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The Royal Ballet to join forces with Hull dancers to perform Swan Lake across the city

The Company will celebrate Hull as UK City of Culture 2017 with a day of Swan Lake-inspired activities and a gala evening at the New Theatre in September 2017.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

28 February 2017 at 5.19pm | 17 Comments

The Royal Ballet will perform a programme of works as part of Hull's UK City of Culture celebrations on 16 September 2017.

The day will involve a number of of Swan Lake-inspired activities across the city and a gala evening opening the newly-refurbished New Theatre, bringing together artists from Hull with Royal Ballet Principals and Soloists.

Dancers will also take part in Take Flight, a community dance project inspired by flying. Choreographed by members of The Royal Ballet and five local dance groups, Take Flight will culminate in 100 performers and members of the community presenting a re-imagined version of the famous cygnet pas de quatre from Swan Lake throughout the city.

Joining The Royal Ballet on stage during the gala will be some of the exciting dance talent emerging in the city today including two of Hull’s own stars from the world of dance: Mariinsky Ballet Soloist Xander Parish and Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Joseph Caley.

Hull-born Kevin O'Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said: 'I am immensely proud of my roots in Hull, and what has been achieved so far in the city’s year as UK City of Culture. For me this opportunity to return to my home city, for the Company to take to the stage in the magnificent setting of Hull’s refurbished New Theatre and to create new links with the young talent of Hull is unique and special for all of us.'

Hull has been the cradle of development of an extraordinary number of ballet and dance stars. The Skelton Hooper School of Dance, led by Vanessa Hooper, who performed with The Royal Ballet, has discovered more talented ballet dancers than any other in the UK. Among these, 24 of its pupils have won places at the Royal Ballet School; Xander Parish is the first ever Briton to dance with Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet, and his sister, Demelza, is currently an First Artist with The Royal Ballet.

Tickets for The Royal Ballet: Opening the New go on sale at 10am on 21 July

Generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn Education Fund

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

28 February 2017 at 5.19pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Ballet, Hull, kevin o'hare, Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet, UK City of Culture 2017

This article has 17 comments

  1. malcolm butler responded on 28 February 2017 at 6:59pm Reply

    supply info for booking for royal ballet

    • Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media)) responded on 2 March 2017 at 3:21pm

      Thank you all for your comments. Tickets are not currently available but details will be announced in due course. I have amended the blog to reflect this information and will share a ticket link as soon as they become available.

      Many thanks,


    • David Robertson responded on 8 May 2017 at 5:46pm

      I agree regarding the phenomenal amount of talent to come from the Hull area, and indeed still producing very good dancers from other top notch schools, such as The Arts Garage at Saltend. This is a relatively new school, but it's like a conveyor belt turning out dancers year after year, to go on to graduate, and join dance companies.

  2. malcolm butler responded on 28 February 2017 at 7:00pm Reply

    booking details ?

  3. Kelly Shakesby responded on 28 February 2017 at 7:49pm Reply

    How do we book?

  4. Mimi Gordon responded on 1 March 2017 at 12:13pm Reply

    This sounds fantastic! Please give details of how + when we can book!! Thanks...

  5. Valerie Knight responded on 2 March 2017 at 3:37pm Reply

    Wouldn't it be great if the BBC could televise this Gala Concert?

  6. Absolutely wonderful. Delighted to see Kevin bringing it all back home, and delighted that the Royal Ballet and other 'Hull alumni' will be taking part in Hull's incredible year as UK City of culture.

    Skelton Hooper is where it all started for so many successful dancers. However, it doesn't just produce great dancers. Vanessa Hooper has that rare capacity to give caring attention to every child. So, every child benefits from the discipline, expression, creativity and pure fun of dance. A very special dance school.

  7. David Robertson responded on 8 May 2017 at 5:48pm Reply

    I just hope the people of Hull will get chance to see The RB perform in their CoC year.

  8. Pauline Venetia Ruddock responded on 1 July 2017 at 6:30am Reply

    Would like to see sander parish in swan lake
    Please send me details when l cab purchase

  9. Pauline Venetia Ruddock responded on 1 July 2017 at 6:31am Reply

    Wish we could see more ballet on television.

  10. Anette Bingham responded on 6 July 2017 at 9:27am Reply

    Came across this article by accident after reading a Times article on Xander Parish. Two pensioner ballet fans from Yorkshire would love to see the Gala performance at Hull. Hopefully ticket details will be released soon ( to our email addresses??? )

  11. Malcolm Burton responded on 10 July 2017 at 4:39pm Reply

    Glad to see detail of booking are published.Have followed Kevin O'Hare' s career all his life and am proud that he is supporting Hull. I knew his father Michael in the 60's & 70's and met Kevin when he was 9 or 10. His father was landlord of the Masters Bar, hope he's still around enjoying himsel.f

  12. Gerry Mis responded on 21 July 2017 at 11:34pm Reply

    Unfortunately the ordinary folk of Hull were not able to obtain tickets to the gala. Tickets sold out within 4 minutes and I don't know anyone who managed to get one, I have a granddaughter participating in the take flight performance and there has been no mention of the allocation of tickets for young performers.

  13. Kathryn Saul responded on 2 August 2017 at 5:55pm Reply

    Please, please, please can we see what is going to be a phenomenal performance by The Royal Ballet Company, their soloists and Xander, at Hull New Theatre, on our BIG SCREEN at Pontio in Bangor, North Wales?? We are devastated not to be able to get tickets (residents of Swanland for 16 years until we removed in Dec '14) and always watch our wonderful Royal Ballet Company (with Melzie) whenever possible. Please can you let us know if this performance will be broadcast on our UK BIG SCREENS - as it will be in Queens Gardens? All tickets sold there as well!

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 3 August 2017 at 3:08pm

      Hi Kathryn,

      I'm afraid there are no plans to stream the performance via BP Big Screens.

      Sorry to disappoint you!


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