I am very excited to be opening my second season as Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Japan with a brand new creation, an
entirely new production of Benjamin Brittenís ballet, The Prince of the Pagodas. This is the realisation of a dream for me as, more than
thirty years ago, my mentor and founder of the Royal Ballet Dame Ninette de Valois was urging me to consider the first revival of this
score since its premiere in 1957, with choreography by John Cranko. At that time, I had neither the facility nor I have to admit, the
desire to tackle this piece, but it was a seed very well sown by Madam, as despite Sir Kenneth MacMillanís successful 1990 version, The
Prince of the Pagodas has long haunted me, though the rather unwieldy scenario has long proved a stumbling block for a number of
It was while I was in Japan, and more precisely, looking at the marvellous ukiyo-e of Kuniyoshi, that I suddenly realised that this ballet might be re-thought in an entirely Japanese context. Bearing this in mind, I hastily began to re-imagine the whole as a kind of fantasy on Japanese themes. As I write, my designer and I are working on this fascinating project, a fusion of British and Japanese culture and mythologies, which will bear fruit this October.
Creativity of another kind characterizes the four programmes featured in our contemporary dance season. Over the past two years, I have very much enjoyed my forays into the contemporary dance scene in Japan and found it to be a quite unique melting pot of stylistic innovation, dramatic intensity and sometimes hilarious whimsicality. This seasonís line up of new contemporary dance creations promises all of those things, and more!
At this difficult time, with finance around the world in turmoil, it is only the most adventurous and forward looking Companies who can look to the future and the recent past with creative credentials as strong as the National Ballet of Japan. Not only is the National Ballet opening its season with a new full-length ballet, but the rest of its season can boast a creative recent past that includes not only Asami Makiís daring new production of the Nutcracker but also Boris Eifmanís Anna Karenina, which caused such a stir here at the New National Theatre, Tokyo during the 09/10 season.
Add to that, the first revival since 2003 of Sir Kenneth MacMillanís classic romance Manon and the Gallic delights of Roland Petitís chic and stylish La Chauve Souris and the National Ballet has a truly international flavour this season. Did I leave out Swan Lake? Would the devotees of the National Ballet of Japan forgive me if I left Swan Lake out for another year? Well, here it is, the worldís favourite ballet in Asami Makiís majestic production of 2006. I hope you can all find something in this new season to tantalize your imaginations and spirits.
2011/2012 Ballet Season for the National Ballet of Japan
The Prince of the Pagodas (world premiere, co-production with The Birmingham Royal Ballet)
2011 October 30 - November 6
2011 December 17 - 25
Roland Petit's La Chauve-souris
2012 February 4 - 12
Boris Eifman's Anna Karenina
2012 March 16 - 20
2012 May 5 - 13
Kenneth MacMillan's Manon
2012 June 23 - July 1
2011/2012 Season Contemporary Dance programme
Nakamura Megumi and Shuto Yasuyuki Shakespeare THE SONNETS
2011 September 30 - October 1
Kagita Mayumi X Sato Hiroki ARTE Y SORELA Onna Goroshi Abura no Jigoku
2011 November 11 - 17
Kagaya Kaori Dance-SHAN Egoism
2011 November 25 - 27
Onodera Shuji Company Derashinera The Brothers Karamazov
2012 February 8 - 12
'DANCE to the Future 2012'
Hirayama Motoko's Butterfly and other works performed by the dancers of NBJ
2012 April 21 - 22