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Birmingham Royal Ballet are bringing the sexy, sassy, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue to both Durham and York next week. The ballet tells the tale of a hapless 1930s stage performer who must extend his performance in order to stall a hitman who’s been instructed to bump him off as soon as his solo ends. The reason for the contract on his life? He’s become rather to close to a mob boss’s girlfriend, down at the local speak-easy.
Here you can see a clip of Robert Parker and Céline Gittens in rehearsals for the piece, which the Company performed last year as part of our anniversary gala in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Birmingham Royal Ballet splits in two again this summer, simultaneously performing two different programmes at either end of the country.
In the South West programme, Birmingham Royal Ballet presents three pieces which explore notions of preserving moments in time. The first piece, Brouillards, is based upon nine of composer Clause DeBussy’s piano preludes. These pieces of music were inspired by transient images – footprints in snow, ships’ sails momentarily swelled by passing winds, autumn leaves drifting from the trees. The title of the piece, ‘Brouillards’ means ‘mists’, and it is this image which bookends the choreography of the ballet, with the dancers appearing and disappearing from the stage leaving behind nothing but memories.
You can see a video of Company Artists Mathias Dingman rehearsing the ‘Bruyères’ section from Brouillards here:
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director David Bintley created The Dance House following the passing of a friend. Seeking to represent his friend’s anarchic sense of humour both in the movement and the music, he was attracted to the dry wit of Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano Trumpet and Strings. With moments of both nostalgia and darkness, this choice of score also allowed him to explore the oft-heard metaphor of death being a dance.
You can read more about The Dance House in an interview with David Bintley from 2009 by clicking here.
There could be no more perfect curtain closer for this programme than the crazily comedic Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. From the 1930s musical On Your Toes, the piece sees a leading man take to the stage just as word comes through that he is to be a hidden hitman’s target as soon as his performance is over. With no way of escaping the packed auditorium, our hero must frantically extend his solo until the cops can arrive and arrest the would-be assassin! To the amazement of the audience and his fellow performers alike, he literally dances for his life in a display of sparkling vitality and pure entertainment. The perfect ending to a programme of unforgettable moments.
Here you can see a video of rehearsals for Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. In this excerpt our hero, still unaware of the threat to his life, enjoys a dance with a pretty girl.
Tickets at all venues are now on sale. Click here for details.
Here you can see Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers Robert Parker and Céline Gittens rehearsing the pas de deux from Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.
Can’t see the clip? Click here to watch it on vimeo.com
Birmingham Royal Ballet performs the piece in full throughout England this year. Click on the following links to find out more.