Previously unseen footage of celebrated choreographer and The Royal Ballet’s former artistic director Sir Kenneth MacMillan will air as part of BBC Four’s forthcoming season celebrating dance.
A new documentary, Ballet’s Dark Knight – Sir Kenneth MacMillan, will explore the life and work of the dancer, who died from a heart attack backstage during a performance of one of his revived ballets in 1992, aged 62.
Sir Kenneth was known for his pioneering creativity in the world of ballet, and the programme will also include contributions from the likes of dancers Dame Darcey Bussell and Sir Anthony Dowell, as well as unseen family clips of him in action.
The film will form one of the highlights of the channel’s Dance Season, which will include a variety of broadcasts celebrating the UK’s dance scene.
Four new short films created in partnership with Sadler’s Wells will allow audiences to learn more about the current stars of the dance world.
One of the films will follow former Royal Ballet principal Zenaida Yanowsky and her battle to overcome knee surgery and regain her fitness to prepare for one of her final public performances.
The Olivier-nominated work of leading choreographer Michael Clark – to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll… song – will be broadcast for the first time, while The Wire actor Clarke Peters embarks on a personal journey to learn more about the origins and significance of tap dancing.
Another new film, Duet, will explore the role of the female in ballet, starring young Royal Ballet stars Yasmine Naghdi and Beatriz Stix-Brunell.
The BBC Young Dancer competition will return for its third year with entries for aspiring young dancers opening later in April, the BBC has also announced.
Jonty Claypole, director of BBC Arts, said: “Dance has the power to bring together different communities and generations in a shared love of creative expression.
“You only have to look at the extraordinary diversity of dance talent and audiences right across the UK to realise how successfully it fulfils this promise.
“The BBC can both reflect this and contribute to it as a creative organisation – and we relish the opportunity to share stories and productions more widely through broadcast.
“We are delighted to be working with our partners in the dance world to launch BBC Four’s dance season in May – as well as productions throughout the rest of the year.”
BBC Four’s Dance Season begins on Sunday May 6.