30 December 2013 at 11.21am | 7 Comments
It's been quite a year for The Royal Ballet – here are just a few of my highlights:
Six new creations were staged, two carrying on The Royal Ballet tradition of narrative works: Wayne McGregor's evocative and poetic Raven Girl and Liam Scarlett's dark and compelling Hansel and Gretel. Christopher Wheeldon took us to a beautiful other world in Aeternum and Alexei Ratmansky worked with the company in the more abstract but romantic 24 Preludes. We celebrated Britten's centenary with Kim Brandstrup's intimate and intriguing Ceremony of Innocence at the Aldeburgh Festival and in November we welcomed British-born David Dawson, who created the atmospheric The Human Seasons. In addition we added an exhilarating new full-length work to the repertory with Carlos Acosta's exuberant Don Quixote, already an audience favourite.
Heritage works also played a major part as we celebrated Frederick Ashton in February – it was particularly wonderful to see Monotones after so long – and in March Kenneth MacMillan's masterly Mayerling was given powerhouse performances by no fewer than five terrific casts.
We enjoyed the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House playing newly commissioned scores by Gabriel Yarad and Greg Haines, and storming through the centenary celebratory performances of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring under Barry Wordsworth's baton.
Awards and international audiences
A clutch of awards were won celebrating the success of productions, choreography and dancers, and the Company got seriously mobile with performances in Rio de Janeiro, Snape, Derry, Monte Carlo and Tokyo. The Company's performances of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Don Quixote and The Nutcracker were seen in 300 cinemas in the UK and over 1,000 cinemas in 29 countries worldwide.
Chance to Dance
It was a delight to see the youngsters of Chance to Dance tackling the complexities of Kenneth MacMillan's The Rite of Spring with gusto and great aplomb, as well as the professionalism and charm of The Royal Ballet School White Lodgers in helping to bring Peter Wright's Nutcracker to life. The future certainly looks bright.
Joiners and leavers
Our world-class roster of Principals led the Company in sparkling style and although we said goodbye to some of our well-known and familiar dancers we also welcomed some new ones who will surely be part of the Royal Ballet family for years to come.
Finally, great performances are the pinnacle of the combined efforts of a great many people. Not just through the extraordinary artistry and dedication of the dancers on stage but also through the efforts of the entire artistic and administrative staff and the behind-the-scenes technicians in every department of the Opera House. That, for me, is an unseen highlight which can’t go unmentioned.
What were your Royal Ballet highlights of 2013?