• Home
  • /
  • Reviews
  • /
  • REVIEW | Fire and Fury | Birmingham Royal Ballet

REVIEW | Fire and Fury | Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Royal Ballet blend their more traditional style of David Bintley’s 2015 The King Dances with a contemporary piece Ignite which is part of the Ballet Now program for a thrilling evening of dance.

Bintley’s enthralling piece The King Dances is loosely based on Le Ballet de la nuit, the story of a young king who danced five roles in a 12 hour ballet. The King Dances focuses on the vulnerable young king who is exposed to a darkness that manifests inside him to create a triumphant king that is brimming with confidence. It explores the journey that male dancing took from its very beginnings in the Court of Louis XIV to the classical dancers of today. In this 38 minute version, Bintley captures the story in a sharp yet distinctly dramatic way.

Opening with a dark atmosphere, the sun is setting and the King is dancing into the night when he is overcome by Tyrone Singleton as La Nuit who tortures the king with overpowering monsters and spirits. Singleton has commanding stage presence that oozes ferocious strength and power. The baroque movement is slick and precise that begins to unravel to create huge grand gestures.

It’s a stimulating dance that has so much grandeur which makes the pas de deux between the king and the only female dancer on stage Yijing Zhang truly stunning. Split into four ‘watches’, the story progresses as the king dances through the night. The final few minutes when the king emerges from his nightmare to a dazzling sunbeam that captures his shimmering new nature is beautiful. 


Tyrone Singleton as La Nuit; photo: Andrew Ross


Inspired by a painting by William Turner titled The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, choreographer Juanjo Arqués captures the multitude of themes and emotions captured in the painting through expressive and dynamic movement. With the light and shade of the painting portrayed through the diversifying energy in the piece, we see both the fast-paced and frantic ensemble movement combined with the slick, graceful partnering between Brandon Lawrence and Celine Gittens. Dancing as the fire, the way they connect through movement really is electric as Lawrence and Gittens prove to be the perfect pairing.

Draped in silk shirts that flow across the dancer’s bodies creating a spectacle of colour, the pulsating movement is both exciting and enthralling as it translates the turbulent colours from the beauty of the painting to the vibrancy of the stage. It’s a dramatic and explosive piece of dance that is balanced by the beauty of Delia Mathews as the river who brings stillness and serenity to the chaotic movement. Arqués’ choreography showcases the sheer versatility of Birmingham Royal Ballet as they provide a charged piece of dance that is bursting with performance. It feels modern, fresh and totally exhilarating.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Fire and Fury is on tour across the UK this October including Birmingham, Plymouth and London. Tickets and information can be found online here.

Photo credit: Andrew Ross

Leave a Reply