The English National Ballet has announced its plans for the 2022-2023 season, a season that will involve a change of leadership as Tamara Rojo, the company's Artistic Director, leaves for San Francisco Ballet at the end of this year and a new director, currently being sought, takes over.
Tamara Rojo, said:
This is a season that truly celebrates the great tradition of classical ballet alongside the innovation and creativity of contemporary repertoire. English National Ballet is committed to bringing world class ballet to the widest possible audience and so I am particularly delighted to return to UK touring – we can't wait to perform for audiences at our partner venues around the country.
Side note: why are these statements almost universally bland (not just from ENB).
Rojo's version of Raymonda, which received its world premiere at the London Coliseum in January 2022, will be performed at the Bristol Hippodrome (23 – 26 November 2022) and Southampton's Mayflower Theatre (30 November – 03 December 2022).
Updating the ballet's setting to the Crimean war, Raymonda is recast as a young woman with a calling to become a nurse. Alexander Glazunov's score has been adapted and edited by Gavin Sutherland and Lars Payne.
Also touring this autumn is ENB's Swan Lake by Derek Deane, which will be performed at the Liverpool Empire (28 September – 01 October 2022) and Manchester's Palace Theatre (05 – 08 October 2022) followed by the London Coliseum (12 – 22 January 2023).
November 2022 sees English National Ballet back at Sadler's Wells in London for a triple bill of contemporary work. Mats Ek will choreograph a new work for ENB, his first creation for the company. The piece, for 22 dancers, will feature costume and set designs by Marie-Louise Ekman, lighting by Linus Fellbom and music played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
It is a huge honour and a privilege to have Mats Ek create a new work on the Company. He is a master choreographer with a long history of impactful and imaginative works, and I can't wait to see him create closely with our dancers.
The new work will be performed alongside Take Five Blues by ENB's Associate Choreographer, Stina Quagebeur, which was originally created for the company's 2020 Digital Season and first performed on stage when theatres reopened in spring 2021. Also on the programme is William Forsythe's Blake Works I, a soulful piece for 21 dancers set to seven songs from James Blake's album The Colour in Anything, first performed by English National Ballet in spring 2022.
Akram Khan's Creature, which has been seen in Chicago since its London premiere, returns to Sadler's Wells in spring 2023. Creature was inspired by Georg Büchner's expressionist classic Woyzeck, with shadows of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, drawing on themes of abandonment, isolation and the fragility of the mind – the tale of an outsider and the search for belonging.
The Emerging Dancer competition will be presented in spring 2023. This annual celebration sees six selected finalists from the company ranks and mentored by their peers to perform in front of a panel of judges. The winner of Emerging Dancer is announced alongside the People's Choice Award and the Corps de Ballet Award, introduced to recognise the demanding work and dedication of an exceptional member of the corps.
English National Ballet will also tour Akram Khan's Giselle to the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris (12 – 15 October 2022) as part of TranscenDanses, and Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Austria (24 & 25 February 2023).
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.