English National Ballet in 2024/25: New Season, New Nutcracker

English National Ballet’s 75th Season

  • World premiere of English National Ballet’s new production of Nutcracker choreographed by Artistic Director, Aaron S. Watkin and Arielle Smith
  • The Forsythe Programme to be performed at Sadler’s Wells, featuring the world premiere of a new work created for English National Ballet by William Forsythe
  • Akram Khan’s Giselle returns to London for the first time since 2019
  • English National Ballet marks its 75th Season with a free, 10-day digital celebration
  • Extensive programme of Engagement work offered alongside performances

English National Ballet is thrilled to announce plans for its 75th Season, running from September 2024 – June 2025. Featuring two world premieres, a Company premiere and the return of audience favourites, English National Ballet’s 75th Season celebrates tradition whilst forging innovation – an ethos that has shaped the Company’s rich history and will inspire its future.

Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Aaron S. Watkin, said: ‘In this, English National Ballet’s 75th Season, we will be celebrating the myriad ways that ballet can excite, entertain, and inspire. Be it the renewal of a beloved classic with our new Nutcracker, cherished revivals, or a return to the ground-breaking works of Akram Khan and William Forsythe – this is a season that showcases the many wonderful things that ballet can offer.

I am thrilled that English National Ballet continues to attract world-class creative talent. I can’t wait to have Arielle Smith and William Forsythe back in our studios to create work and I know our dancers will be inspired by their presence.

Finally, its hugely important to me that we welcome as many people as possible to celebrate our 75th Season with us. I am therefore delighted that we will be presenting a free digital celebration that will enable us to connect with ballet fans and new audiences alike, all around the world.

Having been seen by over 156,000 people in ten countries and 16 cities around the world, Akram Khan’s Giselle opens English National Ballet’s 2024/2025 Season with a return to London (Sadler’s Wells) for the first time since 2019. In this acclaimed reimagining of the iconic ballet, Khan tells a story of love, betrayal, and redemption. The production features an imposing set designed by Academy Award-winner Tim Yip and a powerful score by Vincenzo Lamagna.

Offering audiences the opportunity to see two versions of one of the great Romantic ballets in the same season, Mary Skeaping’s Gisellewill also be performed, touring to the Liverpool Empire and Manchester’s Palace Theatre in the autumn, before returning to the London Coliseum in January 2025. With its beautiful classical language and thoughtful staging, this Giselle features some of ballet’s most dramatic scenes and otherworldly images.

Christmas 2024 will see the world premiere of a new production of the classic festive ballet, Nutcracker, choreographed by English National Ballet’s Artistic Director Aaron S. Watkin and Olivier Award-winning choreographer Arielle Smith. The production will take audiences on a fantastical adventure as they join Clara on her journey of discovery, from Edwardian London to the Land of Sweets & Delights. Nutcracker is bought to life by exquisite dancing, spectacular new costumes and sets by Dick Bird, lighting by Paul Pyant, and Tchaikovsky’s instantly recognisable score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

English National Ballet’s Artistic Director and joint choreographer of Nutcracker, Aaron S. Watkin, said: ‘Nutcracker holds a special place in English National Ballet’s history and in the hearts of our audiences. The Company has performed a version of it every year since it was founded in 1950 and it is an honour to be working with Arielle and Dick, to bring new magic and wonder to this much-loved ballet.

Continuing the Company’s commitment to UK touring and sharing world-class ballet with the widest possible audience, Nutcracker will receive its world premiere at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre before performances at the London Coliseum. For the first time, English National Ballet will present a relaxed performance of Nutcracker, at the London Coliseum on 9 January 2025. The creation of this new production has been made possible by Charles Holloway, Lead Supporter of Nutcracker.

In spring 2025, English National Ballet returns to Sadler’s Wells, London, with The Forsythe Programme, a triple bill showcasing highlights of master choreographer, William Forsythe’s, broad catalogue of work. Combining ballet classicism and athleticism with the music of Barry White, Natalie Cole and Khalid to name just a few, audience favourite, Playlist (EP) returns alongside New Suite, an arrangement of eight earlier pas de deux set to scores by Händel, Berio and Bach, presented by English National Ballet for the first time. Completing the programme is the world premiere of a new work created for the Company in which Forsythe takes inspiration from the second movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 in C major Op.26; ‘Tema con Variazioni’.

For younger audiences, English National Ballet and English National Ballet School revive My First Ballet: Swan Lake at Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue, the Peacock Theatre, in April 2025. The perfect introduction to the artform, this is a specially adapted version of the world’s most iconic ballet. Featuring choreography by Antonio Castilla, English National Ballet’s Repetiteur, and with a narrator to guide the audience, the production is accessible to children aged three upwards. The run will also include a relaxed performance as part of the My First Inclusive Ballet outreach programme as well as a series of on-stage family workshops.

In summer 2025, English National Ballet continues its investment in Emerging Talent programmes with the launch of Choreo Labs – a supportive and inspiring environment for Company dancers to develop their skills and explore new choreographic ideas. Open to dancers across the Company, the series will culminate with an in-house sharing session. Choreo Labs is part of English National Ballet’s future commitment to create a wider Emerging Talent performance programme, which will bring together its existing Emerging Dancer event and Choreo Labs.

To mark English National Ballet’s 75th Season, a free, 10-day digital celebration will be presented in June 2025. Showcasing English National Ballet’s past, present and future, ENB@75 will feature performance excerpts filmed especially in the Company’s in-house Holloway Production Studio as well as interviews, archive footage and exclusive behind-the-scenes insight. Recognising the important role digital content plays in engaging and inspiring new audiences, English National Ballet offers this as a free to view event. This will be an inclusive opportunity for online audiences around the world to celebrate with the Company at this significant moment in its history.

2024/2025 marks Music Director, Maria Seletskaja’s, first full season in post. Alongside Principal Guest Conductor, Gavin Sutherland, Seletskaja will conduct English National Ballet Philharmonic for performances of Akram Khan’s Giselle, Mary Skeaping’s Giselle and Nutcracker. Also conducting performances of Nutcracker are Daniel Parkinson and Kingsley Lin.

With its extensive Engagement programme for 2024/2025, English National Ballet continues to be a leader in creative health and learning and participation practice. The Shared Ground Space Scheme and co-curated Ideas Incubation Labs provide valuable platforms for artist development and support. Alongside this, English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s, an evidence-based programme delivered nationally via six hub partners, and Dance for Dementia, offer creative health interventions that contribute to better health and well-being through artistry, creativity and community. Insights into the creative industries continue to be offered through our schools programme, Ballet Explored, and there will be celebrations of co-created dance from our youth companies and community performance groups through Re-Play, an annual sharing platform at English National Ballet’s studios. Following its launch in February 2024, the Company’s Ballet Club for children, young people and families resident in Newham, east London, also returns for the 2024/2025 season.

Ballet Futures, English National Ballet’s talent pipeline project to incentivise children from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds (African Diaspora, Caribbean, South Asian and South East Asian heritage) to participate in professional training, continues throughout 2024/2025. Now with over thirty students across five schools nationally, this year will see the inclusion of further performance opportunities for the programme’s participants.

English National Ballet’s plans for international touring will be announced in due course.

On-sale Information:

Mary Skeaping’s Giselle and the new Nutcracker open for priority booking to Friends/Members on Friday 16 February 2024, with general booking open from 21 February 2024.

Tickets for Arkam Khan’s Giselle will be available in spring 2024 and for The Forsythe Programme and My First Ballet: Swan Lake in autumn 2024.

For full details CLICK HERE.


English National Ballet – Emerging Dancer 2024, Sadler’s Wells, London on Friday 24 May, 7.30pm

For more information CLICK HERE

Celebrating the talent of tomorrow’s stars, English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer returns to a live audience at Sadler’s Wells, London this year, on Friday 24 May.

Emerging Dancer recognises the excellence of English National Ballet’s artists. Selected by their peers, six promising dancers showcase their technical accomplishments and artistry in front of an eminent panel of expert judges, before one is named the winner of the Emerging Dancer Award.

The 2024 finalists are: Anna Ciriano, Breanna Foad, Shunhei Fuchiyama, Jose María Lorca Menchón, Thiago Pereira and Anna-Babette Winkler

Aaron S. Watkin, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, said: I am delighted to see the Company coming together to celebrate some of our most talented colleagues. Emerging Dancer spotlights the future of ballet, and it’s always a privilege to watch the nominees shine on stage. I wish the six finalists the best of luck and I truly hope they enjoy the process of learning and growing.

This year’s event will be hosted by Aaron S. Watkin, Artistic Director of English National Ballet. The esteemed judging panel comprises: Amanda Britton MA, Chief Executive, Principal and Artistic Director of Rambert School; Monica Zamora, Former Principal Dancer of Birmingham Royal Ballet; Freddie Opoku-Addaie, Artistic Director and CEO of Dance Umbrella; and Edward Watson MBE, Former Principal Dancer of The Royal Ballet.

The event also includes the presentation of the People’s Choice Award, a public vote decided by audience members throughout the season, and the Corps de Ballet Award, given by the Artistic team to an Artist of the Company who has gone above and beyond, both on stage and off.

There will be special performances by previous Emerging Dancer winner Eric Snyder and People’s Choice winner Precious Adams.

Emerging Dancer 2024 will be filmed and made available to stream for free on English National Ballet’s YouTube channel in the week following the event, for a limited time only.

English National Ballet announces appointment of Maria Seletskaja as new Music Director

Maria Seletskaja started her career as a professional ballet dancer performing with leading companies around the world, before making the transition to conductor. She studied music theory, harmony, and orchestration at Berklee College of Music in Boston and during her final years as a dancer, was also an assistant conductor at Stuttgart Ballet where she made her conducting debut in April 2017. Since 2018, Seletskaja has dedicated herself to conducting, working with prestigious ballet companies including The National Ballet of Canada where she was Conductor-in-Residence, San Francisco Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and most recently, Paris Opera Ballet, where she conducted Soirée Robbins (review here).

Aaron. S. Watkin, English National Ballet’s Artistic Director, said:Maria’s innate understanding of the art form gives her a unique perspective, which, alongside her energy and intelligence, are a perfect fit for Music Director at English National Ballet. I am excited to work together and look forward to welcoming her to the Company.

Maria Seletskaja said: Taking up the position of Music Director at English National Ballet marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in my professional life, which I am thrilled about. I am looking forward to working alongside English National Ballet’s Artistic Director, Aaron Watkin, and sharing my love of music with the wonderful musicians of English National Ballet Philharmonic, the dancers, and of course, our audiences.

Working closely with the Artistic Director, the role of Music Director will see Seletskaja oversee the creative direction and quality of music at English National Ballet and English National Ballet Philharmonic, as well as leadership of the Music Department.

Seletskaja will conduct with English National Ballet at performances of Nutcracker and Swan Lake in-the-round in January and June 2024 respectively, before starting her full-time role as Music Director at the beginning of the 2024-2025 Season.

Seletskaja takes over from previous Music Director, Gavin Sutherland, who continues to work with English National Ballet as Principal Guest Conductor.

English National Ballet’s 2023/2024 Season

  • Artistic Director Designate Aaron S. Watkin’s first season for English National Ballet
  • Includes two world premieres, a UK premiere and a Company premiere
  • New works from David Dawson, Andrea Miller and the UK premiere of Johan Inger’s Carmen
  • George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations to be performed by English National Ballet for the first time
  • Akram Khan’s Giselle and Mary Skeaping’s production performed in the same season
  • Derek Deane’s Swan Lake in-the-round returns to the Royal Albert Hall
  • Ballet Futures: The Pipeline Project expands following a successful pilot

English National Ballet has announced Principal Casting for returning productions in its 2023-2024 Season, the first to be programmed by new Artistic Director, Aaron S. Watkin.

In 2023-2024 there are two world premieres, a UK premiere, a Company premiere and revivals of some of English National Ballet’s most iconic works, the season represents the vast spectrum of ballet, forging innovation with ground-breaking new productions while continuing to honour the great tradition of large scale classical ballet.

Of his first season as Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Aaron S. Watkin said:Being entrusted to lead this brilliant organisation is a privilege. I am so grateful to be able to show audiences my vision for English National Ballet and share the immense talent and versatility this Company has to offer. By pairing works from some of the greatest classical choreographers with visceral new works by some of the most exciting artists working today I believe we are showcasing the full potential of this brilliant artform for audiences across the country. I am proud to build on Tamara’s legacy and will continue to forge innovation and embrace the great tradition of classical ballet. I am excited to bring the whole Company and our audiences on this journey, as we take English National Ballet into the next chapter in its rich history.

Opening the season at Sadler’s Wells (21 – 30 September) is a new triple bill, Our Voices featuring three ballets in three diverse styles: classical ballet, neo-classical ballet and contemporary dance, showcasing the strength and versatility of the Company.

Our Voices sees the World Premiere of a new interpretation of Les Noces by American choreographer Andrea Miller with artwork by renowned sculptor Dame Phyllida Barlow. Presented in its centenary year, Les Noces is a visceral piece that sees the dancers joined on stage by a live chorus from Opera Holland Park, accompanied by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

Returning to English National Ballet for the first time in 15 years, one of the world’s leading neo-classical choreographers, David Dawson presents the World Premiere of his latest creation Four Last Songs. An uplifting and poignant work, Four Last Songs explores the beauty of humanity and the circle of life, set to the final score by Richard Strauss.

Of Four Last Songs, David Dawson saidI was introduced to Four Last Songs at the age of 19 and it has been a constant presence in my life ever since – through all of my experiences, a true companion. It is an honour for me to be able to create this new ballet to a piece of music that is so close to my heart.

Completing the programme for Our Voices is Theme and Variations by one of the most influential choreographers in ballet, George Balanchine. New to English National Ballet’s repertoire, Theme and Variations sees 13 couples take to the stage in a beautiful showcase of virtuosity, featuring new set and designs for 2023 by Roberta Guidi di Bagno.

Having been seen by over 140,000 people in 10 countries and 16 cities around the world, Akram Khan’s Giselle returns with performances on tour this autumn in Manchester (19 – 21 October) and Bristol (26 – 28 October). In this acclaimed reimagining of the classic ballet, it tells the story of love, betrayal, and redemption, with an imposing set designed by Academy Award-winner Tim Yip.

Offering audiences the chance to see two versions of one of the great romantic ballets in the same season, Mary Skeaping’s production of Giselle returns to the London Coliseum in January 2024. With its classical language, Giselle features some of ballet’s most dramatic scenes and otherworldly images.

The magic of Christmas returns this festive season with Nutcracker on tour at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (30 November – 2 December) followed by performances at the London Coliseum this December. Continuing English National Ballet’s tradition of presenting a version of Nutcracker every year since 1950, this production has already been seen be over 800,000 people, bringing joy to audiences young and old.

At Sadler’s Wells in spring 2024 is the UK Premiere of Johan Inger’s award-winning Carmen. Originally created for Spain’s Compania Nacional de Danza, this two-act ballet tells the tragic love story of Carmen, Don José and the Toreador. Set to a score by Bizet and Shchedrin with new music from Spanish composer Marc Álvarez. Carmen offers audiences the chance to see a bold reimagining of this classic tragedy from Inger, whose work is rarely seen in the UK.

One of the biggest spectacles in ballet, Derek Deane’s Swan Lake in-the-round returns to the Royal Albert Hall in summer 2024. Over 100 performers, including 60 dancing swans, bring the classic love story to life on one of the world’s most famous stages. Featuring Tchaikovsky’s glorious score, performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic, Swan Lake in-the-round is perfect for both dedicated fans and first-time ballet goers.

For the first time since 2019 English National Ballet and English National Ballet School present My First Ballet: Swan Lake at the Peacock Theatre over Easter 2024. The perfect introduction to ballet, this specially adapted version of the world’s most iconic ballet sees a narrator guide the audience along, making ballet accessible to audiences as young as three. The run will also include a relaxed performance as part of My First Inclusive Ballet outreach programme as well as a series of on-stage family workshops.

Returning in May, Emerging Dancer shines a light on talent throughout the Company. This special event sees the finalists showcase their artistry on stage. Alongside the Emerging Dancer Award, the evening will also see the winner of the People’s Choice and Corps de Ballet Award announced.

Following a successful pilot last year, Ballet Futures, a talent pipeline project to incentivise young people from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to participate in professional training, continues this year. Alongside schools in Birmingham, East London, Leicester, and West London, Ballet Futures expands to include the Adagio School of Dance in Brentwood, Essex. 2023 also marks the reimagining of ENBYouthCo, now in its 11th year and continuing to nurture talent and creativity through co-creation and performance opportunities.

English National Ballet is an industry leader in creative engagement practice, with pioneering programmes including Dance for Parkinson’s, which this season will be delivered via six national hubs and as an online offer, and Dementia initiative Mindful Movers, delivered in care homes in East London. The season also sees Ballet Explored, our flagship project engaging pupils from secondary schools delivered in areas with low arts provision, and Re-Play, an annual community performance platform for English National Ballet’s Engagement, Youth and Community dance groups from across East London.

Launched as a direct response to the pandemic, English National Ballet’s online platforms – Ballet Active and Ballet on Demand – continue to expand the Company’s reach, engaging more people in ballet. With over 200 classes and counting, Ballet Active gives people the chance to access a huge variety of dance classes, from ballet to contemporary, flamenco to South Asian dance, led by some of the leading names in dance including Alleyne DanceJose Agudo and Sujata Banerjee. Ballet on Demand allows people to revisit some of English National Ballet’s iconic productions and specially commissioned films, available to rent or buy.

This season will also see the continued national and international distribution of Creature, a collaboration between English National Ballet, Academy Award winning director Asif Kapadia and Akram Khan. Hailed as ‘a new frontier for cinema’ (Little White Lies) Creature will also join Ballet on Demand on 22 May 2023.

For  information on how to book tickets  CLICK HERE.

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