Birmingham Royal Ballet triumphs in Japan



The Dream; Miyako Yoshida as Titania with artsists of Birmingham Royal Ballet; photo K Hasegawa

As some art industry stars from across the world cancel or postpone tours to Japan, Birmingham Royal Ballet's international tour went ahead as planned, and performances of Peter Wright's The Sleeping Beauty and Frederick Ashton's The Dream and Daphnis and Chloë triumphed in the cities of Tokyo, Kamakura, Nagoya and Hyogo between 14 and 29 May.


Over the tour's ten performances, Birmingham Royal Ballet performed to 18,000 people. The tour included an additional fundraising gala performance at Tokyo's U-Port Hall on 17 May. The gala starred former BRB Principal Miyako Yoshida in The Dream and helped raise in excess of £10,000 for the Red Cross and its earthquake and tsunami relief fund. Students of Elmhurst School for Dance, an associate school of Birmingham Royal Ballet, joined BRB for the Japan tour. On stage, in front of a full capacity audience, the students presented Norio Takahashi with 1,000 origami cranes at the end of the gala evening as sign of the company's and the schools support for the Japanese people.


Reflecting on the recent Birmingham Royal Ballet tour to Japan, David Bintley, the company's Director and Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Japan said: 'Following the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March and the ensuing problems at Fukushima, there was great concern amongst company members of Birmingham Royal Ballet about the safety of our planned tour to Japan.

'I was in Tokyo rehearsing with the National Ballet of Japan when the earthquake struck and I knew that the best way to show our support and solidarity with the people of the stricken country was to do our utmost to ensure that the tour happened.


'My own experiences in Tokyo during the week following the quake, advice from the British Council and British Embassy in the following month, and a close monitoring of the situation didn't allay all fears, but on May 9th the entire company arrived in Japan for performances in Tokyo, Kamakura, Nagoya, and Hyogo.


'There followed an outpouring of gratitude and appreciation from Japanese audiences, which was an overpowering affirmation of the bond that has sprung up between our two nations. As the first major arts company to tour Japan after the recent disaster, history had placed Birmingham Royal Ballet in a unique position to help begin the spiritual restoration of Japan, and not only were we delighted that the tour had gone ahead but deeply proud that we were able to help in some small way.'


Birmingham Royal Ballet