Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers, technical staff, the company manager and Jerwood staff, along with students from Elmhurst School for Dance, arrived in Japan on Tuesday and made their way to Yokohama for the start of the Japan tour. With per diems and hotel keys collected, dancers and Company staff found their pre-allocated rooms in the 30-floor hotel, no doubt to get some well-earned rest after a long journey from Birmingham.

The company were greeted by a large number of hotel staff as two full coaches arrived at its destination just a few miles from Yokohama bay. We received another warm reception from the NBS (tour promoters) press staff as they were keen to document the company’s prompt arrival! I was told a few days ago that the Japanese audiences were eager to see proof (in the form of photographs) of the company arriving. With a small number of companies cancelling tours following the earthquake, photographs taken by the NBS staff would help to show Japan that the tour is very much on! You will see from yesterday’s images that the male principal dancers are popular too!

Along with per diems and keys, each member of the company also collected Japan’s version of the London Underground’s ‘Oyster’ card – a travelcard credited with the exact number of metro journeys he/she will need to make between venue and hotel during the stay in Japan. Once you have conquered that first journey, the metro proves very straightforward here, extremely punctual and very quiet as Japanese people go on their way minding their own business. Cities seem to come to life at night as many people work long days and seek entertainment after work with friends or colleagues.

The company has a free day tomorrow plus the option of doing class at the Kamakura Performing Arts Centre. Yokohama is a wonderful shopping district with many traditional restaurants, so I am sure these areas will be checked out with gusto too!

Simon

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