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English National Ballet ‘brings women’s voices to the fore’ in new production

Raymonda will be reworked to be set in the Crimean War.

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Tamara Rojo (Matt Crossick/PA)

Tamara Rojo (Matt Crossick/PA)

Tamara Rojo (Matt Crossick/PA)

English National Ballet will bring “women’s voices to the fore” in a new production inspired by Florence Nightingale.

Tamara Rojo, the company’s artistic director and lead principal dancer, will direct and choreograph her first ballet.

She will create a new version of the classic 19th century ballet Raymonda, featuring “women’s voices” and “a heroine in command of her own destiny”.

The story, usually set during the Crusades, will take place in the Crimean War, drawing on the “spirit and work of the women supporting the war effort, including Florence Nightingale”, on the 200th anniversary of her birth.

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English National Ballet’s Nutcracker (Laurent Liotardo)

English National Ballet’s Nutcracker (Laurent Liotardo)

English National Ballet’s Nutcracker (Laurent Liotardo)

Rojo said: “It continues to be a part of my vision for English National Ballet to look at classics with fresh eyes, to make them relevant, find new contexts, amplify new voices and ultimately evolve the art form.

“Raymonda is a beautiful ballet – extraordinary music, exquisite and intricate choreography – with a female lead who I felt deserved more of a voice, more agency in her own story.”

Raymonda will premiere at Palace Theatre, Manchester, before going on a UK tour.

Creature by Akram Khan will also tour, while Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum for the festive period and a triple bill of works will be performed at Sadler’s Wells in The Forsythe Evening as part of English National Ballet’s 2020-21 season.

PA