English National Ballet's New Artistic Director Hopes to Shake Up Ailing Company

Classic Arts News   English National Ballet's New Artistic Director Hopes to Shake Up Ailing Company
In an interview with the London Times, Wayne Eagling, English National Ballet's new artistic director said he wanted to increase the number of the company's performances and shake up the repertoire.

Eagling was hired to replace Matz Skoog, who resigned suddenly at the end of March, after the U.K.'s Arts Council bailed out the company's Ô£2.3 million deficit.

"I would like to do more performances in London and the regions," he told the paper, noting that last year the company did only 92 shows in the U.K., "too little for a dance company of this size."

He added, "One you lose your public it's very difficult to get them back. . . A big company should act like a big company."

Although cognizant of the financial repercussions of expanding the season, Eagling doesn't equate solvency with too-careful programming. "If I'm told there is no money I will accept that," he said, "but it's not about coming to the end of the year and finding that you've done nothing but the books look good."

According to the Times, Eagling's plans include weaning the company from its traditional slate of ballets: Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet. "I would like to look back at the ENB repertoire," he said. "There are a lot of things that are never seen which made the company unique. Where are the Massine ballets? The Fokine?"

Among the choreographers whose works he would like to see the company perform, he listed David Dawson (resident choreographer at Dutch National Ballet, which Eagling directed from 1991 to 2003), Johan Inger, and Paul Lightfoot.

Eagling added that the rivalry between ENB and the Royal Ballet should result in "good healthy competition" beneficial to both companies and ultimately very good for the public.

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