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Christopher Marney

Artistic Director of London City Ballet

Photographs by ASH

Christopher Marney chats to us ahead of London City Ballet’s visit to Bath to open their brand-new UK tour Resurgence, appearing at the Theatre Royal from 17th to 20th July, before dates in London, Europe, East Asia and America.

As a dancer, Christopher Marney worked internationally in leading principal roles for companies including Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Balletboyz, Gothenburg Ballet Sweden, Ballet Biarritz France and Bern Ballet Switzerland. The Critics Circle National Dance Awards nominated him for Outstanding Performance in Modern Dance two years in a row, as well as being included in Dance Europe’s Outstanding Male Dancer 2013 list. 

 

As a choreographer Christopher has created works for Ballet Black, English National Ballet’s Emerging dancer, The Four Seasons for the Joffrey Ballet Studio Company, Nutcracker at the British Museum, Eve at Sadler’s Wells and Lady Macbeth at the New National Theatre in Tokyo. His West End credits include choreography for McQueen The Play at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Tell Me On A Sunday at the St. James Theatre.

 

London City Ballet will tour for the first time in 30 years and the first performances are at the Theatre Royal Bath in July. Is it true that you have selected venues where the former company performed? 

 

The Resurgence tour includes performances at many of the former company's beloved venues in the UK including Theatre Royal Bath and we are all really looking forward to opening the tour there. Apart from performing in selected theatres in the UK, we’re also taking the tour internationally to Italy, Portugal, China and the Joyce Theater in New York.  

London City Ballet - Concerto - Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan - Dancers Ayca Anil and Mi

"The Resurgence tour includes performances at many of the former company's beloved venues in the UK including Theatre Royal Bath and we are all really looking forward to opening the tour there."

London City Ballet - Eve - Choreographer Christopher Marney - Dancers Kanika Skye-Carr and

You have revitalised a dance company that last performed 30 years ago. What was your motivation? Why not start a completely new company in your name?  

 

London City Ballet informed my own career. Seeing the company perform as a child stimulated my enthusiasm for the artform. I remember seeing the company perform in 1991 at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch Essex. When I saw London City Ballet perform on stage I realised that was what I wanted to do too. The aim is to offer new audiences the chance to see a variety of dance styles performed and to be captivated as I was. London City Ballet was formerly the resident company of Sadler’s Wells in London, patronised by the late Diana, Princess of Wales. After 18 years the original London City Ballet closed in 1996 and, after a break of nearly 30 years, we will return to touring in the UK and internationally this summer.  

 

As London City Ballet was an important part of my motivation to become a professional dancer and I was fortunate to meet Harold King, the company’s former director when I was training, the chance to revive a company so revered in the professional dance industry was exciting. 

 

You are a former principal dancer with New Adventures and you were the Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet Studio Company Chicago and Central School of Ballet in London. How does this experience inform your selection of dancers for the company on this tour?   

 

There are 14 dancers in London City Ballet, many of whom are former principals from leading dance companies. I have deliberately selected uniquely talented dancers at different stages of career and experience to best perform the range of works we have chosen for the tour. My aim was to select a range of dancers who reflect the present, a diverse group in ethnicity, experience, age and character. They originate from countries worldwide including Brazil, South Korea, UK, Romania, Canada, Spain and have garnered international recognition on some of the world’s best-known stages. Witnessing the way each influence the other with their passion for the artform makes watching rehearsals very exciting. 

Your career in the professional dance industry has been notable. Are there any experiences that stand out in your memory? 

 

There have been performance career highlights and those as a director and programmer of dance for other companies that have informed my progress and led me to the revival of London City Ballet. Having the freedom at the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago to programme work and run the studio company was an unforgettable experience. The combination of motivation, effort and pride in the company from all that worked there is a benchmark for what I aim to achieve in the UK.

Tell me about the Resurgence tour 

 

I am drawn to reviving past repertoire of influential choreographers alongside presenting dynamic new works from current dance talent. The aim is to pay homage to the original company while presenting engaging work for a new generation. 

 

The title Resurgence refers to the revival of the company and the opportunity to see choreography rarely seen in the UK. We will be performing the revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s 1972 one-act ballet Ballade, unseen in Europe for over 50 years. The repertoire also includes Ashley Page’s Larina Waltz marking the ballet’s 30th anniversary, and Olivier award-winner Arielle Smith premieres a new creation Five Dances. I’ll also be presenting a full company work called Eve which I created for its premiere at Sadler’s Wells in 2022. 

 

I hope that performing in Bath will encourage people who haven’t seen live dance performed to join us, as well as ballet fans. I’ve chosen works that are both beautiful and thrilling to watch on stage. 

 

London City Ballet present Resurgence at the Theatre Royal Bath from Wednesday 17th July to Saturday 20th July. To book tickets call the Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk

Win

two tickets to see London City Ballet present Resurgence at the Theatre Royal Bath on Thursday 18th July at 7.30pm. For a chance to win, simply click on the link and follow the steps.

to book tickets to see London City Ballet present Resurgence at the Theatre Royal Bath, simply click on the link and follow the steps.

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