London’s dance event of the summer will soon be captivating audiences at the Royal Albert Hall, as English National Ballet presents Swan Lake in-the-round. The largest production of its kind in the world, this spectacular theatrical experience – now in its seventh season – has been seen by nearly 550,000 people since its premiere in May 1997.
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. It opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, and its stunning auditorium today hosts over 370 shows a year, presented by some of the greatest international artists.
Set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, English National Ballet’s Swan Lake, with traditionally sumptuous costumes and sets, has a cast of 120 performers – dancers, acrobats and jugglers – and features the mesmerising sight of 60 swans gliding across the stage simultaneously. Nevertheless, Derek Deane’s imaginative staging succeeds in creating a sense of intimacy as well as spectacle. It’s a production which represents many of the Company’s key values – “taking classical ballet to the widest possible audience, at a price everyone can afford”.
It also marks the completion of Tamara Rojo’s first year as English National Ballet’s Artistic Director – and Principal Dancer for the Company as well. “I joined English National Ballet as a young dancer on the opening night of the first Swan Lake in-the-round in 1997,” she says. “I had never seen anything so beautiful, and as I watched the rows of swans moving in unison, like a Busby Berkeley movie, I felt I was witnessing ballet reaching out to fresh a new audience. I am proud to continue this work by presenting and dancing in this production that has reached, as well as moved, over 550,000 people worldwide.”
Ms Rojo, partnered by Dutch National Ballet Principal, Matthew Golding, will dance Odette/Odile on the opening night, June 12th, and in two further performances as well.
The Company was founded by Dame Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin in 1950, and known as The London Festival Ballet – the name having been inspired by the then imminent Festival of Britain. It was in 1989 that the Company became the English National Ballet. One of the four major ballet companies in Great Britain, it has been committed, since its establishment, to presenting the highest standards of performance – in terms of music as well as dancing. An important component in the success of the Company is the critically acclaimed Orchestra of English National Ballet. The ensemble is the largest of its kind in Europe, and English National Ballet, one of Europe’s foremost touring companies, is one of only a few in Europe to tour with its own symphony orchestra.
Swan Lake in-the-round runs at the Royal Albert Hall from Wednesday June 12th to Saturday June 23rd. For more information, visit the English National Ballet website www.ballet.org.uk. For ticketing, contact the Royal Albert Hall Box Office on 020 7838 3100 or visit www.royalalberthall.com