Kenneth MacMillan's Sleeping Beauty returns in new ENB season

Reporter: Robin Johnson, first published Wed 13 Sep 2017 14:00
Kenneth MacMillan's The Sleeping BeautyKenneth MacMillan's The Sleeping Beauty/servlet/file/store5/item404410/version1/fileservice770/404410_770_preview.jpg

English National Ballet has today announced its 2018 Spring/Summer Season, including the world premiere of a new William Forsythe work as part of a new mixed American accented bill, and Kenneth MacMillan's The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum.

Opening in April 2018, English National Ballet will present the world premiere of a new work by one of the most revered choreographers working today, William Forsythe. His first creation for a UK ballet company in over 20 years.

Forsythe’s new work will be presented as part of Voices of America (12 - 21 April 2018, Sadler's Wells), a new mixed bill dedicated to neo-classical ballet with an American accent, featuring works with audacious attitude from three generations of choreographers.

Alongside his new work, English National Ballet will also perform Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata 2016. Originally created in 1996, Forsythe recently reworked this piece for Paris Opera Ballet. A series of pas de deux that deconstruct the classical ballet vocabulary, Approximate Sonata 2016 is accompanied by a new version of the original score by Thom Willems.

Voices of America sees another work new to English National Ballet, Jerome Robbins’ The Cage. One of Robbins’ most shocking and intense ballets, The Cage looks at the rites and rituals of a species where the female considers the male to be prey, featuring 14 female and two male dancers. Originally created in 1951, The Cage is set to Stravinsky’s Concerto in D for String Orchestra, performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

Completing the mixed bill is a reworked version of Aszure Barton’s Fantastic Beings. Originally created as part of English National Ballet’s She Said programme in 2016, Fantastic Beings is a mysterious, magnetic work that sees 16 dancers take to the stage, accompanied by Mason Bates’ dynamic score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

English National Ballet Dancers in Fantastic Beings by Aszure Barton (Photo: Laurent Liotardo)

English National Ballet Dancers in Fantastic Beings by Aszure Barton (Photo: Laurent Liotardo)

Of Voices of America, Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, said: “For a while now I have wanted to dedicate a programme to the abstract, neoclassical style of ballet that is born out of America. I cannot wait for audiences to experience the power and emotion of these ballets next spring.”

English National Ballet then revives Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty (6 - 16 June 2018) at the London Coliseum. This classical dark fairy-tale ballet offers ravishing steps, stunning sets by Peter Farmer, elaborate costumes by Nicholas Georgiadas, and Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

The revival coincides with the recent anniversary of MacMillan’s death, and follows the Company’s performances of MacMillan’s masterpiece Song of the Earth in the autumn/winter.

Returning for its ninth consecutive year is English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer competition, which will be held at the London Coliseum for the first time on 11 June 2018. Recognising the excellence of the company’s artists, this annual celebration remains vital to developing and nurturing young talent within the Company. Over the years Emerging Dancer has grown significantly in popularity, with last year’s Facebook livestream receiving over 89,000 views worldwide.

Next spring, English National Ballet will present a brand-new version of the ever-popular My First Ballet: Swan Lake, which premieres at London’s Peacock Theatre (29 March - 7 April 2018) before touring to seven venues across the country. Created in partnership with English National Ballet School, the My First Ballet series reworks popular ballet titles to make them accessible to children as young as three. Since inception in 2012 over a quarter of a million people have seen a ballet from the series.

Tickets will be available to all the productions through the English National Ballet website.

Interested in more? Check out our brief history of ballet in London!