2020/21 Season Ballet & Dance at the New National Theatre, Tokyo
We are pleased to announce the 2020/21 Ballet & Dance Season at the New National Theatre Tokyo under new Artistic Director, YOSHIDA Miyako.
Birmingham Royal Ballet Photo by Bill Cooper
"Shakespeare THE SONNETS" (from 2011 performance)
Message from YOSHIDA Miyako, Next Artistic Director of Ballet & Dance
The 2020/2021 season will be my first as Artistic Director of Ballet & Dance at the New National Theatre, Tokyo.
My connection to this theatre goes back to 1997, when I performed as Princess Aurora in the NNTT's opening performance of The Sleeping Beauty. Although I am a little nervous about my new role, I am very much looking forward to being engaged in a new way at a theatre I already know.
The National Ballet of Japan(NBJ) has developed remarkably over the past 23 years thanks to the strong convictions of successive artistic directors and to the passion and discipline of the dancers. It is my aim to advance the NBJ even further by passing on everything I have learnt overseas, while paying homage to the wealth of experience already accrued here.
We will continue to uphold classic ballet traditions, focusing on time-honoured works, while continuing to "improve in both technique and expressiveness", as encouraged by Artistic Director OHARA Noriko. It is also my aim to try and create new works that will become jewels in the crown of the NBJ.
We will open the 2020/2021 season with a new production of Swan Lake. I chose this classic ballet masterpiece as one with which we can take a new step forward.
It is a production by Sir Peter WRIGHT which is stately and full of dramatic elements that are very British. Each character is distinct, and I am sure the dancers will enjoy performing their roles.
In December, the Christmas season will feature The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, choreographed by Wayne EAGLING, while our New Year Ballet will showcase three selected works: the NBJ's first performance of George BALANCHINE's Duo Concertant, the popular 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café by David BINTLEY and an excerpt from the classic ballet Paquita.
For Yoshida Miyako's Selection -The Greatest Ballets in February, we will be performing two new ballets in addition to Theme and Variations. The first is A Million Kisses to My Skin, choreographed by the world-renowned David DAWSON to Johann Sebastian BACH's piano concerto. The other is 5 Tangos, choreographed by Maestro Hans van MANEN, evoking the sultry style of Argentine tango with the discipline of ballet to PIAZOLLA's evocative score. These programmes will bring out various qualities of our dancers not seen before.
For Golden Week in May, we will be performing Roland PETIT's Coppélia, full of style and esprit. We will close the season in June with MAKI Asami's version of the grand ballet Raymonda, with beautiful, exquisite costumes and set design by Luisa SPINATELLI.
In our dance productions, we will once more be performing the New National Theatre's masterpiece, Shakespeare THE SONNETS, with dancers from the NBJ included in the cast. This representative work by NAKAMURA Megumi and SHUTO Yasuyuki has been highly regarded ever since it was first performed in 2011. The two characters are played by Mr. SHUTO and principal dancers from the NBJ.
March will feature a dance concert Afternoon of Fauns and Nymphs 2021, showing works by leading Japanese choreographers and dancers. Dancers from the NBJ will take part in two works: Butterfly (choreographed by HIRAYAMA Motoko and NAKAGAWA Satoshi), a work performed countless times and born out of a performance in a similar programme in 2005, and Danae (choreographed by KAIKAWA Tesuo), from DANCE to the Future 2019.
July will feature a debut appearance by the Co. YAMADAUN, a leading Japanese contemporary dance company with impressive group performances by dancers who bring both ability and character. Adults and children alike can look forward to this new project by a company that has delivered ambitious productions in Japan and around the world.
Previous generations of artistic directors have brought a wealth of achievements and it is my endeavour to live up to and go beyond the standard you have now come to expect. It is my hope that you will come and enjoy the ballet and dance performances at the New National Theatre, Tokyo.
Profile of YOSHIDA Miyako
Born and trained in Tokyo, YOSHIDA Miyako joined The Royal Ballet School in 1983 after winning the prestigious Prix de Lausanne. In 1984, she joined Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) and was promoted to Principal in 1988. In 1995 she joined The Royal Ballet where she stayed until 2010.
She also performed in numerous productions in Japan and her performances at the New National Theatre, Tokyo include The Sleeping Beauty of the NNTT's opening series in 1997, Don Quixote and Cinderella in 2000, La Sylphide in 2000 and Raymonda in 2004.
Her numerous awards include the Global Award in 1989. Best Dancer Award 1991 by popular vote in British dance specialist magazine "Dance & Dancers", as dancer of the year. The Arts Encouragement Prize for Artists of the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Japan 2001.
In 2007, she received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) from HRH Queen Elizabeth II and the Purple Ribbon Medal for artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments from the Emperor of Japan as well as the British Critics Association UK Best Dancer Award. She also received the Mainichi Art Award in 2011 and DSC Award in 2012 and was recognized as a Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government in 2017. Received Kikuchi Kan Award in 2019.
She was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2004 and UNHCR Artist in 2012 and she has joined the Prix de Lausanne three times as a judge since 2009.
Since September 2018, she has served as an Artistic Consultant for Ballet & Dance at the New National Theatre, Tokyo. She is scheduled to become the Artistic Director of Ballet & Dance in September 2020.