Media release: Monday 6 June 2011
BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET TRIUMPHS IN JAPAN DURING ITS RECENT INTERNATIONAL TOUR
FUNDRAISING GALA IN TOKYO RAISES IN EXCESS OF £10,000
As some art industry stars from across the world continue to cancel or postpone tours to Japan, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s international tour went ahead as planned and performances of Peter Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty and Frederick Ashton’s The Dream and Daphnis and Chloë triumphed in the cities of Tokyo, Kamakura, Nagoya and Hyogo between 14 and 29 May.
During Birmingham Royal Ballet’s overseas engagement the company performed to 18000 people over the tour’s ten performances, Norio Takahashi, Administrative Director of NBS Performing Arts Foundation, the promoters behind the recent tour, said:
This tour was the third Japan tour for Birmingham Royal Ballet and after a 3-year absence from the country I believe all the company members felt first-hand the great success of the tour. The tour meant so much to the Japanese people as Birmingham Royal Ballet became one of the first, large-scale touring companies to visit Japan following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11th.
After each performance, NBS received many comments from audience members who expressed their appreciation that BRB kept their promise and performed in Japan. The audiences were so impressed by the company’s decision to come to Japan and BRB’s performances lifted their spirits at this depressed time. I know the company faced some difficult decisions to realise this tour, so on behalf of the Japanese audience I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all at BRB for making the tour possible at such a difficult time.
Following the tour, David Warren, The British Ambassador to Japan said:
It was marvellous to see Birmingham Royal Ballet in Japan again, and their performances were really memorable. I am so pleased that the company went ahead with the tour, in spite of the tragic events of March. It’s absolutely crucial to get the message across that Japan is a safe destination. And it’s also important to show that the very best British performing artists will always be assured of a very warm welcome here, and that Japanese audiences are among the most appreciative and discerning in the world. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to be increasing our cultural contacts.
Christopher Barron, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Chief Executive said:
Following in-depth discussions with the company, the British Embassy and NBS, the tour was given the go ahead and 110 Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers and technicians as well as orchestra, physiotherapy and administrative staff toured to Japan. We were overwhelmed by the warm response given to BRB by the Japanese audience and promoters and we were delighted to have the opportunity to perform three of the company’s works to our supporters, particularly at this time. We hope this relationship with the Japanese audience continues, not only helping to promote UK dance and the City of Birmingham but more importantly to take great dance to Japan to entertain the people of this remarkable nation. At this difficult time for Japan, everyone at Birmingham Royal Ballet continues to offer the Japanese people their heartfelt support and well wishes.
The tour included an additional fundraising gala performance at Tokyo’s U-Port Hall on 17 May. The gala starred former BRB Principal Miyako Yoshida in The Dream and helped raise in excess of £10,000 for the Red Cross and its earthquake and tsunami relief fund. With the help of company dancers and Director David Bintley, funds were raised in the theatre foyer with pre-show, interval and post-show collections. A costume, once worn by Marion Tait, was auctioned online during the tour and raised £1400, dancers signed and sold autographed photographs and signed copies of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 20-year anniversary book were also sold. Students of Elmhurst School for Dance, an associate school of Birmingham Royal Ballet, joined BRB for the Japan tour. On stage, in front of a full capacity audience, the students presented Norio Takahashi with 1000 origami cranes at the end of the gala evening as sign of the company’s and school’s support for the Japanese people.