Tamara Rojo to choreograph and direct a new Raymonda for English National Ballet’s 2020-21 season

English National Ballet has announced details of its 2020-2021 Season, the highlights of which are a new production of the full-length Raymonda, to be choreographed and directed by the company’s artistic director Tamara Rojo, and a triple bill of works by William Forsythe to be performed at Sadler’s Wells.

A co-production with Finnish National Ballet, Rojo’s new version of the classic 19th-century ballet, Raymonda will be after Marius Petipa. Marking her first foray into choreography and direction, she will adapt the three-act production for today’s audiences, revisiting this important but rarely performed work which is not, in its entirety, in any other UK dance company repertoire.

Tamara RojoPhoto Karolina Kuras
Tamara Rojo
Photo Karolina Kuras

Bringing the story into the setting of the Crimean War and drawing inspiration from the spirit and work of the women supporting the war effort, including Florence Nightingale in this her bicentennial year, Rojo recasts Raymonda as a young woman with a calling to become a nurse. The new narrative and developed characterisation will bring women’s voices to the fore, and introduce a heroine in command of her own destiny.

Tamara Rojo says, “Raymonda is a beautiful ballet – extraordinary music, exquisite and intricate choreography – with a female lead who I felt deserved more of a voice. Working with my incredible creative team, I am setting Raymonda in a new context and adapting the narrative in order to bring something unique, relevant and inspiring to our audiences. I have truly enjoyed delving into the creative process of adapting and choreographing a large-scale ballet and have been inspired by Florence Nightingale’s drive and passion.”

The ballet will feature costume and set design by Antony McDonald, lighting by Mark Henderson, dramaturgy by Lucinda Coxon and character dances by Vadim Sirotin. Alexander Glazunov’s original score, arranged by Gavin Sutherland, will be performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

The world premiere of Raymonda will take place at Manchester’s Palace Theatre on October 15, 2020 before touring to Southampton, Milton Keynes and the London Coliseum.

Jeffrey Cirio, Nicky Henshall and Noam Durand rehearse CreaturePhoto Laurent Liotardo
Jeffrey Cirio, Nicky Henshall and Noam Durand rehearse Creature
Photo Laurent Liotardo

Also touring in 2020-21 will be Creature by Akram Khan. A co-Production between English National Ballet and Opera Ballet Vlaanderen (Royal Ballet of Flanders), Khan’s second full length ballet follows the success of Giselle. Following the world premiere of Creature at Sadler’s Wells in April 2020, the ballet will return to the theatre in November, when it can also be seen in Bristol.

Creature will receive its international premiere at Chicago’s Harris Theater in March 2021 during a tour which also sees performances of Akram Khan’s Giselle, presented by Danse Danse, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place de Arts in Montreal. Opera Ballet Vlaanderen will perform Creature in Autumn 2021.

Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum for the festive period. The performances mark English National Ballet’s 70th year of performing a production of the ballet, the company having done so since 1950 when it was founded.

Erik Woolhouse in William Forsythe's Playlist (Track 1, 2)Photo Laurent Liotardo
Erik Woolhouse in William Forsythe’s Playlist (Track 1, 2)
Photo Laurent Liotardo

April 2021 sees the company’s relationship with William Forsythe continue, with a triple bill of works to be performed at Sadler’s Wells. THE FORSYTHE EVENING will comprise the UK premiere of Blake Works I, which features the music of James Blake’s album, The Colour in Anything; alongside Approximate Sonata 2016, a series of deconstructed pas de deux first performed by English National Ballet in 2018; and the UK premiere of an extended version of Playlist (Track 1, 2), Playlist (EP).

Emerging Dancer will also return in Spring 2021, when English National Ballet and English National Ballet School’s My First Ballet: Swan Lake, an accessible production for children as young as three, will also tour.

Elsewhere, the company celebrates 10 years of its flagship Engagement programme, Dance for Parkinson’s that provides high quality dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s, their family, friends and carers. Since its launch in 2010, Dance for Parkinson’s has reached over 4,700 people and has expanded to include five hubs across the UK.

English National Ballet 2020-2021 Season Listings:

October 15-17, 2020
Raymonda; Palace Theatre, Manchester

October 21-24, 2020
Raymonda; Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

October 28-31, 2020
Raymonda; Milton Keynes Theatre

November 11-14, 2020
Creature by Akram Khan; Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London

November 18-21, 2020
Creature by Akram Khan; Bristol Hippodrome

December 10, 2020-January 3, 2021
Nutcracker; London Coliseum

January 7-16, 2021
Raymonda; London Coliseum

March 10-13, 2021
Akram Khan’s Giselle; Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place de Arts, Montreal, Canada

March 18-20, 2021
Creature by Akram Khan; Harris Theater, Chicago, USA

April 15-24, 2021
THE FORSYTHE EVENING; Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London

Dates for My First Ballet: Swan Lake and Emerging Dancer are still to be announced.

Note that performance details are subject to change. Visit www.ballet.org.uk for latest information.