10 Things We Love About British Ballet

Birmingham Royal Ballet's presence on social media is one of our "10 Things". Here BRB's Natasha Oughtred & Jamie Bond in Concerto Photo: BRB ©

Below is an extract of our first guest post for Behind Ballet, with our pick of the best in British ballet right now.

In case you didn’t know, Behind Ballet is the official blog of The Australian Ballet. They are one of our very favorites amongst company blogs. We have said of them before: “from ballet crossed over with fashion to mini features, this blog has a fantastic editorial team and regular features including interviews and competitions. Their high-end concept and structure are an example to online dance publications.” So imagine how thrilled we are to be collaborating with them:

The Australian Ballet is about to premiere British Liaisons, featuring three iconic 20th-century works that pay tribute to the company’s British beginnings. For our first guest blog here at Behind Ballet we prepared, directly from The Ballet Bag’s headquarters in London, this list of ten things we love about British Ballet:

British masters

British ballet originated in the theatre (via Old Vic manager Lilian Baylis). From de Valois and Tudor to Ashton and MacMillan, the great British choreographers have left behind a legacy of dance works with deep theatrical roots and some of the juiciest roles for dancers to tackle and for audiences to enjoy. Because of this, their abstract ballets often hint at a back story. Audiences watching Concerto will be able to imagine, in some of the movements in the central pas de deux, MacMillan’s muse Lynn Seymour stretching before class.

British companies and social media

Dance is having a big moment in the UK, thanks in part to TV exposure but also to social media networking. Companies like Birmingham Royal Ballet and Rambert Dance have realised that engaging with audiences is vital. Photo galleries, videoclips, discussion threads and a direct dialogue on Twitter have helped us discover what makes each such organisation diverse and unique.

Wayne McGregor

Breaking the line of succession in The Royal Ballet, McGregor said at the time of his appointment as resident choreographer that he would not try to be like Ashton or MacMillan. And he meant it. While MacMillan looked for inspiration in the human soul, McGregor is intent on examining the human body and the sensorial experiences and responses derived from it. These are concepts explored in his modern classic Chroma, now part of the repertory of several big ballet companies and also in Dyad 1929, created in 2009 for The Australian Ballet.

Ballet outside the opera house

We’re all for experimenting with small and big unusual venues to try and captivate new dance audiences. One of the coolest dance events of the year in the UK was The Royal Ballet’s takeover of Covent Garden’s Apple Store, to create, amidst iPads and MacBooks, a dance work inspired by Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Fantasy. We are now looking forward to the company’s performances of MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet at the O2, an indoor concert venue (Kings of Leon, Paramore and Pearl Jam have all played here) with a seating capacity of 23,000.

Lauren Cuthbertson

Royal Ballet Principal Lauren Cuthbertson is one of the company’s most versatile dancers. With her delicate, English rose looks, she is perfectly cast as Giselle or as Alice, the role she created earlier this year in Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Lauren has a strong personality which also makes her ideal for edgy McGregor pieces or as the lead ballerina in the upcoming (ultra-challenging) Ballo della Regina. Plus we love the fact that – along with the equally versatile Mara Galeazzi – Lauren is one of the few Royal Ballet female dancers who tweet (follow her @LondonBallerina).


For our next five picks, read the full post at Behind Ballet

We started The Ballet Bag in April 2009 with the mission to prove that ballet is not stuffy, old fashioned and inaccessible; that it is quite the opposite: relevant, fresh and topical. With the aim to Give Ballet a New Spin we try to show it under a different light. When writing our capsule biographies, ballet fact cards, review roundups and commentary on social media, we cross it over with other art forms and cultural references (pop culture, cinema, rock music – ie. other things we love!).


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  • May 20, 2011


    What I love about British Ballet – Christopher Wheeldon! His ‘After the Rain’ is a modern day masterpiece!