Birmingham Royal Ballet announces BRB2’s 2024 UK tour from 10 May – 1 June
Launched in spring this year, BRB2 is the new initiative where BRB pro-actively seeks out some of the best young ballet graduates from around the world to join a two-year performance programme, providing vital employment for the next generation of exceptional ballet dancers (aged 18-22) to transition from training into jobs at BRB or other leading ballet companies, impacting the dance sector worldwide.
As the inaugural cohort has demonstrated, the programme acts as a magnet for the best UK and international talent, providing extensive training and professional experience, sending developed, professional dancers back into the dance sector and providing role models for the next generation.
The BRB2 dancers will not only train and perform with the whole Birmingham Royal Ballet company in major productions, but they are very much foregrounded in their own touring programme, supported by senior members of BRB’s ballet staff.
In most ballet companies new joiners and artists can spend years working their way up to dancing principal roles; this showcase puts the spotlight on the new talent in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s ranks in an exciting, crowd-pleasing and challenging way.
In this second year, the original cohort: Jack Easton, Frieda Kaden, Maïlène Katoch, Mason King and Oscar Kempsey Fagg are joined by seven new Artists selected by Carlos Acosta and Assistant Director Dominic Antonucci: Nasrullah Abdur-Rahman (USA / Boston Ballet School), Ariana Allen (UK / Royal Ballet School), Alisa Garkavenko (Ukraine / Princess Grace Academy), Thomas Hazelby (UK / Royal Ballet School), Rosa Lidia-Nuesi (Dominican Republic / Acosta Danza), Alexandra Manuel (USA / Royal Ballet School) and Alfie Shacklock (UK/Australia / Royal Ballet School).
The full Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy will perform live in Northampton and for the rest of the tour there will be specially recorded music with End of Time and Dying Swan performed live by Jeanette Wong (Head of Piano) and Antonio Novais (Principal Cellist).
Carlos Acostasaid: ‘Everyone was so delighted with how the inaugural year of BRB2 went. It’s hard to believe we’re in the starting blocks again with seven new Artists joining the company. The invaluable experience that the first cohort had is something that they can now share with the “next in line”, and they will also continue to grow and develop the second time around. I am so happy to be visiting some new venues this time as in Cheltenham, Poole and Canterbury where I hope audiences will be as enthusiastic as they were in Northampton and Peterborough, where we are excited to be returning. It’s not only an entertaining evening, it’s a great introduction to ballet for anyone in the “it’s not for me” camp. And for anyone who saw BRB2 last year I think everyone would agree that seeing such amazing young talent at the start of their careers in the spotlight, is a thrill and a privilege.’
BRB’s First Soloist, Kit Holder, will again lead BRB2 as Artistic Coordinator,Kit Holder said: ‘Last year’s inaugural BRB2 tour was a huge success and set the bar very high both technically and artistically. It’s been wonderful to support the development of these young dancers who are already becoming seasoned professionals and I’m really excited by the seven new dancers who will join us this season to begin their professional careers. I look forward to showcasing the talents of all of these young artists with audiences across the country in the spring.’
The programme for the 2024 UK tour is the same as 2023 and includes: Pas de Deux from: Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody – premiered at the Royal Ballet in 1980 by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Lesley Collier, Collier herself will be rehearsing the BRB2 duo who will perform this piece; August Bournonville’s most famous ballet La Sylphide; the love duet from Swan Lake – probably the most famous pas de deux in ballet; Carlos Acosta’s take on Fokine’s The Dying Swan which features two dancers instead of one (hence The Dying Swans plural) and is double the usual length; Marius Petipa’s Diana and Actaeon pas de deux; Ben Stevenson’s End of Time set to Rachmaninov’s gloriously melancholic “Sonata in G Minor” (3rd movement).
In the second half Gustavo Mollajoli’s A Buenos Aires celebrates the spirit of tango to music by Astor Piazzolla; the iconic Edith Piaf’s Je ne regrette rien choreographed by Ben Van Cauwenbergh, whose Jacques Brel-inspired humorous gala piece Les Bourgeois will also feature. Acosta’s choreography for the Carmen pas de deux promises to raise the temperature with Bizet’s heat-seeking score and Will Tuckett’s solo Nisi Dominus will reinstate some sense of calm to proceedings before Jorges Garcia’s Majisimo closes out the programme, performed to Massenet’s music from Le Cid.
Click here to book tickets and for full tour tickets.