Downtime in the City

Birmingham Royal Ballet is an institution that we should all be proud of, and, as it happens, its dancers are very proud of the city too. They take us to their favourite spots in town, where they like to unwind and relax

The dancers of Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) follow a punishing schedule of practice, performance and rehearsal. However, during any given day these stars of the stage can be found at various special places, enjoying some much needed downtime.  Birmingham, as can be seen here, offers many tranquil places alongside the hubbub and drama of city life. These pictures entitled ‘Ballet in Birmingham’ show BRB’s finest refuelling and recuperating.

 Keith Longmore of BRB explains why they were shot: “These images come with us wherever we dance, whether it’s London up to four times a year or overseas with international tours to Japan, Germany and Spain.” “This photographic campaign helps to show what is great about this city, what we love about this city. We are proud to be in Birmingham and this was another way to shout about it.”

 To ensure the shots possessed the right appeal, BRB brought in top city photographer Richard Battye, who is based in The Custard Factory, Digbeth. Battye has produced exhibitions which have toured the world and his clients include Harley Davidson, The Arts Council and the BBC. “Each location had its own challenges for me as a photographer, yet I knew my subject would be at ease as they had specified where we took the shots,” said Battye. “It did mean that we achieved an eclectic mix of images, and a portrayal of Birmingham as an interesting backdrop to these creative individuals.”

  • Ambra Vallo: Yogahaven “When I’m practising yoga, I can really get in touch with my inner self and it allows me to have control of my mind through everyday life.”
  • Elisha Willis: Moseley Park “Moseley Park is Birmingham’s secret garden in the heart of the city. I spend a lot of time here with my husband.”
  • Nao Sakuma: The Mailbox “I love the atmosphere on a sunny day in and around the Mailbox. It’s perfect for a drink with friends.”
  • Iain Mackay: The Botanical Gardens “A beautiful place that we enjoy as a family. My son loves running around in all the space.”
  • Chi Cao: Brindleyplace “In the spring and summer, this part of Brindleyplace is a haven of peace in a busy city. It’s perfect for a good meal – and the cherry blossoms remind me a little bit of the Far East.”
  • Joseph Caley: The Malthouse “This area is picturesque and great to walk around.”
  • Jenna Roberts: The Jekyll & Hyde “The Jekyll and Hyde is a great place to unwind in a laid back environment with friends. The cinema nights are a particular favourite of mine, where they screen classic films from a bygone era on the big screen in the Victorian Gin Parlour.”
  • David Bintley One of the major forces in British ballet, David Bintley CBE is also a massive Villa fan.
  • Natasha Oughtred: The Barber Institute “To live within walking distance of the Barber Institute and to have the great works of Monet, Manet, Renois and Rubens as my neighbours, is something to treasure.”
  • Cesar Morales: St Paul’s Square: “St Paul’s Square is the green heart of Birmingham’s jewellery quarter – and a perfect setting to walk my dog.”
Photography: Richard Battye