sat 22/06/2024

The Royal Ballet, 2013-14 Season | reviews, news & interviews

The Royal Ballet, 2013-14 Season

The Royal Ballet, 2013-14 Season

A new Winter's Tale, a new Hansel and Gretel, and Carlos Acosta's production of Don Quixote

A year of Shakespeare, tragedy, Englishness: Edward Watson and Lauren Cuthbertson in Romeo and Juliet© Dee Conway/ROH

The Royal Ballet's 2013-14 season will open with Carlos Acosta's much-anticipated production of the virtuoso comic 19th-century ballet Don Quixote, the first of a traditional classical-looking year with modest openings for new work.

Prime among those will be a cheeringly ambitious full-length story-ballet by Christopher Wheeldon based on Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, a plot whose themes of jealousy in marriage and the abandonment of a child promise to push the generally abstract choreographer into a new dimension.

cojocaru sweet violetsThe company's talented young junior Liam Scarlett also develops his skills at narrative - following his Jack the Ripper melodrama Sweet Violets (pictured left, by Bill Cooper), which gets a second run next May - by creating a ballet version of the dark fairytale Hansel and Gretel in January in the Linbury Studio Theatre.

Three one-act creations by longtime Holland-based David Dawson and the Royal Ballet's Wayne McGregor and Alastair Marriott are  scheduled. In a year that focuses strongly on home talent, there are also return viewings for McGregor's Chroma and Wheeldon's Danse à Grande Vitesse

Favourites such as Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Balanchine's glamorous abstract masterpiece Jewels form a spine of full-evening classics on the main stage, and other one-act ballets are known favourites such as Ashton's The Dream and Rhapsody, MacMillan's Gloria and Rite of Spring, Balanchine's Serenade and Robbins' The Concert.

Offering a more textured contemporary life in the Linbury Studio Theatre will be a less predictable parade. Visiting companies, such as Ballet Black, Phoenix Dance Theatre, National Dance Wales and the New York City Ballet star Wendy Whelan, show choreography by well-known names Angelin Preljocaj and Stephen Petronio along with current British contemporary dancemakers.

The season continues the year-on-year decrease in programmes and increasing reliance in box-office safety. Last season (2011-12) had 14 bills, and the current has 12 (of which six full-length, six mixed) - 2013-14 has 11, consisting of seven full-evening ballets and four mixed bills.

Cinema relays include Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty and The Winter’s Tale, supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The Royal Ballet will tour to Moscow in July 2014.


Main stage


Acosta in Cuba30 Sep-6 Nov (14 performances): Don Quixote NEW PRODUCTION, produced by Carlos Acosta after Petipa - gala performance 30 September, and live cinema relay 16 October. (Pictured, Acosta with Danza Contemporanea de Cuba)

19 Oct-7 Dec (14 pfs): Romeo and Juliet, music by Prokofiev, choreographed by MacMillan.

9-23 Nov (6 pfs): Chroma (McGregor/Talbot), David Dawson NEW WORK (music Greg Haines), The Rite of Spring (MacMillan/Stravinsky) - between works by the Royal Ballet's Wayne McGregor and Kenneth MacMillan, Dawson, Royal Ballet School-trained, a leading Dutch National Ballet choreographer, shows his latest work.

4 Dec-16 Jan (24 pfs): The Nutcracker, music by Tchaikovsky, produced by Peter Wright after Lev Ivanov - live cinema relay 12 Dec

17 Dec-7 Jan (6 pfs): Jewels, music Fauré/ Stravinsky/ Tchaikovsky, choreographed by Balanchin

18 Jan-10 Feb (13 pfs): Giselle, music Adam, choreographed Petipa after Coralli/Perrot - betrayal, ghosts of dead girls, and redeeming love. Live cinema relay 27 Jan

7-15 Feb (6 pfs): Rhapsody (Ashton/Rachmaninov), Wayne McGregor NEW WORK (Bach), Gloria (MacMillan/Poulenc)

22 Feb-9 Apr (18 pfs): The Sleeping Beauty, music Tchaikovsky, choreography Petipa. An enchanted world of princesses, fairy godmothers and magic spells. Live cinema relay on 19 March

10-29 Apr (11 pfs): The Winter’s Tale NEW WORK, music Joby Talbot, choreography Christopher Wheeldon -  based on Shakespeare’s play about love, loss and reconciliation. Live cinema relay on 28 April

14-26 May (7 pfs): Serenade (Balanchine/Tchaikovsky), Sweet Violets (Scarlett/Rachmaninov), Danse à Grande Vitesse (Wheeldon/Nyman) - an evening reverie, a dark Victorian melodrama, a celebration of high-tech modernity.

31 May-13 Jun (6 pfs): The Dream (Ashton/Mendelssohn), Alastair Marriott NEW WORK (music TBC), The Concert (Robbins/Chopin) - a world premiere and two comic masterpieces

Linbury Studio Theatre


30 Oct-1 Nov: National Dance Company of Wales - New Stephen Petronio (music Atticus Ross), Noces (Angelin Preljocaj/Stravinsky), Virtual Descent (Eleesha Drennan/Mark Bowden) - NDCW makes its Linbury debut for its 30th anniversary

12-13 Nov: MacBeth. Cardiff's De Oscuro (Eddie Ladd and Judith Roberts) show a reinvention of Shakespeare's tragedy.

15-16 Nov: Pictures We Make - premieres from Company Chameleon and from Gemma Nixon and Jonathan Goddard.

19-23 Nov: Phoenix Dance Theatre from Leeds brings a programme of works by Sharon Watson, Douglas Thorpe, Jose Agudo and Richard Alston

9-11 Jan, 30-31 Jan: London International Mime Festival

rackham gretel and witch 1909January: Hansel and Gretel. Artist-in-Residence Liam Scarlett’s first full-length work for The Royal Ballet – a dark, adult take on a classic fairytale. (Pictured left, Arthur Rackham's 1909 illustration of Gretel and the Witch)

26 Feb-4 Mar: Ballet Black. Cassa Pancho’s company of black and Asian classically trained dancers return with a new programme.

8 Mar: Young British Dancer of the Year Final 2014

16-24 Apr: Headspace Dance. Dancers, creators and producers Christopher Akrill and Charlotte Broom bring a programme of new work by contemporary choreographers

May: Spectrum. Choreographer Ben Wright and his company bgroup present a new work.

29-30 Apr: Mayuri Boonham. Royal Ballet Choreographic Affiliate Mayuri Boonham shows  a newly commissioned piece in which South Asian dance engages with classical ballet.

wendy whelan david michalek15 May: Alexander Whitley. Another Royal Ballet Choreographic Affiliate shows his latest work.

June: Draft Works. Royal Ballet and guest dancers perform work in development.

12 July: The Royal Ballet School Matinee (Linbury Studio Theatre and Main Stage)

June/July: Springboard. Danceworks from young professionals at Verve, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, and Ballet Central.

July: Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature. The New York City Ballet star collaborates with choreographers Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo to create a suite of duets. (Whelan pictured by David Michalek)


It is wonderful that more new works are being created and new blood continues to be brought in! This is the only way this art form can evolve, and it is also an important part of artistic development of professional dancers. It would be good, if The Arts Desk would verify their facts before publishing. David Dawson has not been based here in Holland since 2006. As far as I know, he has moved to Germany and lives in Berlin. Over the years we have been watching the revelation of David Dawson's great talent through the amazing works he has created for the Het Nationale Ballet here in Amsterdam. I was lucky for the opportunities to see more of his beautiful works performed by other companies in Europe and overseas. Being a devoted fan of ballet for most of my life, I have never stopped wondering, why such big and rare talent is not really known in his home town, in his own country. I saw English National Ballet performing his 'A Million Kisses to My Skin' some years ago, and visited the world premiere of his stunning 'Faun(e)' at the Coliseum. I looked forward for more, but with the departure of Wayne Eagling, it seems that the dancers of the English National Ballet have lost an opportunity to work David Dawson. I am very happy to see his name in the announced new season of the Royal Ballet. Kudos to Kevin O'Hare for bringing David Dawson back home! I read Mr O'Hare's exclusive interview in Dancing Times online yesterday, and it has proved to me that his vision for the Royal Ballet is what will bring the company to the 21st century. If Mr Dawson will read this page: we can't wait to welcome you again here in Amsterdam for the world premiere of your new creation in June and looking forward to your new work being presented with the Royal Ballet! Thank for sharing your beauty with us and for taking the classical traditions into the 21st century and making ballet modern and relevant art form of today.

Think this a very good mix of programmes and wish Mr Wheeldon much luck in "translating" "Winter's Tale" but wish there was more Ashton;really fear his works are in danger of disappearing from ROH stage.

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