In the UK, at least, ballet has never really been accepted as art for the masses and surveys indicate that great temple of English and world ballet, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, continues to struggle to attract diverse audiences.
For the 2009/10 season, less than a quarter of audiences at the Royal Opera House were under 36 years of age, while just over half lived within 10 miles of the venue.
In an effort to break the mould once and for all, in June the Royal Ballet staged Romeo & Juliet to nightly audiences of around 12,000 at the O2 Arena in Greenwich. The company admitted to some creative concerns about conveying the intimacy of ballet to such a vast arena but hoped that a much larger venue - and a production befitting it - would help pull in a new generation of ballet fans.
It worked and, with the help of leading dancer Carlos Acosta, Romeo and Juliet at the O2 was a hit. Hot on Acosta's hardened heels comes the Birmingham Royal Ballet and cast of The Nutcracker, coming to the O2 between Christmas and the New Year.
Already a festive favourite, The Nutcracker has every chance of building on the success of Romeo & Juliet when it runs from 27th December until the 30th. Evening performances begin at 7.30PM on each of the four dates with a 2.00PM matinee on Wednesday 28th and Friday 30th.
We have tickets for all six shows available now, priced from £15 to £65.