Vadim Muntagirov and Marienela Nuñez in the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake. Bill Cooper, Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing.

Mark Your Calendars! The Royal Ballet's 2019/20 Cinema Season Is Coming to North America

Get your popcorn ready! The Royal Ballet is making its way to select North American movie theaters starting November 26 as part of The Royal Opera House's 2019/20 LIVE Cinema Season. Filmed at London's Covent Garden, the season continues through the spring and includes seven ballet productions—some pre-recorded, some captured live—ranging from 19th century classics to world premieres by Cathy Marston and Wayne McGregor. "We make sure we really give a mix of what you can get at the Opera House," says Royal Ballet artistic director Kevin O'Hare. "The idea that you're never really far from the theater is a nice one, and it's caught on fast."


The cinema seasons have been beneficial to the company, as well. "We've been on tour to Japan and Los Angeles recently, and many in the audience were waiting for the dancers outside the stage door after the show, having seen them in cinema," says O'Hare.

The company typically makes a recording prior to the scheduled performance, "just as a little safety net," says O'Hare. "That way if there's a disaster—which thankfully hasn't happened—we can splice something in later." On the day of the broadcast performance, the dancers finish rehearsal an hour early to get into the zone. "I'm amazed by the artists, how they take it in stride," says O'Hare. "We have monitors backstage during the live relay so that the dancers can see what it's looking like."

Check out the 2019/20 cinema season below. Dates and availability vary for each screening; click on the links below and enter your city or zip code to find a participating movie theater near you, and use the "Choose Production" drop-down menu to see what's playing.

The Nutcracker

Before Royal Ballet principal Francesca Hayward makes her Hollywood film debut in Cats, catch her as Clara in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Hayward stars in the classic holiday ballet alongside principals Alexander Campbell, Lauren Cuthbertson, Federico Bonelli and principal character artist Gary Avis in this 2016 recording.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda Act III

This triple bill, captured earlier this fall, highlights the company's range. The program includes two British classics—Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Concerto, set to Shostakovich's "Piano Concerto No. 2," and Sir Frederick Ashton's Enigma Variations, to music by Edward Elgar. The performance concludes with the last act of Marius Petipa's Raymonda, adapted by Rudolf Nureyev and starring Natalia Osipova and Vadim Muntagirov.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Coppélia

Marianela Nu\u00f1ez, as Swanilda, looks at her reflection in a handheld mirror, She wears a red tutu. Behind her, Gary Avis, as Dr. Coppelius, reads a book. He wears a gray jacket and white-haired wig.

Gary Avis and Marianela Nuñez in Coppelia.

Gavin Smart, Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing

Ninette de Valois's charming production of Coppélia returns to The Royal Ballet this year, and is a welcome addition to the cinema series. Principals Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov will star as Swanilda and Franz, along with Gary Avis as Dr. Coppelius.

Click here for dates, times and movie theaters near you.

The Sleeping Beauty

Yasmine Nagdhi, in a pink Sleeping Beauty tutu, lies on a bed while Matthew Ball, in a taupe silk jacket and tights, stands over her.

Yasmine Nagdhi and Matthew Ball in The Sleeping Beauty.

Bill Cooper, Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing

Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli will star as Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund in this Petipa classic, with additional choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

The Cellist/Dances at a Gathering

Cathy Marston chronicles the life of famed concert musician Jacqueline DePré in the world premiere of The Cellist. "Lauren Cuthbertson will play Jacqueline DePré and Matthew Ball will be her husband, and then there's this idea of the cello, represented by another dancer, as the great love of her life," says O'Hare. "This will be great for cinema, because it's telling a story." Check out rehearsal footage for The Cellist above. Jerome Robbins' classic Dances at a Gathering rounds out the program.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Swan Lake

If you missed Liam Scarlett's new production of Swan Lake in 2018, you're in luck: The Royal Ballet is bringing this critically acclaimed production, with designs by John McFarlane, to cinemas this spring. Lauren Cuthbertson and first soloist William Bracewell are set to star in this Tchaikovsky classic.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

The Dante Project

This black and white image shows a mountain range.

Detail of postcard sketch (MOUNTAINS), 2007. Collage of Found Postcards. Courtesy Tacita Dean; Frith STreet Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery New York-Paris.

Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing

The Royal Ballet's cinema season closes with a world premiere: Wayne McGregor's Dante Project. McGregor, the company's resident choreographer, takes on Dante's Divine Comedy in collaboration with composer Thomas Adés, artist Tacita Dean, lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed. Part I, which is based on Dante's Inferno and premiered in July in Los Angeles, will feature Royal Ballet stars Edward Watson, Francesca Hayward, Marcelino Sambé and more. The rest of the ballet's casting is still TBA.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
THE GINGERB3ARDMEN, Courtesy Complexions Contemporary Ballet

How Jillian Davis Created Her Own Path to Complexions and Learned to Believe in Herself

It's impossible to miss Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Jillian Davis onstage. Tall and glamorous, her commanding stage presence, luxurious movement quality and intuitive musicality have made her one of the company's standout stars. But her road to Complexions was anything but linear. The 6'2" dancer worked tirelessly over several years to find her place in the dance world, ultimately reinventing herself and creating her own path to success. At a time when many early career dancers may be facing uncertainty, her story shows the power of resiliency.

Davis grew up on a dairy farm in Kutzstown, Pennsylvania, where she studied dance at a local studio and in the Philadelphia area, and took private lessons at home. She also started growing, shooting up seven inches over one summer. At 13, she and her family decided to take her daily training up a notch, commuting 100 miles each way to the Princeton Dance & Theater Studio, where she studied under Risa Kaplowitz and Susan Jaffe. By then she was already 5'7", and she soon realized—especially as she started learning how to partner—that her height might be an issue if she wanted to dance ballet professionally.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/21/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks