Developments in the art of dance take place all over the world and sometimes come from unexpected places. In striving to make interesting, international dance productions and dance artists visible in the Netherlands, the Holland Dance Festival is always looking for performances that add something special.
Following on from the successful Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2019 and the internationally celebrated Acosta Danza in 2023, Holland Dance Festival, in collaboration with Droom en Daad, is proud to present Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2024 with the world premiere of Māh. This performance can be seen exclusively at the new Luxor Theatre Rotterdam from Wednesday 12 to Saturday 15 June 2024.
“World premiere: full-length dance performance by Carlos Acosta's Birmingham Royal Ballet, inspired by Malala.”
Leading classical and contemporary ballet company Birmingham Royal Ballet is making its very first visit to the Netherlands. The company, which has been around for almost 100 years, opened a new chapter in its history when Carlos Acosta, the greatest male dancer of his generation, became artistic director in 2020. Besides preserving traditional repertoire, the Havana-born dancer, choreographer and visionary aims to expand the company's repertoire and break new ground, such as with Māh.
Created by five female choreographers
Māh is a new full-length ballet created by five female choreographers from around the world. Wubkje Kuindersma (Netherlands) is a freelance choreographer and Young Creative Associate with the Dutch National Ballet. Arielle Smith (UK) is an Olivier Award-winning choreographer working in dance theatre and film. Havana-born Iratxe Ansa from Spain performed with all the world's major dance companies before turning to choreography and her own company Metamorphosis Dance. Award-winning choreographer and performer Seeta Patel (UK) is a leading figure in the Bharatanatyam dance style and has her own company Seeta Patel Dance. Finally, choreographer Thais Suarez (Cuba), who recently worked with Acosta Danza on their 100% Cuban programme.
Māh is much more than a story
Together, these five choreographers respond to universal themes of education and women's rights, inspired by the life of courageous activist Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan, the youngest ever Nobel laureate. Shot in the face by the Taliban in 2012, she fled to Birmingham where she received specialist treatment, recovered, went to university and continued to live there.
Each of the five female choreographers takes a part, highlighting various themes around Malala's life and meaning. The performance thus becomes not a traditional narrative dance piece, but a reflection from different points of view on an inspiring woman and her extraordinary life story. The final direction of this collage performance lies with Acosta. Māh is a Persian word meaning moon, used throughout Central Asia.
Māh will have its world premiere at the new Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam on 12 June 2024. The production will then travel to Luxembourg, before premiering in the UK in the autumn at the Hippodrome Birmingham and at Sadler's Wells in London. Māh will be accompanied live by 18 musicians from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia with the collaboration of a local children's choir.