Birmingham Royal Ballet promotions and new joiners for 2018/19

Birmingham Royal Ballet: Beatrice Parma and Chi Cao in rehearsal for The Nutcracker. Photo by Ty Singleton

As the 2017/18 season comes to a close, Birmingham Royal Ballet gives the details of promotions and new joiners for the upcoming season.

14 exciting promotions, including Yasuo Atsuji being promoted to Principal, and more than 10 new joiners!

The following dancers where promoted: 

Yasuo Atsuji is promoted from First Soloist to Principal

Yvette Knight is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist
Brandon Lawrence is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist
Maureya Lebowitz is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist
Miki Mizutani is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist
Yaoqian Shang is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist

Karla Doorbar is promoted from First Artist to Soloist
Max Maslen is promoted from First Artist to Soloist
Lachlan Monaghan is promoted from First Artist to Soloist

Aitor Galende is promoted from Artist to First Artist
Beatrice Parma is promoted from Artist to First Artist
Brooke Ray is promoted from Artist to First Artist
Edivaldo Souza da Silva is promoted from Artist to First Artist
Daria Stanciulescu is promoted from Artist to First Artist

Brooke Ray. Photo Richard Battye
Brooke Ray. Photo Richard Battye

The following dancers join the company:

August Generalli will join as an Artist from Boston Ballet II
Alexander Yap will join as an Artist from Northern Ballet
Louis Cohen, graduate of the English National Ballet School, will join as an Artist
Callum Findlay-White, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist
Tori Forsyth-Hecken, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist
Isabella Howard, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist
Yu Kurihara, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist
Lennart Steegen, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist
Yuki Sugiura, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist

Eilish Small, graduate of the Australian Ballet School, joined as an Artist earlier in 2018

Joseph Taylor, graduate of Elmhurst Ballet School, will join as an Apprentice for the 2018/19 season. Joseph is the recipient of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Elmhurst Ballet School Award for Excellence.

The following dancers leave the company:

Eight dancers, including Principals Nao Sakuma, Chi Cao and Jenna Roberts, took their final curtain calls at the end of the season following long and successful careers.

After joining the Company together in 1995, Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao have led Birmingham Royal Ballet in the classical repertoire for 23 years.

Both renowned for their refined, virtuoso technique and sensitive dramatic interpretations, the pair have enjoyed a beautifully matched partnership.

Together, they have produced outstanding performances throughout their careers, shining particularly in the 19th century classics of Swan LakeThe Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

Together they created the Spring pas de deux in David Bintley’s The Seasons and the leading roles of Sylvia and Amynta in his revised Sylvia.

Jenna Roberts joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2003 and progressed rapidly through the Company, becoming a Principal in 2012.

Jenna has danced, with great versatility, the leading roles in Swan LakeThe NutcrackerThe Sleeping BeautyCoppéliaDaphnis and Chloë and Cinderella.

A favourite with audiences in Birmingham and the Company’s touring venues, she is particularly celebrated for her moving portrayal of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.

Additionally, she has created roles in Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces, Alexander Whitley’s Kin., Michael Corder’s Le Baiser de la fée and David Bintley’s The Tempest.

Feargus Campbell, William Bracewell, Brandon Lawrence and Valentin Olovyannikov in Call to Arms in Coppélia. Photo by Andrew Ross
Feargus Campbell, William Bracewell, Brandon Lawrence and Valentin Olovyannikov in Call to Arms in Coppélia. Photo by Andrew Ross

Soloist Feargus Campbell leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after 13 years, during which time he has proved a highly valuable and popular member of the Company.

His varied repertory includes Paris and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Bottom and Demetrius in The Dream, Benno in Swan Lake, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and many roles in David Bintley’s ballets, including Carmina BuranaCinderellaThe Prince of the Pagodas andThe King Dances.

Feargus is due to start the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at the University of Law in Birmingham, with a view to becoming a Barrister.

Artist Anna Monleon leaves the Company after six years. Her performances include the White Cat in The Sleeping Beauty, Mrs Dimple in Pineapple Poll, Lead Czárdás and Mazurka in Coppélia, the Spanish Dance in The Nutcracker and Harlots in Romeo and Juliet. Anna is moving back to Spain to pursue a new career.

Artist Brogan McKelvey also leaves the Company at the end of the 2017/18 season to pursue choreographic and production opportunities across the country.

Claudia Nicholson leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after completing a year-long apprenticeship. After a wonderful season working with her hometown company, she is looking to experience the challenge of working and living somewhere new.

Jade Wallace also leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after completing a year-long apprenticeship. Jade is continuing to look for her next performing opportunity.

As previously announced, after an incredible 19-year career with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Principal Iain Mackay retired from the Company in early 2018, giving his final performance as part of an Evening of Music and Dance in a specially choreographedSpartacus pas de deux created by David Bintley and, at Iain’s request, Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux. Both were danced with Jenna Roberts, with whom he shared a special on-stage artistic relationship.

Artist Elisabetta Formento left the Company earlier this year to join Dutch National Ballet corps de ballet. 

The Birmingham Royal Ballet Beyond Words 2018/19 season opens with La Fille mal gardée at Birmingham Hippodrome, 26-29 September.

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