English National Ballet in Ètudes, Photo by Laurent Liotardo

English National Ballet celebrates 70th Anniversary

As part of its 70th anniversary season, English National Ballet will celebrate its history with three specially curated gala performances at the London Coliseum on 17 and 18 January 2020.

The gala performances celebrate the countless dancers, choreographers, artists, musicians, artisans, technicians and audience members who, over the Company’s 70 years, have been part of the English National Ballet family. Showcasing the world-class talent of the entire Company, alongside the future stars of the ballet world from English National Ballet School, the programme includes some of the most important and ground-breaking works that make up English National Ballet’s diverse repertoire.

Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said:Our 70th Anniversary Gala performances are a rare opportunity to showcase in one place a huge variety of brilliant work from our extraordinarily rich history. This will be a Gala that celebrates the sheer love of dance, both on and off the stage, that has been part of our vision from the beginning. Throughout the three performances we will be bringing together as many people as possible from the English National Ballet family, on stage and in the audience, to celebrate and give thanks for the generosity of all who make this the very special Company it is. Alongside the Gala, we want to make sure we thank our audiences and partners throughout the season and will do so in a variety of creative ways.”

Using archive footage of English National Ballet, Dominic Best, who directed BBC documentaries Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake and Giselle: Belle of the Ballet, will create a special film which will dissolve into live performance on stage. The programme features extracts from great masterworks which have not been recently performed by the Company, including George Balanchine’s Apollo, John Cranko’s Onegin, Roland Petit’s Carmen, Léonide Massine’s Farruca (3-Cornered Hat), Christopher Bruce’s Swansong, and Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes. These will be performed alongside excerpts of some of the Company’s modern productions including Dust by Akram Khan, Broken Wings by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Playlist (Track 2) by William Forsythe.

The gala performances conclude with a nod to English National Ballet’s early years, with a performance of one if its signature pieces, Etudes by Harald Lander, first performed by the Company in 1955.

Elsewhere in this special anniversary season, English National Ballet will give away 70 tickets during each run in every city it tours to, celebrating and thanking its touring communities. Working with its partner venues and community groups, these tickets will be distributed to individuals who are making a positive impact in their community. To thank its audiences and fans, English National Ballet will also give a ‘Golden Ticket’ for a special English National Ballet experience to one audience member per performance throughout the season. Opportunities will include behind-the-scenes tours, complimentary tickets and programmes, and meet and greets.

English National Ballett offers 70 free tickets to performances of Akram Khan’s Giselle at Sadler’s Wells in September to staff and volunteers of Mousetrap Theatre Project, St Margaret’s House, Sunnyside Community Gardens, Synergy Theatre Projects, as well as Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea Libraries. 

The 70th Anniversary comes as English National Ballet marks a new chapter in its history with its move into a new purpose-built state-of-the-art home in East London. This transformational move will allow English National Ballet to continue to develop world-class artists, create ground-breaking new works, and honour the Company’s rich repertoire for years to come. With dedicated engagement, learning and public spaces, the Company will be able to connect with, and provide opportunities to, local communities like never before.

English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary Gala concludes its winter season at the London Coliseum which also sees the continued tradition of performing a Nutcracker production every year since the Company’s inception in 1950 and the return of the critically acclaimed award-winning production of Le Corsaire, which returns to the UK following performances to audiences in excess of 100,000 people across the world.