Birmingham Royal Ballet was formed when the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (as it was known then) was invited by Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Hippodrome to set up a permanent base at the theatre.
20 years later, Birmingham Royal Ballet has decided to show off it’s diverse and rich repertoire, where they average 130 performances a year in Birmingham and around Britain. The company celebrated it’s anniversary in March this year with a Royal Gala, and this coffee table book filled to brimming with Bill Cooper’s stories-in-a-picture, demonstrates just how busy the company have been over the last two decades.
Talented dancers have always flourished at Birmingham Royal Ballet, including two dancer who later became company Artistic Director’s – Sir Peter Wright (joined the company in 1949 and became director in 1970) and David Bintley (joined in 1976 and became Director in 1996).
The book is divided into sections, each introduced briefly by David Bintley – The Nineteenth Century (covering the classics & some beautiful Nutcracker production images including Anniek Soobroy in the “Waltz of the Flowers”); Ballet Russes (lovely image of Molly Smolen as the Chosen Maiden & Joseph Cipolla as the Miller from Le Tricorne); Heritage Ballets (Alexander Campbell as Puck froom The Dream & Joseph Cipolla again as Tybalt from Romeo & Juliet); International Influences (Monica Zamora from Serenade); Created in Birmingham (Ambra Vallo in Autumn; Elisha Willis and Titi Helimets in Summer; my favourite Powder, with the sublime Carol-Anne Millar & Joseph Caley, Natasha Oughtred as the Bride from Le Baiser de la fée); By the Company for the Company (Molly Smolen in Saturn); and the final section – David Bintley (Leticia Müller as Queen Isabella from Edward 11 & Elisha Willis & Iain Mackay in the same production, Delia Mathews & Tom Rogers from Galanteries & Leticia Müller as Morgan Le Fay in Arthur Part 2, Nao Sakuma as Sylvia & Chi Cao as Amynta from Sylvia; Gaylene Cummerfield, Matthew Lawrence & Steven Monteith in Mass from E=mc2).