Two world premieres headline English National Ballet’s 2023/2024 season

Standing out in English National Ballet’s first season under new artistic director Aaron S. Watkin are two new ballets by American choreographer Andrea Miller and noted British dance-maker, David Dawson.

Miller’s ballet is a new interpretation of Les Noces, part of an Our Voices triple bill that opens the season at Sadler’s Wells (September 21-30, 2023) and that features works in three diverse styles: classical ballet, neo-classical ballet and contemporary dance. Les Noces will feature artwork by renowned sculptor Dame Phyllida Barlow. Presented in its centenary year, the visceral work sees the dancers joined on stage by a live chorus from Opera Holland Park, accompanied by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

The second new work, also on the Our Voices programme, is by leading neo-classical choreographer David Dawson, returning to English National Ballet for the first time in fifteen years. He will present Four Last Songs, an uplifting and poignant work that explores the beauty of humanity and the circle of life, set to the final score by Richard Strauss.

Dawson says, “I was introduced to Four Last Songs at the age of 19 and it has been a constant presence in my life ever since; through all of my experiences, a true companion. It is an honour for me to be able to create this new ballet to a piece of music that is so close to my heart.”

Completing Our Voices is George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, much loved but new to English National Ballet’s repertoire. The ballet will feature new set and designs by Roberta Guidi di Bagno.

Akram Khan’s Giselle
(pictured: Stina Quagebeur as Myrtha with Jeffrey Cirio as Albrecht)
Photo Laurent Liotardo

The autumn also sees the return of Akram Khan’s Giselle with performances in Manchester (October 19-21) and Bristol (October 26-28). Mary Skeaping’s production of Giselle will then bring in the new year at the London Coliseum (January 11-21, 2024).

Continuing English National Ballet’s tradition of presenting a version of Nutcracker every year since 1950, the ballet returns for Christmas with performances in Southampton (November 30- December 2) and the London Coliseum (December 14-January 7).

Spring 2024 brings the UK Premiere of Johan Inger’s award-winning Carmen, originally created for Spain’s Compania Nacional de Danza. Set to a score by Bizet and Shchedrin with new music from Spanish composer Marc Álvarez, it’s a bold reinterpretation by a choreographer whose work is seen rarely in the UK. Carmen is at Sadler’s Wells from March 27-April 6.

Summer sees the return of the company to the Royal Albert Hall and what is surely one of the biggest spectacles in ballet, Derek Deane’s Swan Lake in-the-round (June 12-23).

For the first time since 2019, English National Ballet and English National Ballet School present My First Ballet: Swan Lake at London’s Peacock Theatre over Easter 2024. The specially adapted version of the world’s most iconic ballet sees a narrator guide the audience along, making ballet accessible to audiences as young as three. The run will also include a relaxed performance as part of My First Inclusive Ballet outreach programme as well as a series of on-stage family workshops.

The company’s always popular Emerging Dancer evening will return in May 2024.

Following a successful pilot last year, Ballet Futures, a talent pipeline project to incentivise young people from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to participate in professional training, continues. Alongside schools in Birmingham, East London, Leicester, and West London, the programme is expanding to include the Adagio School of Dance in Brentwood, Essex.

Elsewhere, 2023 also marks the reimagining of ENBYouthCo, now in its 11th year and continuing to nurture talent and creativity through co-creation and performance opportunities.

Pioneering programmes including Dance for Parkinson’s, which will be delivered via six national hubs and online, and dementia initiative Mindful Movers, delivered in care homes in East London, will continue. The season also sees Ballet Explored, a flagship project aimed at secondary school pupils in areas with low arts provision, and Re-Play, an annual community performance platform for English National Ballet’s Engagement, Youth and Community dance groups from across East London.

Aaron S. Watkin
Photo Ian Whalen

Of his first season as artistic director of English National Ballet, Watkin says: “Being entrusted to lead this brilliant organisation is a privilege, and I am so grateful to be able to show audiences my vision for English National Ballet. Representing the diversity of ballet, this season demonstrates the immense talent this company has to offer. By pairing works from some of the greatest classical choreographers of all time with visceral new works by some of the most exciting artists working today and artists who are currently underrepresented in the UK, I believe we are showcasing the full potential of this brilliant artform for audiences across the country. I am proud to build on Tamara’s legacy and will continue to forge innovation and embrace the great tradition of classical ballet. I am excited to bring the whole company and our audiences on this journey, as we take English National Ballet into the next chapter in its rich history.”

For more details on the season visit