Five different pairs of dancers have taken on the roles of Cinderella and the Prince during the Birmingham season. But a number of well-established partnerships will not be appearing together, having been matched up with alternative opposites.

‘There are so many factors that you’ve got to take into consideration’, says Director David Bintley of casting Cinderella and the Prince.

‘Not all the Principals are dancing the role of Cinderella, and so their usual partners needed alternatives. Matt [Lawrence] dances with Gaylene [Cummerfield] a lot, but she was creating the part of one of Cinderella’s sisters, and so he needed putting with someone else.

‘As it was a new piece, I also felt it was an opportunity to experiment. While Cinderella and the Prince have a couple of very important pas de deux, for large portions of the story Cinderella is by herself. Because of this I felt we could take a risk and change some of the partnerships to avoid getting into a predictable area.

‘A lot of partnerships are based upon the fact that they have historically danced particular pieces together, and whenever those pieces come back into the repertory you’re hesitant to break up a successful pairing. Each time we do classical pieces like Romeo and Juliet, for instance, Chi [Cao] and Nao [Sakuma] dance together, because they have a similar temperament and a similar refinement of technique. In a narrative work however, there are other priorities, and so you need partnerships that will bring something new out of one another, to find a balance of technique and performance.’