Birmingham Royal Ballet will say farewell to Principal dancer Brandon Lawrence at the end of the 22/23 season when he leaves to join Ballett Zürich for Cathy Marston’s first season as Director.
Dancing from the age of 8, Brandon joined the Royal Ballet School in 2006 and continued his training until he joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2011. He was promoted to Soloist in 2016,
First Soloist two years later and was made Principal in 2019.
During his career dancing with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Brandon has been nominated for several dance awards and has created multiple roles with the company. Currently dancing Siegfried in BRB’s Swan Lake tour, performing at Edinburgh Festival Theatre on 30 March, his final performances will be in one of his favourite roles as the Zebra in Sir David Bintley’s ‘Still LIfe at the Penguin Café’, as well as Apollo and Interlinked, running from 8 – 10 June at Birmingham Hippodrome.
Brandon Lawrence said: “Over the last 12 years I’ve been afforded a career at Birmingham Royal Ballet which has more than exceeded my expectations of myself. Being part of Sir David Bintley’s and Carlos Acosta’s visions, including many new creations, as well as the much-loved heritage works, has been an ongoing highlight.
“The time has come for me to explore a new chapter beyond Birmingham Royal Ballet which will only build on everything I’ve learnt from my time dancing with the company, and learning from the highly skilled people who’ve walked through the doors. I’m forever grateful for the countless opportunities I’ve been given from new creations and LEAP work to Radio and TV.
“It has been an honour not just to have danced with the company, but also to have been a proud ambassador. My partnerships with Delia Mathews, Celine Gittens and Yijing Zhang; also dancing with Tzu-Chao Chou, Yaoqian Shang, Yvette Knight and Samara Downs will all hold a special place in my heart. There have been too many favourite roles and ballets at Birmingham Royal Ballet to mention, but to name a few Romeo, Siegfried, 3rd Seminarian in Carmina Burana, Othello in The Moors Pavane and Southern Cape Zebra in Still life at the Penguin Café (which will be the final role I perform for BRB) all stick out in my memory.
“Most recently working with Juliano Nunez on Interlinked, Carlos on his production of Don Quixote and partnering Polina Seminova in Sir Peter Wright’s Swan Lake have also been huge highlights.” Birmingham Royal Ballet will always be in my heart as the family who are in it together and there for each other. From August this year I will join Ballett Zürich as a Principal Dancer.’
Carlos Acosta said: “We are sorry to see Brandon go, but are excited for him in this new phase of his career. I have enjoyed working with him very much and not only is he an accomplished dancer, but also a warm-hearted person and it’s been great getting to know him, as well as work with him, over the past couple of years.
“I wish him the very best of luck with Ballett Zürich and look forward to seeing what he does next there. Everyone at Birmingham Royal Ballet will miss him.”
A colourful host of endangered animals seek shelter from the storm in Sir David Bintley’s ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café. Featuring a morris-dancing flea, a ballroom-dancing ram, a hoe-downing rat, a majestic zebra and many more, this is a witty and enjoyable, yet bittersweet and poignant look at humankind’s effect on the world. Danced to Simon Jeffes’s score, originally composed for the Penguin Café Orchestra, it was last performed by the Company in 2017, and was created in 1988 when Bintley was resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet.
Balanchine’s celebrated early masterpiece Apollo highlights the genius of its then 24-year-old creator, and launched his lifelong partnership with the composer Igor Stravinsky. This pristine ballet was regarded by Balanchine as his artistic coming of age. Its pared-back elegance gives the perfect platform for the Company’s dancers, and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, to shine.
Young Brazilian choreographer Juliano Nunes’s Interlinked was premiered in summer 2022 as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival. Featuring a specially composed score by Australian composer Luke Howard, and lighting design from Netherlands-based Northern Irish designer Tom Visser, this international team created an abstract piece that explores themes of unity, the influences that we have on each other’s lives, and how the energy that we exude bounces from one person to the next, in a never ending circle.
The piece for 16 dancers will also explore themes around gender identity and the perception of self, falling into four distinct movements.