Ruth Brill Photo by Caroline Holden

She who dances with wolves- Interview with choreographer and dancer Ruth Brill

Interview by Viki Westall-Eyre

Have you always been interested in choreography?

Yes! Even at my very first local ballet school in Kent, every other year we would do a choreographic show, so it was as much an education in performing as choreographing, and I would always enter. I remember also going round to friends houses and choreographing on them – it was great fun! It must have become ingrained in me as whenever there was a choreographic competition at a summer school or a workshop, I’d do it!

A big part of it was that my father worked, and still does, at a radio station, Radio Caroline, so there were always hundreds of records at home – wall to wall! Music was a big part of growing up, and on Sundays I would just listen to pieces of music with my Dad and Mum. I had a folder of things that I wanted to choreograph to, a library ready to go whenever a competition came up.

I went to Tring (ballet school) aged 15, and won the Choreography Cup and I suddenly thought – “Ok, maybe there is something there”. Next was a competition at the English National Ballet School (where I went to at 16) and I think I came second in that. So it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed, something that the mathematical part of my brain responds to well.

P&tW – Ruth Brill & Eilis Small – Photo By Dasa Wharton

When I joined English National Ballet I felt that was a time to prove myself as a dancer, so I was often in people’s works rather than creating myself. But the itch returned, so I promised myself that I would do a piece the next year, which ended up being with Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) as I changed companies. So I kept my promise to myself and did a piece, and it’s all snowballed from there.

P&tW Cast on scaffold – Photo by Ruth Brill

You are currently working on your second ballet for BRB, Peter and the Wolf, how did you arrive at this point?

After that first workshop piece, Artistic Director David Bintley asked me to choreograph something for a gala  “An Evening of Music and Dance”, so I created Rhapsody in Blue, a good 20-minute ballet. Then I did a couple of pieces for Elmhurst and some other youth ballet companies. After this I was asked to do the Rugby World Cup Welcoming Ceremony, which was a lot of fun with the England team cheering in the front row! I’ve done a Flash … want to read the whole Interview?

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RUTH BRILL – Choreographer
Ruth Brill, trained at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and English National Ballet School. She danced with English National Ballet from 2007-2012. She then moved to Birmingham Royal Ballet, attracted by their broader repertoire and the opportunity to work with David Bintley. She was given her first chance to create for the company in 2013. Ruth was promoted to First Artist in 2014. Her commissions for Birmingham Royal Ballet include Rhapsody in Blue (2014), Matryoshka (2015), Arcadia (2017) which was short listed for the FEDORA prize, and most recently, Peter and The Wolf (2019).  Ruth has also choreographed for the Future Dreams Charity Gala at the London Palladium (2018), community Flashmobs for Birmingham Weekender (2015, 2017) and The Rugby World Cup Welcoming Ceremony for England (2015). As a dancer, she starred in ITV’s Trial & Retribution and the BBC movie of Ballet Shoes. She has been interviewed on BBC radio and her television work includes ‘An American In Paris’ at the Royal Variety Performance, Peace One Day Concert at the O2, the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium and the Cecchetti Legacy Project at the Royal Opera House. She is the Interim Artistic Director / Choreographer of National Youth Ballet.