If you have never considered taking a trip to the ballet, now could be your perfect chance to give it a try as the Birmingham Royal Ballet bring their show [Un]leashed to the Hippodrome.
This triple-bill performance is a stunning collection of ballets, bringing together traditional and contemporary styles that will surely please newcomers to the art form as well as aficionados.
There is a strong female theme to the programme, as all dances are by female choreographers and key roles occupied by female members of the company. The first section of the show is a series of lyric pieces put together by Jessica Lang set to the music of Edvard Grieg.
The set design here is minimalist but impressively innovative, with dancers alone on stage apart from snaking concertinas of black paper which are manipulated during the performance and incorporated into the dances.
The second section is a modern piece called A Sense of Time, choreographed by Didy Veldman. The staging for this piece is also a sight to behold, consisting of a spinning wall of old-style suitcases that the dancers use to climb on and through.
They do this to the haunting part-orchestral, part-electronic music by Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of Sergei Prokofiev, the composer of the music for the final performance of the show, the classic Peter and the Wolf.
Continuing the modern influences in [Un]leashed, this interpretation of Peteris set in an urban environment with dancers clothed in appropriate street wear and the lead played by a female dancer. This contrasts effectively with the traditional setting of a rural meadow, and this version also sees a huge frame of scaffolding used to symbolise the tree in the story.
However unique the staging though, this does not distract from the timeless and magical Prokofiev score that we all know, which is interpreted superbly. In this final section, the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s depiction of the different animal characters is always entertaining, with stunning choreography by Ruth Brill. A great ending to a varied programme – and one that should not