Interview: Interview with BRB director Carlos Acosta on BRB2



By Diane Parkes

Dance fans and those new to dance are being given a rare opportunity to see the ballet stars of the future in a gala evening packed full of stunning performances of some of the best classical and contemporary dance.

BRB2, the new company created by the acclaimed Birmingham Royal Ballet, features talented young dancers who have been selected from across the globe.

An initiative created by internationally renowned ballet star and BRB Director Carlos Acosta, the BRB2 tour this spring, which comes to the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 April, is the first chance audiences will have to see the new company on stage.

The gala, Carlos Acosta’s Classical Selection, will showcase the expertise of these young dancers with a programme of spectacular dance highlights, he says.

“The programme is a great combination of classical pieces, some neo-classical, and some contemporary. There is a lot of partnering in these pieces which means the dancers really have to exercise and develop their skills.

“So, for example, they are performing the pas de deux from Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody which is such a beautiful piece and very technical. I love this ballet and have performed it many times but it’s new to BRB.

“There is also La Sylphide which will really develop the dancers as there is a lot of jumping and the classical Diana and Actaeon pas de deux. There are a couple of solos by Ben Van Cauwenbergh, Edith Piaf’s Je ne regrette rien and Le Bourgeois which is a lot of fun.

“We have a solo by Will Tuckett, Nisi Dominus, and Jorges Garcia’s Majismo which the company has never performed before. There is The Dying Swans, which is a collage of my own invention, and my own Carmen pas de deux.

“We also have Ben Stevenson’s End of Time set to Rachmaninov and the Argentinian piece A Buenos Aires with music by Astor Piazzolla. All in all, I would say it’s a dance salad with something for everyone.”

The gala evening has been specially created to provide opportunities for the young company to sparkle in a series of dance gems, says Carlos.

“I have chosen the programme for two main reasons,” he says. “The first is that these works are giving the dancers the possibility to develop their skills by performing works that challenge them in every way – not just technically but also artistically.

“And secondly it’s great entertainment as it’s a really good programme for the audience. There is a real range of works, many of which are new to our company, so there will be plenty for audiences to enjoy.”

The tour also sees BRB2 offering new audiences the opportunity to see top class dance in their local theatres.

“It is important to share what the company is all about to different towns and cities. That’s why we’re here – to send our art everywhere possible. We want to connect with different audiences who perhaps haven’t seen us before and give them an evening of great entertainment.

“I’m always looking out for new audiences, for new cities and new theatres. We are a touring company, so let’s tour to new places to bring our repertory to new people. It’s an important part of my vision for the company to keep surprising people – to create new works, to develop our dancers and to bring more and more people to watch us perform.

“I would really encourage audiences to come and see the performance – and to be part of the vision for BRB2.”

Launched earlier this year with BRB first soloist Kit Holder as Artistic Coordinator, BRB2 seeks out some of the best young ballet graduates from schools around the world to join a two-year performance programme. Offering opportunities for those dancers to improve their skills, both as part of the main company and with work specifically chosen for BRB2, the programme aims to encourage and promote excellence.

“The formula of BRB2 is the perfect formula to develop dancers,” says Carlos. “Normally when you bring in new dancers to a company it takes longer for them to develop before they can move in the rank and dance the major roles.

“With BRB2 they will be covering largescale productions like The Nutcracker and Swan Lake but on top of that they have a repertory tailor-made for them so they develop more rapidly. It is a scheme that attracts a lot of talent because they have the best of both worlds.”

In this first year, six of the company are current BRB dancers and a further six are founding members of BRB2. Next year, when the first group graduate, another six will join so that BRB2 has a rolling core of 12 dancers. While some of those graduates may be offered positions with BRB, Carlos says the programme also aims to equip the dancers for top class companies elsewhere.

“We have had a lot of interest in the new company from all across the world and have brought in some very talented young dancers. They may not all stay with BRB after the programme but when they are going for auditions elsewhere, when they mention BRB, people will know what that means in terms of classical training and everything else.

“We are developing them not just for us but for the world so it’s also a way of contributing to other companies as well. And we are looking right around the world for dancers because I want to give dancers from diverse backgrounds a chance.”

By giving these young dancers support at the beginning of their career, Carlos is hoping they will follow in his footsteps to become international dance superstars in the future.

“I was given chances as a young dancer so this is us going out there to give other people the opportunity to have a chance that normally they wouldn’t have.”

BRB2: Carlos Acosta’s Classical Selection

Theatre Royal Nottingham

Friday 28 April 2023 7.30pm; Saturday 29 April 2023 2.30pm & 7.30pm

£17.50 – £32.50 plus discounts for Members*, Under 26s, and Groups Box Office 0115 989 5555

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