English National Ballet announces 75th Season

English National Ballet announces 75th Season

English National Ballet is thrilled to announce plans for its 75th Season, running from September 2024 – June 2025. Featuring two world premieres, a Company premiere and the return of audience favourites, English National Ballet’s 75th Season celebrates tradition whilst forging innovation – an ethos that has shaped the Company’s rich history and will inspire its future.

Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Aaron S. Watkin, said“In this, English National Ballet’s 75th Season, we will be celebrating the myriad ways that ballet can excite, entertain, and inspire. Be it the renewal of a beloved classic with our new Nutcracker, cherished revivals, or a return to the ground-breaking works of Akram Khan and William Forsythe – this is a season that showcases the many wonderful things that ballet can offer.

I am thrilled that English National Ballet continues to attract world-class creative talent. I can’t wait to have Arielle Smith and William Forsythe back in our studios to create work and I know our dancers will be inspired by their presence.

Finally, its hugely important to me that we welcome as many people as possible to celebrate our 75th Season with us. I am therefore delighted that we will be presenting a free digital celebration that will enable us to connect with ballet fans and new audiences alike, all around the world.”

Having been seen by over 156,000 people in 10 countries and 16 cities around the world, Akram Khan’s Giselle opens English National Ballet’s 2024/2025 Season with a return to London (Sadler’s Wells) for the first time since 2019. In this acclaimed reimagining of the iconic ballet, Khan tells a story of love, betrayal, and redemption. The production features an imposing set designed by Academy Award-winner Tim Yip and a powerful score by Vincenzo Lamagna.

Offering audiences the opportunity to see two versions of one of the great Romantic ballets in the same season, Mary Skeaping’s Giselle, will also be performed, touring to the Liverpool Empire and Manchester’s Palace Theatre in the autumn, before returning to the London Coliseum in January 2025. With its beautiful classical language and thoughtful staging, this Giselle features some of ballet’s most dramatic scenes and otherworldly images.

Christmas 2024 will see the world premiere of a new production of the classic festive ballet, Nutcracker, choreographed by English National Ballet’s Artistic Director Aaron S. Watkin and Olivier Award-winning choreographer Arielle Smith. The production will take audiences on a fantastical adventure as they join Clara on her journey of discovery, from Edwardian London to the Land of Sweets & Delights. Nutcracker is bought to life by exquisite dancing, spectacular new costumes and sets by Dick Bird, lighting by Paul Pyant, and Tchaikovsky’s instantly recognisable score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

Continuing the Company’s commitment to UK touring and sharing world-class ballet with the widest possible audience, Nutcracker will receive its world premiere at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre before performances at the London Coliseum. For the first time, English National Ballet will present a relaxed performance of Nutcracker, at the London Coliseum on 9 January 2025. The creation of this new production has been made possible by Charles Holloway, Lead Supporter of Nutcracker.

In spring 2025, English National Ballet returns to Sadler’s Wells, London, with The Forsythe Programme, a triple bill showcasing highlights of master choreographer, William Forsythe’s, broad catalogue of work. Combining ballet classicism and athleticism with the music of Barry White, Natalie Cole and Khalid to name just a few, audience favourite, Playlist (EP) returns alongside New Suite, an arrangement of eight earlier pas de deux set to scores by Händel, Berio and Bach, presented by English National Ballet for the first time. Completing the programme is the world premiere of a new work created for the Company in which Forsythe takes inspiration from the 2nd movement of Prokofiev’s piano concerto number 3 in C major Opus 26: “Tema con Variazioni.”

For younger audiences, English National Ballet and English National Ballet School revive My First Ballet: Swan Lake at Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue, the Peacock Theatre, in April 2025. The perfect introduction to the artform, this is a specially adapted version of the world’s most iconic ballet. Featuring choreography by Antonio Castilla, English National Ballet’s Repetiteur, and with a narrator to guide the audience, the production is accessible to children aged three upwards. The run will also include a relaxed performance as part of the My First Inclusive Ballet outreach programme as well as a series of on-stage family workshops.

In summer 2025, English National Ballet continues its investment in Emerging Talent programmes with the launch of Choreo Labs – a supportive and inspiring environment for Company dancers to develop their skills and explore new choreographic ideas. Open to dancers across the Company, the series will culminate with an in-house sharing session. Choreo Labs is part of English National Ballet’s future commitment to create a wider Emerging Talent performance programme, which will bring together its existing Emerging Dancer event and Choreo Labs.

To mark English National Ballet’s 75th Season, a free, 10-day digital celebration will be presented in June 2025. Showcasing English National Ballet’s past, present and future, ENB@75 will feature performance excerpts filmed especially in the Company’s in-house Holloway Production Studio as well as interviews, archive footage and exclusive behind-the-scenes insight. Recognising the important role digital content plays in engaging and inspiring new audiences, English National Ballet offers this as a free to view event. This will be an inclusive opportunity for online audiences around the world to celebrate with the Company at this significant moment in its history. 

2024/2025 marks Music Director, Maria Seletskaja’s, first full season in post. Alongside Principal Guest Conductor, Gavin Sutherland, Seletskaja will conduct English National Ballet Philharmonic for performances of Akram Khan’s Giselle, Mary Skeaping’s Giselle and Nutcracker. Also conducting performances of Nutcracker are Daniel Parkinson and Kingsley Lin. 

With its extensive Engagement programme for 2024/2025, English National Ballet continues to be a leader in creative health and learning and participation practice. The Shared Ground Space Scheme and co-curated Ideas Incubation Labs provide valuable platforms for artist development and support. Alongside this, English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s, an evidence-based programme delivered nationally via six hub partners, and Dance for Dementia, offer creative health interventions that contribute to better health and well-being through artistry, creativity and community. Insights into the creative industries continue to be offered through ENB’s schools programme, Ballet Explored, and there will be celebrations of co-created dance from their youth companies and community performance groups through Re-Play, an annual sharing platform at English National Ballet’s studios. Following its launch in February 2024, the Company’s Ballet Club for children, young people and families resident in Newham, east London, also returns for the 2024/2025 season.

Ballet Futures, English National Ballet’s talent pipeline project to incentivise children from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds (African Diaspora, Caribbean, South Asian and South East Asian heritage) to participate in professional training, continues throughout 2024/2025. Now with over 30 students across five schools nationally, this year will see the inclusion of further performance opportunities for the programme’s participants.

English National Ballet’s plans for international touring will be announced in due course.

Visit ballet.org.uk for all the latest ENB news and updates.

English National Ballet dancers in Giselle © Laurent Liotardo