In this fourth of the Ballet Appreciation Lecture Series, speaker Margaret Lau will take a look at five world renowned ballet dance companies - from the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Germany and the United States. By reviewing their repertories and original creations, we can find out how they have carved a niche in the world of dance by establishing a strong identity, developing a hallmark style and conglomerating a galactic cast.
12, 19 July
Birmingham Royal Ballet (Parts I and II)
The Royal Ballet and the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet of the U.K. were two sister companies, their predecessors being first founded by Ninette de Valois (1898 – 2001) between the 1930’s and 1940’s. The Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet was for some years the touring company of the Royal Ballet, and toured the U.K. and overseas. In 1990, it was invited to relocate to Birmingham by the Birmingham Hippodrome theatre and the City of Birmingham as part of their efforts to strengthen culture and the arts in the Midlands, and to enlarge audience focus on ballet from London the capital to the heart of the Midlands. The company changed to its current name ‘Birmingham Royal Ballet’ following the relocation.
Video clips from the company’s repertory*: Cinderella, Coppelia, The Nutcracker (after Peter Wright), Two Pigeons, La fille mal gardée, Beauty and the Beast, the jazz ballet Nutcracker Sweeties, Take Five , Carmina Burana, Hobson’s Choice, Slaughter on Tenth Street, Checkmate etc..
2, 9 August
Mariinsky Ballet (Parts I and II)
The Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg (also known by its former name, ‘Kirov Ballet’, when the company is on overseas touring.) currently boasts a cast of 180 dancers. In its recent effort to expand and update its repertory, the company not only revives ballet classics that have become its hallmarks and stage new versions of classical ballet, but also restages the one-act modern ballet masterpieces by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Roland Petit et al.
Video clips from the company’s repertory* : The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, La Bayadère, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Little Humpbacked Horse, Arabian Nights, The Firebird, Les Sylphides, The Dying Swan, Les Noces, Jewels etc..
16, 23 August
National Ballet of China (Parts I and II)
The National Ballet of China, known in China as the ‘Central Ballet’, was founded in 1959. It has built a repertory that includes Classical Ballet, ballet with Chinese characteristics and new works by its resident choreographers. Since 2000, the company has been inviting famous choreographers of the world to lead the company in new productions as well as revivals of ballet classics, and introduced famous works by contemporary ballet choreographers into its repertory. By augmenting its repertory and continuing with its overseas touring and exchange, the National Ballet of China is now recognized as one of the leading companies on the international ballet scene, and has performed on the stage of many world famous venues.
Video clips from the company’s repertory* : Swan Lake – after Makarova, Giselle, The Nutcracker – Chinese version, Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, The Red Detachment of Women, Sons and Daughters of the Grassland, Lin Daiyu, The Mermaid, The Yellow River, Raise the Red Lantern, The Peony Pavilion, Serenade, Carmen, Pink Floyd, Concerto etc..
30 August, 6 September
Stuttgart Ballet (Parts I and II)
Stuttgart Ballet rose to fame with its staging of the many full-length narrative ballets by John Cranko (1927-1973) in the 1960’s, a feat that was considered a miracle in the dance world. It has a diverse and eclectic repertory, which includes new and original works by contemporary choreographers or budding talents. Some outstanding choreographers have come from the company itself, such as Christian Spuck, Marco Goecke and Douglas Lee.
Video clips from the company’s repertory* :The Sleeping Beauty (after Marcia Haydee), La Sylphide, Giselle and the Wilis, Romeo and Juliet (after John Cranko) , The Taming of the Shrew, Onegin, The Lady of the Camellias, , Beethoven - Symphony No. 7, Gaîté Parisienne, Ballet 101: Basic Ballet Positions, Affi, Sandman etc..
13, 20 September
New York City Ballet (Parts I and II)
New York City Ballet was founded by George Balanchine (1904-1983) and Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996) in 1948. Its stock repertory is made up of works by its founding choreographers, Balanchine and Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), which are considered exemplary of American ballet. Such a trait has also contributed to the company’s success in the international dance arena.
Video clips from the company’s repertory*: The Nutcracker (after Balanchine), The Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Serenade, Western Symphony, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Prodigal Son, Who Cares?, Theme and Variations, The Four Temperaments, , West Side Story, The Concert, etc.