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Cassa Pancho’s Black Ballet celebrates its 20th Anniversary with two new works.

They’ll present the Say It Loud / Black Sun mixed programme at Linbury Theatre, new to the Royal Opera House.

As part of Black History Month, they’ll explore the company’s colorful history and its effects on the British ballet landscape.

Black Ballet was founded in 2001 and has become an award-winning, Neo-classical ballet company committed to diversifying the ballet industry. 

The Company features international dancers of Black and Asian descent, with an entirely original repertoire that goes from classical work to contemporary pieces.

Their choreographers are Britain’s créme de la créme, including Shobana Jeyasingh, Will Tuckett, Sophie Laplane, Arthur Pita, Gregory Maqoma, and Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, and Mthuthuzeli November.

Previously, the Black British ballet business was dominated by white British people. Dance in Britain evolved through interactions with people worldwide and built on ancient social dance forms.

Despite taking influence from many African countries and people from the African Diaspora, the industry’s decision-makers were all white during the last few decades.

Even the Black British Dance label is too subjective. Looking into the history of dance through the lens of Black Ballet allows us to gain better insight into the inspirations behind the cultural manifestation of ballet.

Bailey is memory in movement and bodies, an important tradition for African heritage, carried through generations in the UK.

Cassa Pancho described the piece as one of the first pieces in the Ballet Black repertoire. 

When Pancho founded Ballet Black, he thought he’d have time to make dozens of choreographies for his company. 

It was then that he realized that maintaining a ballet company meant many responsibilities: fundraising, management, programming, marketing, and the choreographies themselves.

He had to program other choreographers to do work for Ballet Black, to assist, edit and rehearse for his dancers. 

Now, Ballet Black has over fifty ballets created by thirty-seven different choreographers. 

After twenty years of working behind the scenes, Pancho decided to get out of his choreographic retirement.

Say It Loud is the product of Cassa Pancho, marking Ballet Black’s twenty years milestone. This is a celebration of the past and present, divided into seven chapters.

Pancho and his dancers devised the choreography, and he stated that no one would find a more versatile, creative, and generous group of artists anywhere else.

He discovered that he had all the traits of the most challenging choreographers: changing the music, doubting himself, and being the last one to turn in his program note.

The performances will take place on Friday, 14 October, at 7:30 pm at The Coronet Theatre auditorium. 

Pricing is £16 standard and £10 concession. You can book your tickets at The Coronet Theatre’s website here.

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