Saturday, 26 November 2016

A Birmingham Bayadere

It goes against the grain for a Mancunian to say anything nice about Birmingham but I gladly make an exception for the Birmingham Royal Ballet. It is a great national institution that deserves generous support from every part of the UK including the North of England (in which regard it helps that that company's artistic director hails from Honley (see My Home and Bintley's 12 May 2015)).

This year Birmingham Royal Ballet is appealing for funds in The Big Give for a new production of La Bayadere. A Birmingham Bayadere!  How could I possibly resist that?  How could anyone? Less than two weeks ago I flew to Amsterdam to see the Dutch National Ballet's brilliant production (see Dutch National Ballet's La Bayadere 14 Nov 2016) and a few weeks before that I endured 3 days of relentless pain to learn some of the choreography (see La Bayadere Intensive Day 3: No Snakes 17 Aug 2016).

BRB needs £450,000 to stage the ballet (see Budget Project Costs on the Big Give website) and the Big Give Christmas Challenge is an excellent opportunity to raise some of those funds because every penny that is contributed by members of the public between 29 Nov and 2 Dec is matched by a similar amount from the Big Give's philanthropists.  The company seeks to raise £45,000 in this week's Big Give campaign.

Now there are a lot of other charities appealing for funds in this year's Christmas Challenge including Balletboyz, who like English National Ballet, are appealing for support for its classes for people suffering from Parkinson's Disease (see Parkinson's CAN dance and ENB's Big Give to Dance for Parkinson's 25 Nov 2016) and Ballet Cymru, which is appealing for funds for a new roof and solar panels for its premises. They are all worth supporting and I hope the public will support those appeals just as generously as it would have done anyway.

However, La Bayadere is very special,  As the company says in its "Need" statement
"In world ballet, the presentation of a handful of the most popular classical works has become the norm, with two hazardous effects. Dancers, creatives and audiences alike can stagnate, losing interest in the art form they care about leading to dwindling attendances and an unsustainable Company."
Investing in La Bayadere is part of the solution. It will further expand Birmingham Royal Ballet's repertory and further its reputation for maintaining the heritage of the ballet tradition. The plan is to launch the ballet at The Hippodrome next Autumn and then take it on tour to the Lowry, London, Sunderland and Plymouth. We shall benefit from this appeal and not just the company:
"All ballet enthusiasts will benefit from a classical ballet being restored to its original glory.
The maintenance of the classical ballet canon will also ensure new audiences are encouraged into the auditoriums and classrooms, keeping ballet truly alive."
Will the company invite Natalia Makarova to stage the version that she created for Amercian Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet or will Bintley do his own?  Will the great Celine Gittens dance Nikiya and Tyrone Singleton  be her Solor?  And who will be Gamzatti, the Brahmin and the Golden Idol? I will make discreet enquiries and let you know what I find out.


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