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David Bintley has spoken a number of times about the work that continues on a ballet once it has been danced in front of an audience.

Despite its age, Far from the Madding Crowd, which Birmingham Royal Ballet dance at Birmingham Hippodrome this week, is no exception.

“I hope this revival will be a good one because Far from the Madding Crowd has had a little bit of a chequered history”, explains David. “There were things that were wrong with it in the initial presentation. We then made some changes to it during those early years, and while we fixed a lot, there were still some small elements that I was unhappy with. It’s now been ten years since we last did it, and all the time it’s been sat there I’ve still wanted to return to it again.

“It’s a piece that I’m extremely fond of. Not just because it’s the last piece that I did with Paul, but because I just really like it. I like the characters and the music is great, and I’d love to see it all really come together.

“I hope that there’s enough anticipation from audiences, especially those who saw it last time, and that there’s a good feel about the piece. I hope that in the future there will be enough public interest to earn it a wider airing. But more so, I want to get it right, and I’m hoping, this time, that I can say that the piece is finally finished!”

Birmingham Royal Ballet performs Far from the Madding Crowd at Birmingham Hippodrome, 20-23 June 2012.

Click here for booking details.

Here you can see a video of Elisha Willis and Iain Mackay in rehearsals for Far from the Madding Crowd.


Last week we snuck into rehearsals for David Bintley’s new ballet, Faster, which is currently being created ahead of its premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome, 27-30 June. Joining us were Linda and Emilia from The Ballet Bag, who took these two preview photos:

Coming over to say hello, David explained at the start that the rehearsal was going to involve ‘an awful lot of maths’, the taxing choreography requiring the dancers to count their steps carefully.

An earlier rehearsal, in which the male dancers were running around the studio to make intricate, ever changing shapes, had seen them each armed with post-it notes listing the complicated counts as a backup while they committed the intricate choreography to memory. In that instance, the choreography had been so fast-paced that a wrong step would mean a sharp bump into a fellow runner.

This time around the dancers were forming the sharp shape of an arrow-head, with the dancers’ numbers swelling and diminishing as they ran and jumped on the spot. Notably, almost the entire Company were present, with just Matthew Lawrence and Natasha Oughtred next door in studio two, practicing a pas de deux from Far from the Madding Crowd.

Led by Carol-Anne Millar, the dancers were dressed in trainers. At this early stage, there were obvious comparisons with Twyla Tharp’s equally-sneakered In the Upper Room, which saw Carol-Anne shine when the Company last danced the piece in autumn 2010.

Company shoe master Michael Clifford later confirmed the footwear, showing us neon yellow and orange trainers that were to be laced in red and blue respectively. One individual dancer, however, will be wearing trainers painted gold…

Click here to book for performances of Faster in Birmingham in summer 2012.

Click here to book for performances of Faster on tour during autumn 2012.

Birmingham Royal Ballet dancing Cinderella

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director David Bintley has won the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreography. The award was for Cinderella, which premiered in November 2010 before touring the UK throughout the following year.

The production has also enjoyed repeat broadcasts on the BBC both domestically and abroad.

The National Dance Awards are decided by the 60 members of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle after an extensive round of nominations and voting. To be eligible this year, performances had to be given in the UK between 1 September 2010 and 31 August 2011.

In 2000, David took home the Outstanding Contribution to Dance Award, while in 2001 Birmingham Royal Ballet won the prize for Outstanding Repertory.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Awards committee, Graham Watts OBE, said: ‘These awards emphasise the UK’s thriving dance culture and it is wonderful to see so many superb artists and companies nominated by the dance critics for 2011.’

The current Birmingham Hippodrome season features a host of David’s other work, including the full-length narrative ballets Hobson’s Choice (22-25 February 2012) and Far From the Madding Crowd (20-23 June 2012). He is also creating a brand-new one-act work to be performed as part of our Summer Celebration programme.

In addition, David’s one-act jazz tribute to Dave Brubeck, Take Five, will be performed as part of this year’s International Dance Festival Birmingham.

Cinderella is David’s most recent creation. His previous work, the one-act ballet E=mc², won the award for dance at the very last South Bank Awards in 2010.

David Bintley creating Cinderella in the Company's Birmingham studios

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