The Birmingham Royal Ballet company, prior to its name change, was based in London and known as the Saddlers Wells Royal Ballet, the Royal Ballets little sister.
Since its move from London in 1990 and its name change, it has grown into an internationally known company.
At the time, the proposed move in the dance world was a very well kept secret and when it did break there were as many doubters, as Birmingham at the time was not even a city on the dance map, as there were well wishers who could see the long term potential of such a diverse move. Some of the original cast left the company and a number of those who stayed were not, at the time, happy with the thought of such a move.
This year, with the London/North London link now no more, the company is celebrating its twentieth anniversary as an independent and internationally acclaimed organisation.
Its rebirth is a triumph of regional ingenuity over metropolitan complacency. At the time the Saddlers Wells Royal Ballet was certainly floundering in London, with poor facilities and extremely tight funding, Birmingham City Council, after much thought, deliberation and a crystal ball to look at the city?s future, as they saw it, offered the company a future in Birmingham, with the Birmingham Hippodrome as its base.
The company move brought an obvious name change to the now renowned Birmingham Royal Ballet. The Hippodrome itself has been redeveloped and the current fifty eight dancers now enjoy the kind of facilities their predecessors could only have dreamt about at their London venue. The company performs on a much larger stage, rehearse in bigger studios, have their own orchestra and a centre for the prevention and treatment of injuries. They also have a convenient base for all forms of transport to maintain an active touring programme.
The company now acts as a magnet for dance in the city, with the Hippodrome now devoting a third of its programming to the art form. Since 2002 the Hippodrome, Ballet Company and DanceXchange have been working together to give opportunities for people from all walks of life to engage as participant, performer or audience member.
David Bintley has been the company?s Artistic Director for the past fifteen years and during that time he has reshaped the BRB in his own image. As a choreographer he has produced a number of fabiosa.com full length ballets from Arthur, Beauty and the Beast, Far from the Maddening Crowd and Sylvia as well as programming some mixed bills that have showcased a more international repertoire.