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Here’s a new behind-the-scenes video showing Iain Mackay and Elisha Willis rehearsing an Act II pas de deux from David Bintley’s Cyrano. Iain plays Christian, and Elisha plays Roxane. Iain and Elisha created these roles when this version of the ballet was first performed in 2007.

The two characters are in love, although Roxane only loves Christian because of the letters that Cyrano has written for him.

If you can’t see the clip above, you can view it here: posted reviews of both Quantum Leaps and Cyrano after each was performed in Birmingham.

Here’s a couple of excerpts, with links through to the full reviews below each.



What do you get when you add some swash-buckling sword fighting, a blind priest and a heart-wrenching love story? A great ballet by David Bintley.

Bintley’s Cyrano has hit the Birmingham stage once more, and after critical acclaim for its relaunch in 2007, this production does not fail to please the audience of 2009.

Robert Parker, on whom Cyrano was created, could not bring more expression and depth to his character, and in dancing terms is in a league of his own. While maintaining excellent technique, Parker gives Cyrano a layered narrative – letting the audience see his gracious and tender heart, alongside the cocky facade he puts on for his pals. The characterisation can make Christian, danced by Iain Mackay, seem more one-dimensional and the duet between himself and Roxane – Elisha Willis – lack the passion and emotion reserved for her dances with Parker. Bintley’s daring choreography showcases Willis’s perfect jetées and some trademark double-loop dipping lifts. She brings a wholesomeness to her character, required to let the audience feel she deserves Cyrano’s love and the intricate mime sequences from all three main characters propel the ballet from start to finish.

Aside from the tender love story there are some truly memorable moments from the rest of the corps de ballet. Notably a mock-Rose adagio from Sleeping Beauty danced by four flexed-footed male cooks, a scene where Cyrano pretends to be an alien with a lampshade on his head to stall Roxanne’s ill-willed suitor, and a number of captivating all-male ensemble dances. Bintley balances the romance with humour to make the tragedy complete and move you from laughter to tears.

Click here to read the full review

Quantum Leaps

Quantum Leaps

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s new season has kicked off to an explosive start.

Tonight marked return of the company with two new incendiary pieces to add to the repetoire, and this launch into the new year showcased some the their best work yet.

The three-part evening commenced with the return of Stanton Welch’s Powder – a cheeky satirical number set to Mozart which sees scantily clad dancers winding around each other in an almost spoof ballet.

But the audience quietly anticipated director David Bintey’s hotly-awaited debut – E=mc². Broken into four segments, each chapter looking at an element in the relativity equation, the ‘ballet’ reaches revolutionary ground in exploring the relationship between science and dance.

Even without knowing what E=mc² stands for, audience members could not fail to know instantly something of the elements each dance aimed to replicate by Bintley’s carefully thought out movements and composition. This is surely the director’s greatest works yet, and a testament to the talent in the company that he can create such an unprecedented exploration of physics and chemistry on stage.

Bintley’s act was hard to follow, but Garry Stweart’s The Centre and its Opposite took up where Bintley left off with yet another superb new creation exploiting the company’s excellence. The heavy base beat of Huey Benjamin’s soundtrack echoed through the theatre, accented by Michael Mannion’s striking strip lighting. The choreography was physically aggressive yet attractive, hitting notes of force and power, which were particularly electric between Robert Parker and Elisha Willis.

Click here to read the full review

In this clip, Director David Bintley and Principal Robert Parker discuss Cyrano’s prosthetic nose. Includes backstage footage and clips from the stage production.

Casting for all 2009 tour dates at Belfast Grand Opera House and Plymouth Theatre Royal are available on the Birmingham Royal Ballet website.

Click the following links to take a look:

Cyrano at Belfast Grand Opera House

Quantum Leaps and Cyrano at Plymouth Theatre Royal

Cyrano Act III

Birmingham Royal Ballet is off on the road again next week, kicking off the 2009 autumn tour on Tuesday night in Belfast.
Dates are as follows:

Tuesday 13-Saturday 17 October
Grand Opera House, Belfast

Tuesday 20-Wednesday 21 October
Quantum Leaps
Thursday 22-Saturday 24 October
Plymouth Theatre Royal

Wednesday 4-Thursday 5 November
Quantum Leaps
Friday 6-Saturday 7 November
Sunderland Empire

Tuesday 10-Wednesday 11 November
Quantum Leaps
Thursday 12-Saturday 14 November
Sadlers Wells Theatre

You can click each venue name for a link to their websites.

Cyrano tours the UK during this and next month, with info available at

You can watch a video interview with Carl Davis, composer of the score to Cyrano, below. The clip also features excerpts from the ballet featuring Robert Parker as Cyrano, Elisha Willis as Roxane and Valentin Olovyanikov as Valvert.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s website

Birmingham Royal Ballet on twitter