An Interview with David Bintley, CBE – Durham University, Wednesday 13th March, 6.15pm

Professor David Fuller writes: Ballet has been one of the major forms of twentieth-century art. From the revolution of Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, ballet has attracted the talents of many of the most creative people in theatre, music, and visual art. Major composers (Debussy, Stravinsky, Ravel, Prokofiev, Bartok, Shostakovich, Poulenc, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Britten, Hindemith – you name it), as well as jazz (Scott Joplin, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, etc.) and other forms of modern and contemporary music (as in recent work by the Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer, Wayne McGregor, to songs by Boy George and the rapper Black Cobain). Diaghilev also began a tradition of using avant-garde visual artists in the creation of set designs and costume (Picasso, Bakst, Goncharova, Rouault); later designers have included some of the century’s notable painters, from Chagall to David Hockney. And popular stereotypes notwithstanding, many of the most important developments in ballet have been initiated by or carried forward by women – from Bronislava Nijinska, Isadora Duncan, Marie Rambert, Ninette de Valois, and Martha Graham to Twyla Tharp.

If your “knowledge” of ballet is based on glimpses of Petipa’s choreographies for Tchaikovsky, ‘An Interview with David Bintley’ offers an ideal opportunity to address your ignorance. Come and hear one of the most important figures in British dance, an internationally renowned choreographer and the director of Birmingham Royal Ballet:

As part of the public lecture series, ‘The Recovery of Beauty’, the Centre for Medical Humanities, the Department of English Studies, and the Institute of Advanced Studies of Durham University is hosting an interview with the Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and choreographer, David Bintley, CBE. This will take place on Wednesday 13th March, at 6.15. Elvet Riverside 201. The event will be suitable for advanced secondary school pupils, taking Dance at GCSE or A level.
David Bintley is one of the most distinguished figures in British ballet. Formerly a dancer himself, distinguished in character roles from the Fokine/Stravinsky Petrushka to the comedy of an Ugly Sister in Ashton’s Cinderella, he has been director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet since 1995. His choreographies for the BRB and the Royal Ballet have been extensively performed. His many works include the social comedy of Hobson’s Choice (1989), the political ecology of ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café (1988), the adventurous and original subjects of Edward II (1995) and the two-part Arthur (2000, 2002), and retellings of myth and fairy-tale – Sylvia (2009), Cinderella (2011). He has choreographed commissioned works for the Stuttgart Ballet and the National Ballet of Japan, of which he is also Artistic Director.
The interview will be concerned with a range of topics connected with the overall theme of the series, ‘The Recovery of Beauty’, and in reference to Bintley’s ballets such as ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café, Hobson’s Choice, and Cinderella, all of which are currently available on DVD.
All are welcome to attend. Entry is free. School teachers who would like to bring a group of GCSE or A-level students should contact Professor David Fuller.

About Centre for Medical Humanities

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One Response to An Interview with David Bintley, CBE – Durham University, Wednesday 13th March, 6.15pm

  1. I still find myself terrifically moved by David Bintley’s “Still Life from the Penguin Cafe”. So often, ballet doesn’t really matter, but here, all the elements of music, theater and dance coalesce into something greater than the sum of its parts. And the message is powerful. It makes you want to go out and rescue the world.

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