David Bintley is to retire as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet at the end of July 2019, having led the company for 24 years. He plans to then pursue increasing international requests to choreograph new works and to stage his ballets.
He says, “I’ve been a part of this great Company since I first joined as a boy, forty two years ago. I’ve had the even greater privilege of leading Birmingham Royal Ballet for the past 23 years, and I’d like to thank everyone who’s been a part of our wonderful ‘family’ during that time. Whatever the future may hold for me I will look back on these years as being the pinnacle of my life in dance and the ones which brought me the greatest artistic and personal joy”.
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Chair, Professor Michael Clarke says, “Since David Bintley took over from Sir Peter Wright in 1995, he has taken Birmingham Royal Ballet from strength to strength, cementing the Company’s place as the custodian of the 19th-century classics and 20th-century masterpieces. He has also ensured BRB has continued to create new works and innovate. The sheer breadth of his work speaks volumes. David has choreographed more than ten full-length and 12 one-act ballets for the Company. Additionally, he has commissioned a further 21 ballets by guest and company choreographers, with four more world premieres due to be presented in his final season.
“The Board would like to sincerely thank David for all he has done for Birmingham Royal Ballet and his devotion to the Company and we wish him every success for the future.”
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2018/19 season will celebrate David Bintley’s choreography including The King Dances (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2003), and Hobson’s Choice (1989).
It’s difficult to see an obvious successor, especially if the company wants a British choreographer-director, although neither of those have to be givens, and there could be advantages in not having a choreographer as director in particular. Would they go overseas? The company are talking about a ‘global search’. Will they play safe? Will they be brave and look for someone who will take the repertory forward? Whatever, Birmingham audiences will be watching closely for who it might be. presumably, the board will insist on the company’s heritage ballets being maintained but it will be interesting to see what new repertory a new director would introduce.