Birmingham Royal Ballet to retrace Shakespeare’s footsteps

Company visits the Bard’s birthplace.


This week, Birmingham Royal Ballet Director David Bintley and dancers from one of the UK’s most prolific dance companies took a step back in time retracing the steps of arguably the world’s most famous playwright as they visited the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon.

In 2016 Birmingham Royal Ballet will present seven different ballets in ten theatres around the UK to commemorate 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, including two world premieres and two pieces new to the Company; all inspired by Shakespeare’s stories, characters and prose.

Principal dancers Iain Mackay and Jenna Roberts plus Soloists William Bracewell and Delia Matthews will be dancing the roles of Romeo and Juliet this February when the production opens its UK tour at Birmingham Hippodrome. The dancers were given a fascinating insight into the life of William Shakespeare and his connections to the Midlands. A highlight of the tour was the chance to view one of the original folios containing the manuscript for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet ahead of taking to the stage in the roles this spring.

Company Director, David Bintley will unveil the world premiere of his new full length balletic interpretation of The Tempest this October. Talking during the visit to the Birthplace Trust he said, “With Shakespeare you start with the story and those amazing characters. In terms of ballet, you find productions of things like Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest the world over – the fantasy pieces and the love stories translate really well into dance, most famously of course Romeo and Juliet – it’s made for dancers. That’s what ballet does so well without words. You can fall instantly in love – which doesn’t happen very often in life, but in the ballet it’s something we can create with the language of the body.”

Commenting on the visit Dr Diana Owen, Chief Executive of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said: “We were delighted to welcome the dancers and team from Birmingham Royal Ballet to Shakespeare’s Birthplace. In this legacy year, it is the perfect stage to launch their forthcoming Shakespeare season.”

William Shakespeare was born in the property located on Henley Street and lived there until he was old enough to marry and spend the first five years of family life here with his new wife, Anne Hathaway. For millions of Shakespeare enthusiasts worldwide, the house is a place of pilgrimage.

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