Birmingham Royal Ballet

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Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet (emblem).jpg
General information
Name Birmingham Royal Ballet
Previous names
  • Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet
  • Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet
  • Royal Ballet Touring Group
Year founded 1946 (1946)
Founders Dame Ninette de Valois
Founding Artistic Director John Field
Director Laureate Sir Peter Wright
Principal venue Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street
England, B5 4TB
Senior staff
Chief Executive Jan Teo
Director David Bintley, CBE
Assistant Director Marion Tait, CBE
Company Manager Paul Grist
Ballet Staff Michael O'Hare, Dominic Antonucci, Wolfgang Stollwitzer
Sister company The Royal Ballet
Orchestra Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Official school The Royal Ballet School Elmhurst School for Dance
  • Principal Guest Artist
  • Principal
  • First Soloist
  • Soloist
  • First Artist
  • Artist

Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) is one of the three major ballet companies of the United Kingdom, alongside The Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet.[1] Founded as the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, the company was established in 1946 as a sister company to the earlier Sadler's Wells company, which moved to the Royal Opera House that same year, subsequently becoming known as The Royal Ballet. The new company was formed under the direction of John Field and remained at Sadler's Wells for many years, becoming known as the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet. It also toured the UK and abroad, before relocating to Birmingham in 1990, as the resident ballet company of the Birmingham Hippodrome. In 1997, the Birmingham Royal Ballet became independent of the Royal Ballet in London. As a resident company, Birmingham Royal Ballet has extensive custom-built facilities, including a suite of dance studios, the Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries and a studio theatre known as the Patrick Centre. In 2002, the need for Birmingham Royal Ballet to have its own school led to a new association with Elmhurst School for Dance, which is now its official ballet school.


In 1926, the Irish-born dancer Ninette de Valois founded the Academy of Choreographic Art, a dance school for girls. Her intention was to form a repertory ballet company and school, leading her to collaborate with the English theatrical producer and theatre owner Lilian Baylis. Baylis owned the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells theatres and in 1925 she engaged de Valois to stage dance performances at both venues.

Sadler's Wells reopened in 1931 and the Vic-Wells Ballet and Vic-Wells Ballet School were established in premises at the theatre. These would become the predecessors of today's Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Royal Ballet School.

In 1939, the company lost its link with the Old Vic theatre and, in 1940, Sadler's Wells theatre was bombed during World War II. These events forced the company to begin touring the country, becoming known as the Sadler's Wells Ballet. The company did return to Sadler's Wells theatre, where it stayed until 1946, when the company was invited to become the resident ballet company of the newly re-opened Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The company relocated to the opera house the same year in 1946, with their first production at the venue being Ninette de Valois' staging of The Sleeping Beauty.

Birmingham Royal Ballet performing E=MC2 in Tokyo in 2011

Following the relocation of the company the school was relocated to its own premises in 1947 and a sister company was established to continue performances at Sadler's Wells, called Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet. This sister company would become the predecessor of today's Birmingham Royal Ballet. The first Artistic Director of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet was John Field, who was later made co-director of the Royal Ballet and also worked as artistic director of La Scala Theatre Ballet and English National Ballet.

In 1955, Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet temporarily lost its link with Sadler's Wells theatre and relocated to the Royal Opera House as a touring unit of the main company.

In 1956, a Royal Charter was granted for both companies and the school and they were subsequently renamed the Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School.

The Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet returned to Sadler's Wells theatre in 1970, whilst continuing to tour the country. The first indication that the company would leave London came in 1987, when the company was invited to become the resident ballet company at the Birmingham Hippodrome theatre. Consequently, the company relocated to Birmingham in 1990, being given its current name Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Sir Peter Wright remained as the company's Artistic Director and held the post until his retirement in 1995, when the current Artistic Director, David Bintley was appointed. In 1997, Birmingham Royal Ballet was made independent of the Royal Ballet and ceased to be managed by the Royal Opera House.

As an independent ballet company, Birmingham Royal Ballet no longer has official links with the Royal Ballet or Royal Ballet School. To further establish its reputation as a separate entity, in 2002, it began a new relationship with the Elmhurst School for Dance, which is now its official associate school. Elmhurst is the oldest established vocational dance school in the United Kingdom, and was previously based in Camberley, Surrey. It relocated to premises in Edgbaston, Birmingham in 2004, becoming known as Elmhurst School for Dance, in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Works performed[edit]



Name Nationality Training Joined BRB Promoted to
Joseph Caley [2]  United Kingdom Royal Ballet School 2005 2011
Chi Cao [3]  United Kingdom Beijing Dance Academy
Royal Ballet School
1995 2002 Varna International Ballet Competition – Gold Medal, 1998

Star of the film Mao's Last Dancer

Australian Inside Film Award 2010 Nominees for best actor

Mathias Dingman [4]  United Kingdom Kirov Academy of Ballet 2006 2015 Guest Artist - English National Ballet, 2014

Varna International Ballet Competition - Gold Medal, 2006

Youth America Grand Prix - Gold Medal, 2006

Korea International Ballet Competition - Gold Medal, 2005

Vienna International Ballet Competition - Gold Medal and Vaslav Nijinsky Prize, 2004

Samara Downs [5]  United Kingdom Royal Ballet School 2003 2015
  • Paul Clarke Award
  • Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Award
  • Anthony Dowell Award
  • Kerrison Cook Award
Momoko Hirata [6]  Japan Reiko Yamamoto Ballet School
Royal Ballet School
2003 2013 2001 Prix de Lausanne – won
Iain Mackay [7]  United Kingdom Royal Ballet School 1999 2003 Promoted to Soloist – Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2001
César Morales [8]  Chile Municipal Theatre of Santiago
Houston Ballet Academy
2008 N/A Principal Guest Artist – Vienna State Opera Ballet, 2006
English National Ballet, 2004–2006
Altazor Prize  – Winner, 2002 & 2003
New York International Ballet Competition – Gold Medal, 2003
Prague International Ballet Competitions – Gold Medal, 2002
Ballet de Santiago, years unknown
Jenna Roberts [9]  Australia Marie Walton-Mahon Dance Academy
Royal Ballet School
2003 2012
Nao Sakuma [10]  Japan Michiko Komori Ballet School
Royal Ballet School
1995 2002 National Dance Awards – Nominee, 2001
Jackson Ballet Competition – Special Jury Prize, 1998
Tyrone Singleton [11]  United Kingdom Royal Ballet School 2003 2013

First Soloists[edit]


First Artists[edit]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]