Ballet company to go on road with Acosta selection

Published: 18 April 2024
Reporter: Steve Orme

Choreographer Will Tuckett and the BRB2 cohort Credit: Imogen Harvey

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s BRB2 is to go on the road with more performances of Carlos Acosta's Classical Selection from “some of the very best young dancers from around the world”.

Acosta, director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, began BRB2 in spring 2023—an initiative in which the company sought out some of the best young ballet graduates from across the globe.

Now BRB2 is to present further performances of Carlos Acosta’s Classical Selection, a mixed programme of balletic highlights chosen by Acosta himself which will visit some venues for the first time.

All five original members of the 2023 cohort will join BRB as artists at the end of the current season. They are: Jack Easton, Frieda Kaden, Maïlène Katoch, Mason King and Oscar Kempsey Fagg.

The original cohort will be joined by five new members of the company selected by Carlos Acosta and assistant director Dominic Antonucci: Ariana Allen and Thomas Hazelby from the Royal Ballet School, Alisa Garkavenko from Ukraine, Alexandra Manuel from the USA who went to the Royal Ballet School and Alfie Shacklock from the UK and Australia who also attended the Royal Ballet School.

Alisa Garkavenko trained at Kyiv State Ballet School and Vaganova Ballet Academy in Ukraine. When Russia declared war on Ukraine, she was offered refuge at Monaco’s Princess Grace Academy before joining BRB2.

She said, “I think it’s really important to have junior companies like BRB2 because this kind of company gives the opportunity to young dancers to show their talent. It’s an incredible experience.”

Acosta said, “everyone was so delighted with how the inaugural year of BRB2 went. It's been a great year, watching the inaugural group of dancers grow and develop, and to welcome the second intake join and quickly establish themselves as vital members of the company.

“Many BRB2 artists are already taking important roles in the current tour of The Sleeping Beauty and I can’t be more thrilled that all of the initial intake will be joining the company full-time at the end of this season.

“It's not just about talent spotting though. My Classical Selection is a brilliant evening of ballet whether you’re an established fan or looking for a way to discover what ballet is all about.”

The programme for the 2024 UK tour includes the world première of Mirrored, a duet created by choreographer Will Tuckett for BRB2. Further pas de deux include Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody, August Bournonville’s most famous ballet La Sylphide, the love duet from Swan Lake and Acosta’s take on Fokine’s The Dying Swan which features two dancers instead of one.

Carlos Acosta's Classical Selection will open at Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham on Friday and Saturday, 10 and 11 May before visiting The Lighthouse in Poole, Northampton’s Royal and Derngate, Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and Peterborough’s New Theatre on Saturday 1 June.

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