Birmingham Royal Ballet’s INTERNATIONAL Tour to Japan May 2011 with Guests Miyako Yoshida & Tamara Rojo

ballet dancer in pink tutu lies on bed

Nao Sakuma as Princess Aurora and Chi Cao as Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty - photo Bill Cooper

BirminghamRoyal Ballet’S INTERNATIONAL Tour to Japan IN MAY 2011             


Fundraising performance on 17 May in Tokyo for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief


The company will perform Peter Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty and Frederick Ashton’s Daphnis and Chloë and The Dream      


At certain performances Miyako Yoshida will guest in The Dream and Tamara Rojo will guest in The Sleeping Beauty


Birmingham Royal Ballet can now confirm it will go ahead with its planned International tour to Japan in May 2011.  Two years in the planning, the second International tour during the current 2010/11 season will see the Midlands based company perform in four cities across the southern region of Japan.  From May 14 – 29 2011, the tour will include dates in Japan’s capital city of Tokyo, plus performances in Kamakura, Aichi and Hyogo.  The performance on Tuesday 17 May at Tokyo’s U-port Hall venue will be a Benefit Performance for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief.


David Bintley, Director, Birmingham Royal Ballet said:

On the afternoon of 11 March 2011, I was rehearsing the dancers of the National Ballet of Japan in my ballet Take Five, part of the Company’s latest programme, due to premiere the following Saturday. The devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred that day and the resulting tragic plight of the Japanese people echoed around the world.  Music, singing and dancing, which can so often bring joy and happiness to the spirit seemed inappropriate, and the New National along with most theatres in Tokyo closed its doors as the people of Japan began to count the cost of the tragedy visited upon them.


Two months later with Japan facing its future with a bravery and stoicism that has become the admiration of the world, I am proud to be bringing Birmingham Royal Ballet to Japan as part of the cultural and spiritual healing of this great nation.  We hope that our performances of Sir Peter Wright’s classic production of The Sleeping Beauty and Sir Frederick Ashton’s warm and wonderful masterpieces, The Dream and Daphnis and Chloe will bring joy and light to our Japanese audiences and provide them with some respite from their current difficulties.


Promoted by NBS Performing Arts Foundation based in Tokyo, the tour highlights three of the company’s much-admired works from its varied repertory.  The classical favourite in Peter Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty and a double bill consisting of Frederick Ashton’s ballets, Daphnis and Chloë and The Dream, will be performed in some of Japan’s finest theatres.  The company last toured to Japan in January 2008.


Dancing alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal César Morales, Miyako Yoshida will guest in the role of Titania in two performances of The Dream in Tokyo (27 & 29 May).  Born in Japan and trained in Tokyo, Yoshida won the Prix de Lausanne in 1983 and then joined the Royal Ballet School.  In 1984 she joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, the present Birmingham Royal Ballet, and was promoted to Principal in 1988 under the artistic directorship of Peter Wright.  In 1995 she joined the Royal Ballet as Principal and retired from the Royal Ballet in 2010.


Tamara Rojo will guest in two performances of The Sleeping Beauty in Tokyo (21 & 22 May) and will dance the role of Princess Aurora, partnered by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Iain Mackay.  Rojo, born in Spain, is a Principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London.


The Sleeping Beauty, considered by many to be one of the greatest classical ballets from Imperial Russia, with a cast of over 60 dancers and actors, tells the story of Princess Aurora; the wicked fairy Carabosse announces her curse that the Princess will one day prick her finger and die.  Luckily, the Lilac Fairy declares that although Aurora will indeed prick her finger she will not die, but instead she will fall into a deep sleep from which she will be awoken after a hundred years by the kiss of a handsome prince.  With Tchaikovsky’s score and original choreography by Marius Petipa, the thrilling production is by the company’s Director Laureate, Sir Peter Wright, creator of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s popular production of The Nutcracker.  Philip Prowse, the designer responsible for the Company’s Swan Lake, provides the designs for sumptuous baroque style sets and over 150 beautiful hand-sewn costumes and lighting is by Mark Jonathan.


Frederick Ashton’s Daphnis and Chloë is set on an island paradise in ancient Greece: lost in their love for each other, Daphnis and Chloë struggle against jealous rivals and pillaging pirates to be together, but ultimately only the power of the god Pan can reunite them.  Considered by many to be Maurice Ravel’s greatest orchestral score Daphnis and Chloë is one of the many great ballets from the outstanding legacy left by Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. 


The course of true love never did run smooth… certainly not in Frederick Ashton’s The Dream where a group of mischievous fairies are involved! Having argued with beautiful Titania, Oberon, king of the fairies, seeks a suitable revenge.  He orders Puck to transform a dopey local peasant into a donkey and cause Titania to fall in love with it.  This he does, but things soon get out of hand – the over-use of a love potion hilariously embroils four poor mortals in the fairies’ games.  Mendelssohn’s tuneful and instantly recognisable music becomes the basis for Ashton’s elfin comedy, as he shows his mastery of dance, theatre and humour.


Royal Ballet Sinfonia’s Principal Conductor Paul Murphy and conductor Philip Ellis will conduct the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra during the tour with the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra playing in Hyogo.  Students of Elmhurst School for Dance, an Associate School of Birmingham Royal Ballet, will join the company during the first two weeks of the tour for performances of The Sleeping Beauty.



BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET’S Japan Tour 2011: Performance schedule:


Sat 14 May      Kamakura       Kamakura Hall                                   The Sleeping Beauty

Tue 17 May    Tokyo              U-Port Hall                                         Daphnis and Chloë and The Dream

Thu 19 May    Aichi               Aichi Performing Arts Centre            The Sleeping Beauty

Sat 21 May      Tokyo             Bunkakaikan Hall                                The Sleeping Beauty

Sun 22 May     Tokyo              Bunkakaikan Hall                                The Sleeping Beauty

Wed 25 May   Hyogo             Hyogo Performing Arts Centre          Daphnis and Chloë and The Dream

Fri 27 May      Tokyo             Bunkakaikan Hall                                Daphnis and Chloë and The Dream

Sat 28 May      Tokyo              Bunkakaikan Hall                                Daphnis and Chloë and The Dream

 Sun 29 May     Tokyo             Bunkakaikan Hall                                Daphnis and Chloë and The Dream

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