Simon Harper is our Media and PR Manager. He and a small party of senior staff flew out to Japan ahead of the rest of the Company to ensure all was in place for our forthcoming performances there. Here he explains what he’s been up to so far:

I arrived in Tokyo on the evening of Saturday 7 May with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Keith Longmore (Communications Director) Paul Grace (Technical Director), Doug Nicholson (Head of Scenic Presentation) and Johnny Westall-Eyre (Head of Lighting).

Before heading to Yokohoma and the Kamakura theatre today (Monday), we all had the opportunity to see our Director David Bintley’s Aladdin at the New National Theatre in Tokyo. I’d already seen two of the Aladdin pas de deux danced at the Symphony Hall over the last 2 years at the Evening of Music and Dance performances, and so when the opportunity came up to see the New National Ballet Co. perform the entire piece I jumped at the chance. And what a performance and what a ballet! Fingers crossed Birmingham Royal Ballet has the chance to perform this work at a later date. Watch this space!

Visiting the NNTheatre I also met with Benika Mori [David’s PA in Japan, where he is Artistic Director of the New National Ballet]. Over the past year Benika has very kindly helped to arrange interviews with David (not always easy with the +9 hr time difference) so it was great to finally say hello and thank her face-to-face.

Today we travel to Yokohama to meet the remaining travelling company who arrive tomorrow late afternoon. Diane Parkes from Birmingham Mail will also be joining the Company for the first week in Japan, to report on the tour and fundraising gala for our local Midlands audience.

Reflecting on the March 11th earthquake and from what I saw of Tokyo and its residents today, the city remains vibrant and buzzing and just like January 2008 (our previous tour) the capital feels very safe and ‘business as usual’. You can’t help but think about those families further north affected by the terrible events 2 months ago, but from what I witnessed at NNTheatre yesterday the huge passion for ballet continues here and there is a sense that the show, and every day life, very much goes on.

Simon.

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