Magazine article Dance Magazine

Youth Takes Over: James Kudelka Creates Ballet for Bintley's Birmingham

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Youth Takes Over: James Kudelka Creates Ballet for Bintley's Birmingham

Article excerpt

BIRMINGHAM, England--When British choreographer David Bintley took over as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in August 1995, one of his first goals was to introduce new work [See feature, page 70, this issue]. He chose a contemporary, Canadian James Kudelka, as the first outside choreographer to create a work for the company, commissioning a Le Baiser de la Fee to Igor Stravinsky's music. The commission was agreed upon before Kudelka accepted his new post as artistic director of National Ballet of Canada.

Bintley, who has known Kudelka since 1982, finds that ballet choreography has developed along different routes in Europe and North America, because of the influence of George Balanchine. In North America, he says, "there's a predominance of abstract or semiabstract dance. Although most of the pieces I'd seen by James were of that nature, I knew he'd done some story ballets with NBC.... I thought James would do something very interesting with Stravinsky's Baiser."

Kudelka says the Stravinsky music is "a score I knew and liked. And when David asked me, I thought, `I'd love to do that.' " The result opens September 26, on a program with Frederick Ashton's 1937 Les Patineurs (new to BRB) and Bintley's new The Nutcracker Sweeties, to Duke Ellington's jazz version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite.

Ashton created a Baiser de la Fee in 1935, which had the first important role for Margot Fonteyn; Balanchine created a divertissement to the music in 1937; and Bintley used the same Hans Christian Andersen story of the Fairy's Kiss for his Snow Queen. …

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