The Royal Ballet returns to live performances with 21st Century Choreographers, a celebration of some of today's finest international choreographers. The dancers are reunited on their home stage of the Royal Opera House in a programme featuring work by Christopher Wheeldon, Crystal Pite and a world premiere by Kyle Abraham, his first work for The Royal Ballet.
Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour opens the programme and makes a welcome return having been so warmly received by audiences and critics last autumn when it was performed as part of The Royal Ballet: Live. Within the Golden Hour was originally created for San Francisco Ballet in 2008 and was brought into the Royal Ballet repertory in 2016 and is regarded as one of Wheeldon's finest works. The ballet is set to music by Ezio Bosso and Antonio Vivaldi and features dazzling costumes by Jasper Conran.
New work is at the very heart of The Royal Ballet, now more than ever as we finally return to live performances, and we are thrilled that in the 2021/22 Season we will be presenting a world premiere by American choreographer Kyle Abraham. Acclaimed for his fusion of dance styles, Abraham has created works for his own company A.I.M and for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and New York City Ballet, as well as solo works for celebrated American Ballet Theatre principals Misty Copeland and Calvin Royal III. He performed in the Linbury Theatre in his duet with Wendy Whelan for Restless Creature in 2014. In anticipation of this exciting commission for March 2022, Abraham has been in London getting to know the Company and has created a short work for this programme featuring the talents of Royal Ballet Principals Natalia Osipova and Marcelino Sambé and Royal Ballet Artist Stanisław Węgrzyn.
Following the Olivier Award winning success of Flight Pattern, her first work for The Royal Ballet in 2017, the extraordinary imagination of Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite is demonstrated again in two works created for Nederlands Dans Theater and performed for the first time by The Royal Ballet. The shadowy depths of human nature and boardroom politics are explored in the riveting dance-drama of The Statement contrasted with an atmospheric evocation of winter in Solo Echo, inspired by a poem by Mark Strand and the melancholy beauty of Brahms's sonatas for cello and piano.
Kevin O'Hare comments: ‘What better way to open our series of programmes returning to the stage than with Christopher Wheeldon's life-affirming Within the Golden Hour. It's been a delight to welcome Kyle Abraham to work with our fantastic dancers ahead of his one-act commission next Season. During this time of lockdown the dancers have loved immersing themselves in the work of Crystal Pite with the unique theatricality of The Statement and beautifully poignant Solo Echo which will complete the programme in a moment of reflection which feels right for this time.'
Within the Golden Hour
Anna Rose O'Sullivan, Vadim Muntagirov, Francesca Hayward, Valentino Zucchetti, Yasmine Naghdi, Ryoichi Hirano
New Kyle Abraham:
Natalia Osipova, Marcelino Sambé, Stanisław Węgrzyn*
Ashley Dean, Joseph Sissens, Kristen McNally, Calvin Richardson
Francesca Hayward, Isabella Gasparini, Hannah Grennell, Marcelino Sambé, Cesar Corrales, Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, Harry Churches