed for ever the way we viewed the role of the male ballet dancer in the west. His huge legacy left an imprint throughout the classical repertoire and he continues to be an inspiration to the generations of young dancers of today.”

Petrushka, Choreographed by Fokine, with a rousing score by Stravinsky, tells the tale of a hopelessly romantic puppet who is trapped in a love triangle. Petrushka is in love with the Ballerina, but she only has eyes for the Moor who returns her affection. The tragic Petrushka suffers from the fact he is no more than a puppet who cannot express his love like a human and dances to his death as he fights against the Moor for his heart’s desire.

Petrushka was first performed by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris in 1911 with Nijinsky in the title role. Nureyev first danced Petrushka in 1963, and following his highly acclaimed performance of the lovelorn puppet went on to dance the role throughout his career around the world.

Song of a Wayfarer

Maurice Béjart’s Song of a Wayfarer is one of the most beautiful ballets ever created for the male dancer. The story follows a romantic wayfarer who wanders from town to town looking for freedom but condemned by destiny to a life of eternal unhappiness and loneliness. Béjart created this piece especially for Nureyev believing that it expresses the errant life of the dancer, going from company to company, country to country, condemned never to return to his home land. The ballet is set to Mahler’s first song cycle, four songs with lyrics by the composer.


English National Ballet is delighted to perform Nureyev’s staging of Raymonda for the first time. The original ballet was created by Marius Petipa in 1898 for the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, and the spectacular choreography and magnificent score enticed Nureyev to restage the production himself in1964 in Italy. Having had an intimate knowledge of Raymonda after performing the ballet as a young dancer with the Kirov Ballet, Nureyev revived many of the dances from memory.

Nureyev presented an adapted version of Act III of the ballet in 1969 depicting the wedding celebrations of Raymonda and her knight Jean de Brienne, following Jean’s return from the Crusades. Alexander Glazunov’s score for the ballet has been described by George Balanchine who called it “some of the finest ballet music we have.”

English National Ballet encouraging new audiences and young talent:

My First Cinderella

28 March – 26 May

Peacock Theatre, London

Concept and Direction: George Williamson and Loipa Araujo

Choreography George Williamson

Music Sergei Prokofiev

Costume David Walker with additional costumes by Wizzy Shawyer

English National Ballet’s Associate Artist, George Williamson will create the latest instalment in the My First ballets, My First Cinderella. This brand new production, of the classic fairy tale, will be brought to life especially for children 3+, giving children their first taste of classical ballet.

This unique collaboration between English National Ballet and English National Ballet School looks to develop the dancers of the future – enabling students to gain vital skills by giving them the experience of working with a professional company.

My First Cinderella will also encourage a new, younger audience, inspiring long-term relationships with the art form and developing the audiences of tomorrow.

This is Williamson’s second commission from English National Ballet and follows his Firebird which he created in 2012. Williamson is himself a graduate of English National Ballet School and knows all too well the importance of performance for a young dancer’s experience. The My First Cinderella tour will form part of the curriculum and assessment of these final year students.

George Williamson said: “I’m extremely excited about choreographing a brand new Cinderella for the My First series. It is so important to inspire younger audiences and have a specially created balletic world for them to fall in love with. I am also so pleased to be working with dancers from the English National Ballet School, helping them gain an understanding of what goes into being in a professional company. It’s fantastic to be a part of that development.”

My First Cinderella is generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust (with a grant of £114,520).

The Emerging Dancer Award 2013

The Emerging Dancer Award is an annual competition for English National Ballet to recognise and nurture the phenomenal talent of its up-and-coming dancers. The Award encourages excellence and potential within the Company. Throughout the Autumn English National Ballet’s Principal dancers and artistic, music and administrative staff vote for their Emerging Dancer and the Company’s brightest talents are shortlisted to compete in a thrilling live final in March 2013. George Williamson will artistically direct the final, which will see one dancer crowned as Emerging Dancer 2013

The Emerging Dancer and People’s Choice Awards are generously supported by Talbot Hughes MacKillop, the restructuring experts.

Autumn tour, Christmas at the Coliseum and Summer at the Royal Albert Hall

The Sleeping Beauty

Autumn and Spring

17 October – 2 March 2013, National Tour

Tamara Rojo will dance the role of Aurora, with Vadim Muntagirov as her Prince, and Daria Klimentová as the Lilac Fairy. Their first performance will open the season, on 17 October in Milton Keynes.

Choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, with sumptuous costumes by Nicholas Georgiadis The Sleeping Beauty will be performed across the UK this Autumn, before arriving at the London Coliseum in January. Combining grand sets and costumes, Tchaikovsky’s score and displays of virtuosic dancing, The Sleeping Beauty is a dazzling showcase of classical ballet. English National Ballet revived this production of The Sleeping Beauty in 2005, performing it again across the UK and at the Coliseum in 2008. In these two seasons the show was seen by almost 150,000 people.

Begoña Cao will dance with Zdenek Konvalina for the first time, and another new partnership will be Cuban rising star Yonah Acosta, with Senior Principal Erina Takahashi. Debuting in the Principal roles will be Bridgett Zehr with Junor Souza, and Ksenia Ovsyanick with Esteban Berlanga. Alison McWhinney, Ksenia Ovsyanick, Bridgett Zehr and Jia Zhang will debut as the Lilac Fairy.

The Nutcracker

Autumn and Winter

22 – 25 November, Southampton Mayflower

12 December – 5 January 2013, London Coliseum

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas with English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The company has performed it every Christmas since 1950. This year sees the return of Wayne Eagling’s version, created in 2010 to celebrate the company’s 60th Birthday. Daria Klimentová and Vadim Muntagirov will dance the lead roles in the opening performance and Tamara Rojo will appear later in the season.

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 which features the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Waltz of the Flowers and many other familiar favourites.

Swan Lake in-the-round

Royal Albert Hall 2013

12-23 June, 2013

Choreographer – Derek Deane

Raymond Gubbay and the Royal Albert Hall present English National Ballet at the Royal Albert Hall in June, with Derek Deane’s lavish in-the-round production of Swan Lake the largest production of its kind in the world and London’s dance event of the summer. The show has been a sell out for the last three seasons.

This will be the seventh sensational season in which this ballet has been performed in-the-round. Featuring more than 120 dancers on stage, this production has delighted audiences around the world and has been seen by nearly 500,000 people since its premiere in May 1997.

Set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, played by an orchestra of more than 80 musicians, this magnificent production features acrobats, jugglers and 60 swans gliding across the arena within the magical splendour of the Royal Albert Hall. Set design is by Peter Farmer and lighting by Howard Harrison.

The New Artistic Team:

At today’s launch, Tamara introduced her new artistic team:

Loipa Araujo – Associate Artistic Director

Loipa was a leading Cuban ballerina – one of the “Four Jewels” of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba – and is now a much sought after teacher in the UK and worldwide. She was Principal with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Ballet de Marseille. Guest performances with Bolshoi Ballet, Maly Theatre, Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and Béjart Ballet, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Tamara described Loipa as “one of the most inspiring coaches I have ever worked with. Her immense knowledge of classical technique and her wide experience of different repertoires, styles and choreographers, make her the perfect person work alongside me.”

José Martin – Principal Répétiteur

José studied ballet in Spain at the school of Victor Ullate before gaining a scholarship to the American School of Ballet. He joined the San Francisco Ballet where he became a soloist, moving to Zürich Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, before joining The Royal Ballet as First Soloist in 2002 until his retirement in 2012. His wide experience as ballet master includes work at the national Cuban ballet school, the Mariinsky, Teatre Colon in Buenos Aires, Julio Bocca’s Ballet Sodre Uruguay, Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet. He spent two months this year as acting artistic director at the Teatro Colon.

Tamara said of José: “He has been gaining an extraordinary reputation as a répétiteur over the last few years. His attention to detail and his perfectionism combined with approachability, make him the ideal choice for the role.”

Hua Fang Zhang – Ballet Mistress

Hua Fang, from China, was a Principal dancer Hong Kong Ballet; First Soloist National Ballet of China, Beijing; Guest performer Singapore Dance Theatre, Singapore; Ballet Mistress, National Ballet of China, Beijing; Ballet Mistress, LaLala Human Steps, Montreal, Canada; First International Dance Festival Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Second International Dance Festival Miami, Florida; Ballet Mistress, Ballet Jazz, Montreal, Canada.

Tamara, who first met Hua Fang in China, said of her: “She was working for the National Ballet of China where she made the corps de ballet into one of the most impressive I have ever seen.”

George Williamson – Associate Artist

George Williamson is a young British choreographer and graduate of English National Ballet School. George’s first major commission was Firebird for English National Ballet.

This is a new role within English National Ballet and aims to nurture young talent with great potential. George will also work with arts organisations to build collaborative projects, and bring the work of English National Ballet to communities across the UK, particularly to the touring venues. He will oversee the choreographic competition, which is a yearly event for the Company, as well as the Emerging Dancer Competition.

Tamara said: “George’s first choreographic piece for the company was very impressive. He is an artist of ideas and great vision with the energy and personality to carry them through. In this new role he will explore collaborations with young artists, nurture choreographers within the company and help us deepen our engagement with the cities we visit, working with local artists, musicians and students in venues not normally associated with ballet.”

Booking opens on 8 October (24 September for Friends)

International spa group ESPA confirms it sponsorship with English National Ballet. As global leaders in spa, ESPA can be found in prestigious spas across five continents and is dedicated to producing results-driven, natural skincare that is a pleasure to use, ensuring skin looks at its best at every stage of your life. ESPA, a British company, was drawn to partnering with the English National Ballet because of the synergies between both companies and the shared commitment to combining natural beauty with performance.

Quintessentially British perfume house Penhaligons has embarked on a new partnership with English National Ballet by sponsoring two Artists of the Company; Laurretta Summerscales and Nathan Young.

French Sole have decided to further demonstrate its commitment to the Company by creating an English National Ballet inspired ballet flat. The shoe is due to launch in early 2013, with a percentage of each sale being generously donated to help raise necessary funds.

International law firm, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP continue their support as European Partners. The firm has been an active supporter of English National Ballet since 2006.

The Annual Gala 2013 on Monday 25 March at The Dorchester, Park Lane

is English National Ballet’s biggest fundraising event of the year; helping to sustain the vibrant life of the Company, supporting our renowned Learning and outreach work and enabling us to deliver world-class ballet to the nation. Attended by celebrities, long standing dedicated supporters and donors, guests will be treated to a black tie dinner, musical entertainment and an exhilarating performance of excerpts from the Company’s varied repertoire. There is also an opportunity to bid for unique and exclusive items in both the silent and live auctions which aim to raise vital funds for the company.

Tickets will go on sale on in early November. For more information about the Gala and other events please email [email protected] or call 020 7581 1245.

Dance for Parkinson’s

Dance for Parkinson’s offers people with Parkinson’s, their carers and family members an artistic and engaging dance activity within the professional environment of English National Ballet. The programme gives an insight into the way a production is put together with input from Company dancers and musicians and there is the added opportunity to see English National Ballet performances.

Dance for Parkinson’s – London

The flagship Dance for Parkinson’s class in London continues its success and this term will be based on The Sleeping Beauty. Due to the increase in popularity and the success of the classes, we will be holding five additional ‘taster sessions’ to accommodate the large number of people hoping to come along to our regular Saturday sessions.

Dance for Parkinson’s – Oxford

Oxford City Council is English National Ballet’s first regional partner for the national Dance for Parkinson’s programme expansion. Activity will commence in January 2013 with our first Dance for Parkinson’s training programme for local Dance Artists with an interest in this specialist work. Following this, two introductory taster classes will take place to engage with the local Parkinson’s community.

In February 2013, participants are invited to a special insight day including a behind-the-scenes presentation and the chance to see English National Ballet perform The Sleeping Beauty at New Theatre Oxford. This opportunity provides a fantastic introduction to the twelve week term of weekly dance sessions which will run from March until May 2012.

Dance for Parkinson’s taster in Liverpool

Liverpool based dance agency Merseyside Dance Initiative are our second regional partner. The roll out as laid out above will not start until later in 2013.

To begin developing a presence and interest in Liverpool we will be running a stand alone taster workshop based on The Sleeping Beauty, on Monday 29 October, with a chance for the participants to attend the performance at the Empire on Thursday 1 November.

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