National Youth Ballet returns to Birmingham with 2019 season Wonderlands

For its 2019 season, National Youth Ballet will return to Birmingham with WONDERLANDS, a mixed programme of new works choreographed by some of the country’s rising talents, performed by a Company of young dancers aged 9-18 from across the UK.

National Youth Ballet returns to the Crescent Theatre for the third year, with three performances on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 August following a residential programme at Elmhurst Ballet School in Edgbaston.

The 2019 Season is led by interim artistic directors Drew McOnie and Ruth Brill, both National Youth Ballet alumni with a longstanding association with the city of Birmingham. Ruth Brill is currently a First Artist and Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Drew McOnie grew up in Walsall, before embarking on a career as an international choreographer.

Drew McOnie and Ruth Brill said today: As proud alumni of the National Youth Ballet, we are thrilled to be part of a team leading a season in which seven world premier ballets will be presented. The company delivers its young artists an unparalleled level of professional involvement across all departments, and seeing them excel in uncharted territories is so thrilling. It was the belief in our early creative aspirations from The National Youth Ballet that undoubtedly lead us to where we are today, and we are so excited to now watch the rise of these incredible young artists, both those on stage and off.

WONDERLANDS leaps into magical, enchanted landscapes where words hold no power and dance is the only way to exist.  An exciting mixed programme of completely original works, the country’s finest young dancers are paired with the creative imaginations of a carefully selected dream team of dynamic choreographers.

The programme features seven new works; Masquerade by Stephanie Rosenheim, bringing the beauty and romance of a ball to life with the evocative music of Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite; Day to Night by Sophia Hurdley, a kaleidoscope of responses moving through a magical journey from day into night; Utopia by Charlie Brittain, questioning whether a Utopia can exist between humans; Carnival by Stuart Winter, celebrating the spirit of a travelling fair in the 1960’s, set to Antonin Dvořák’s Carnival Overture; Pulse by Ruth Brill, exploring the feeling of awe, amazement and admiration caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar; Flora by Louise Bennett, moving through a magical garden in which different flowers inspire movement; and Heartless by Matthew Nicholson, the story of a young Queen of Hearts, danced to Alice in Wonderland by Carl Davis.

At the heart of its annual season is a two-week residential programme that sees the young company come together with a team of professional dancers, choreographers and teachers to take them on a journey from studio to stage, emulating the experience of being in a professional dance ensemble.  This year dancers from across the country auditioned for the highly coveted places.  105 aged between 9-18 were offered places with the Company and will perform in the 2019 season.

The 2019 season also sees the return of the annual Choreographic Competition, with the winning piece being showcased within the WONDERLANDS programme.  This year’s competition takes place on Thursday 22 August 2019 and will be judged by National Youth Ballet alumnus Tyrone Singleton (Principal, Birmingham Royal Ballet) and Arielle Smith (New Adventures Young Associate Choreographer).


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