English National Ballet looks to the future

Under the direction of new Artistic Director Designate Aaron S. Watkin, the English National Ballet has embraced both innovation and its immense tradition. Its 2023/2024 season will put these, at times, uneasy bedfellows to the test. 

English National Ballet’s new Artistic Director Designate Aaron S. Watkin

The new season seeks to take the company into its next chapter, showcasing the longstanding and immense talent of the company, as well as its great versatility. Therefore, the programme will include great classical works alongside ground-breaking new productions by some of the ballet world’s most exciting artists. 

Our Voices, a new triple bill, will open the season, spanning three diverse styles: classical ballet, neo-classical ballet and contemporary dance. The much-loved and visceral classical ballet, Les Noces, provides the foundation, honouring the tradition of large-scale ballet with its 100 year history. David Dawson’s latest creation, Four Last Songs, acts as the neo-classical ballet of the programme, a poignant work exploring the circle of life set to the final score by Richard Strauss. George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations will complete Our Voices, showcasing the virtuosity of the company with 13 couples taking to the stage in a visual and artistic delight. Audience favourites, including Giselle, Nutcracker and Swan Lake will also feature in the 2023/2024 season.

Alongside the company’s extensive performance schedule, the season will also continue numerous important initiatives that look to the future of ballet, particularly around its accessibility. Ballet Futures, a talent pipeline project for dancers from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, is one such example. It offers young people from across the UK that lack inroads into classical ballet the opportunity to participate in professional training from the company. Similarly, Ballet on Demand will continue to offer a wide range of audiences the opportunity to revisit some of the English National Ballet’s most iconic productions, from the comfort of their own home. 

With two world premieres, a UK premiere, a Company premiere and revivals of some of English National Ballet’s most loved works, the 2023/2024 season offers numerous opportunities to celebrate the full spectrum of ballet, from well-worn classics to innovative artistic expressions.