Raymond Gubbay Launches Annual Dance Series at London's Coliseum

Classic Arts News   Raymond Gubbay Launches Annual Dance Series at London's Coliseum
Three major powers in the London performing arts world — Sadler's Wells Theatre, the impresario Raymond Gubbay and the management agency Askonas Holt — have joined forces to launch a new annual five-week season of international ballet. The first of these seasons, which will be held at the Coliseum theatre, opens in March 2008.

The collaboration is slated to last five years; during the five weeks of ballet, English National Opera, which normally performs at the Coliseum, will relocate to the much smaller Young Vic.

The first season includes performances from the New York City and Stuttgart Ballets, neither of which have performed in the U.K. for more than 20 years. Other confirmed artists include Carlos Acosta, Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant.

Gubbay told the London trade newspaper The Stage, "When we discovered the English National Opera was doing more work away from the Coliseum, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to use one of London's finest stages to showcase the world's best ballet talent."

What's on Stage quoted Gubbay as saying, "Companies like New York City Ballet are expensive to bring over and need a venue larger than Sadler's Wells to accommodate them. The Coliseum is an attractive venue in an attractive location that attracts people already in town, and our message is big and bold: come and see the most exceptional dance from around the world."

New York City Ballet opens the inaugural season with four different programs, followed by the Olivier Award-winning Stuttgart Ballet performing Romeo and Juliet. Carlos Acosta, starring with Guillem and Maliphant (with guests from the Royal Ballet and the modern dance company PUSH), will conclude the program.

Future programs may feature American Ballet Theatre and Paris Opera Ballet.

According to the London Evening Standard, Arts Council statistics imply that dance is the fastest-growing art form in Britain. Audiences at Sadler's Wells have reportedly risen by 30 per cent in the last three years.

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