English National Ballet announces 2014 season
This morning, amid the plush surroundings of the Penthouse Suite at The Dorchester Hotel in London, English National Ballet’s Artistic Director Tamara Rojo laid out her plans for 2014, which are a continuation of her clear vision for the company.
Akram Khan was on hand today because, despite his busy schedule (he opens at Sadlers Wells tomorrow night), he has, for the first time, agreed to work with a classical ballet company and will produce a new work as part of Lest We Forget; a programme inspired by the centenary of the Great War. 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 this new work for them in 2014. I have also invited my collaborative team to create this new work with me, Kimie Nakamo (costumes) Fabiana Piccioli (lighting) 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!”
Alongside Khan, Rojo has invited The Royal Ballet’s dancer turned choreographer Liam Scarlett, who will make a Requiem, and Russell Maliphant. 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 working alongside her once again.” ENB’s Associate Artist George Williamson will rework his Firebird as part of this programme, which will be performed for the first time at The Barbican. This theatre already has a programme relating to the Great War, making it the perfect fit for Rojo’s company. Rojo was keen to emphasise that new theatres could be added to the touring range but most important for her, that would only happen if they matched her artistic vision for that particular production.
The Royal Ballet’s Guest Principal Carlos Acosta will partner Rojo in Derek Deane’s in the round production of Romeo & Juliet in June 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall. The season opens with a new production of Le Corsaire, which is a co-production with Queensland Ballet. Rojo announced that the two companies hope to become “sister” organisations and to forge close collaborations in future. Rojo was the original Juliet in this production, and 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 who I partnered so often in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet.”
The Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum and on tour in November/December/January and is followed by Lest We Forget at The Barbican in April. My First Ballet : Coppélia will be performed at the Peacock Theatre in London and on tour in May, with the return of Choreographics (dates tbc). This time, Rojo has extended invitations to dancers outside the company and will provide a supportive platform for them to experiment.
The Emerging Dancer competition returns as a chance for in-house dancers to perform in front of a panel of judges. The season ends with Roland Hynd’s Coppélia, which will be performed at the London Coliseum in July.