Now English National Ballet loses its second head - Eagling to leave | Dance reviews, news & interviews
Now English National Ballet loses its second head - Eagling to leave
Artistic director Wayne Eagling resigns only months after managing director's departure
Sudden and disconcerting news from English National Ballet where it's just been announced that artistic director Wayne Eagling is to step down this summer. The company gives no reason for this exceedingly short notice, which leaves them having to advertise the third most significant job in British ballet within the next few days, and a precipitate appointment procedure only weeks after the departure of their managing director.
Eagling, 61, a former star of the Royal Ballet, has been ENB director since 2005, and while heading a company of fairly stagnant and repetitive touring repertoire, has been given credit for hauling short enticing London seasons out of the hat each spring. The company is currently preparing a Beyond Ballets Russes 10-day season at the London Coliseum in late March, with ballets from the golden period of Diaghilev, such as Balanchine's Apollo and Nijinsky's L'Après-midi d'un faune, alongside adventurous new commissions on themes from that era, including an ambitious new design and staging of MacMillan's The Rite of Spring.
Next week he is masterminding a gala of Russian ballet in honour of Anna Pavlova at the London Coliseum, involving stars from the great Russian companies as well as the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet.
Last month English National Ballet lost its dynamic managing director, Craig Hassall, who quit to join the entertainment impresario Raymond Gubbay. With neither a chief executive nor an artistic director in firm view Britain's busiest touring ballet company faces a dodgy future, especially in the light of its over-reliance on populist and repetitive programming such as the current nationwide offering Strictly Gershwin (which is not strictly ballet) and The Nutcracker.
The next artistic director has the unenviable job of handling a cut of some 15 percent in the ENB subsidy over the next three years, with over £700,000 slashed this year and next as a result of the front-loading of the reduction. Former MD Craig Hassall revealed before he left that ENB lost £100,000 every week of touring the UK.
Tensions inside the company have been increasing fast in the past few years, with Eagling, Hassall and dancers all showing the strains of constantly selling a constricted repertoire. Eagling's indecisiveness in the last minutes before his Nutcracker was premiered at Christmas 2010 was captured in the BBC Four documentary Agony & Ecstasy - A Year With the English National Ballet.
Share this article
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Exile-themed circus show is rather too serious
Too much sugar in Ashton double bill
Spectacular dance fireworks make this hoariest and silliest of Russian classics worth seeing
Hypnotic exploration of Indian myth from a female perspective
A royal gem in the Linbury Studio Theatre
Christopher Hampson's fairytale fills the seasonal family ballet slot nicely
Highlights of the last calendar year
Likeable dancers deliver Christmas cheer despite the mice
Wacky and delightful dance theatre adaptation of classic fairytale
A vampiric twist on the Tchaikovsky ballet makes for an evening of mixed success
The ballet star takes his final bow in a self-curated gala that raises the roof
Faultless production works its magic afresh