Our history

Ballet Cymru was established in 1986 by Artistic Director, Darius James and Administrative Director, Yvonne Williams, to be a beacon for quality classical ballet in Wales.

Ballet Cymru initially experimented with a range of choreographers, created programmes of short works and responded to invitations to perform. The company, at this stage, commissioned works from Royal Ballet principal Jennifer Jackson and Isabelle Taylor from The Royal Swedish Ballet. This early experience helped form and direct the artistic policy of the company.

From 1990 until its first project grant from The Arts Council of England in 2003, Ballet Cymru survived without any funding at all. In 1997 the company produced breakthrough production A Midsummer Night’s Dream and received an outstanding review in The Sunday Telegraph from esteemed Ballet Critic Nicholas Dromgoole.

In 2004 Artistic Director Darius James, ceased performing to concentrate on the artistic direction of the company and in 2006 Ballet Cymru was awarded a Critics Circle National Dance Award, presented at Sadlers Wells in London. In 2008 Darius himself received a Creative Wales Major Awards from The Arts Council of Wales.

Ballet Cymru have always strived to produce new and exciting productions, whenever possible using original and live music. In 2008 the company collaborated with composer Thomas Hewitt Jones to produce Under Milk Wood, excerpts of which were performed at The National Assembly of Wales.

In 2009, Assistant Artistic Director Amy Doughty became the 5th Paul Hamlyn Foundation Jane Attenborough Dance in Education Fellow.

In 2011 Ballet Cymru were awarded Revenue Status by The Arts Council of Wales and for the first time could strategically plan more than a year ahead. This has led to outstanding collaborations with singer Cerys Matthews on TIR, harpist Catrin Finch on Celtic Concerto, singer Georgia Ruth on Week of Pines, composer Thomas Hewitt Jones on The Same Flame and with companies Coreo Cymru, Sinfonia Cymru, Rubicon Dance and Citrus Arts.

The company now co-produce one production a year with The Riverfront Theatre in Newport.

An award from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation in 2012 led to the formation of groundbreaking education programme DUETS, which is a large dance training programme particularly targeting children from disadvantaged backgrounds, diverse and excluded groups.

In 2013 Ballet Cymru were nominated as Best Independent Company at The Critics Circle National Dance Awards in London as well as receiving two nominations from the Theatre Critics of Wales for Best Production.

Ballet Cymru is committed to equality in dance and in 2013 started working with Gloucestershire Dance (GDance) on inspirational inclusive project Stuck In The Mud which was performed in Gloucestershire, Swansea, Newport Llandudno and Cardiff.

In 2014 the company won the Best Large Scale Dance Production for Romeo a Juliet at the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards. Also that year the company moved into its first premises in Newport which has allowed the company at last to store costumes, have offices to work, and a beautiful dance space to rehearse.

PRODUCTIONS 1986-2015

1986 to 1990 Commissions and small works
1991 Hiawatha
1992 Cinderella Mossycoat
1993 Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop
1994 Beauty and the Beast
1995 Cinderella
1996 Red Riding Hood and the Legend of Wolves
1997 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1998 The Tempest
1999 Twelfth Night
2000 As You Like It
2001 Romeo and Juliet
2002 The Taming of the Shrew
2003 The Lady of the Lake
2004 The Sleeping Beauty
2005 Hamlet; A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2006 The Canterbury Tales; Giselle
2007 Coppélia; The Bride of Flowers
2008 Under Milk Wood; Romeo & Juliet
2009 How Green Was My Valley; A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2010 Lady of the Lake; Giselle; New Works
2011 Beauty and the Beast; Under Milk Wood
2012 Roald Dahl’s Red Riding Hood & The Three Little Pigs; The Tempest; Cold Rolling, choreographed by Tanja Raman; Tir, featuring Cerys Matthews
2013 Romeo a Juliet; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Celtic Concerto featuring Catrin Finch; Stuck in the Mud
2014 The Same Flame; Week of Pines; Beauty and the BeastStuck in the Mud
2015 CinderellaTir, featuring Cerys MatthewsCeltic Concerto featuring Catrin Finch