The Royal Ballet has announced early plans for its 2021-2022 season. Detailed information will be announced on 1 June. Also, the Live Cinema season and digital programming will be announced later this summer, together with further details of the Linbury Theatre season.
The season includes five world premieres from The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera in the first full Royal Opera House Season for 18 months.
In The Royal Ballet's 90th anniversary year, there will be the world premieres of three ballets: Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor's The Dante Project, Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon's Like Water for Chocolate and a new work by American choreographer Kyle Abraham.
McGregor's much anticipated The Dante Project will be given its world premiere in October 2021. The Royal Ballet's first-ever co-production with Paris Opera Ballet takes its inspiration from Dante's Divine Comedy and is presented as part of the 700th-anniversary celebrations of the poet's death in 1321.
Dante's epic journey through the afterlife is realised in this collaboration between McGregor, composer Thomas Adès, and artist Tacita Dean, celebrated for her poetic film and media work. The creative team is completed by McGregor's regular collaborators: lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed. Part 1 of the work is based on Inferno, which received its premiere in Los Angeles in 2019 as part of The Royal Ballet's international tour with Adès conducting the LA Philharmonic in his virtuoso new score. Edward Watson performs the role of Dante.
The Royal Ballet also presents the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's new full-length ballet Like Water for Chocolate, based on the Mexican novel of the same name by Laura Esquivel. This co-commission between The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre reunites Wheeldon with composer Joby Talbot, costume and set designer Bob Crowley and lighting designer Natasha Katz. Joining the renowned creative team is Luke Halls as projection designer. Esquivel worked with Wheeldon to shape the text of her novel into a scenario for the ballet. The cast will be led by Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé.
The season will see more new work on the Main Stage in a contemporary mixed programme (to be announced) that includes the world premiere of a work by Kyle Abraham.
The Linbury Theatre continues to be a driving force for collaboration and creativity, featuring independent companies and schools and developing new work. The Royal Ballet presents Company Wayne McGregor in The Dark Crystal: Odyssey, a work for family audiences choreographed and directed by Wayne McGregor. The coming-of-age story is based on Jim Henson's 1982 film, and the production will feature puppets and props from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
The Royal Ballet will also welcome Cassa Pancho's Ballet Black back to the Royal Opera House with a mixed programme by choreographers Mthuthuzeli November and Will Tuckett. Yorke Dance Project also return with a programme of works that juxtaposes past and present, celebrating choreographers who have indelibly shaped dance today. Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival, an exciting new partnership with Van Cleef & Arpels, will present a selection of established works alongside new pieces of choreography.
The Linbury Theatre will again be host to creative opportunities for choreographers in the form of Draft Works and a new appointment to the Emerging Choreographer Programme. This continues The Royal Ballet's commitment to developing a diverse talent pipeline in dance alongside the Constant Lambert Fellowship and Jette Parker Young Artists Programme ballet conductor initiatives.
Kevin O'Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said:
The Royal Ballet is bouncing back after the most challenging year in our history, and I am thrilled to be sharing some of the exciting new work planned for our 2021/22 Season. Wayne McGregor's inspired The Dante Project receives its long-awaited world premiere alongside Christopher Wheeldon's magical, epic romance Like Water for Chocolate. It's fantastic that Kyle Abraham will also create a new work for us this Season. Our dedicated audiences have missed the thrill, passion and exhilaration of live ballet, as much as we have and we can't wait to be back on stage for our first full Season in 18 months.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.