Dance gets world’s first heavy metal ballet
In a rehearsal studio in central England, dancers are getting to grips with new, heavy metal-inspired ballet steps. Moving gracefully in unison, they team pirouettes with air guitar, leaps with head banging.
Welcome to "Black Sabbath - The Ballet," the brainchild of Cuban dance superstar Carlos Acosta, artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Determined to celebrate the cultural treasures of the U.K.'s second city since his arrival in 2020, Acosta took his idea to Black Sabbath co-founder and guitarist Tony Iommi, who gave it his blessing along with the group's original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.
"I was fascinated with the idea. I thought 'How are they going to do that'," Iommi, 75, told AFP in Birmingham.
"I just couldn't imagine how they'd do ballet to Black Sabbath and then I thought well maybe they're going to use the... softer tracks, but no they went for 'Black Sabbath', 'War Pigs', 'Iron Man'," he said. "I think I was just really intrigued."
The full-length, three-act ballet opens in Birmingham, the pioneering group's home city, in September before going on tour. Rehearsals have just begun.
According to writer Richard Thomas, the ballet is the "rags-to-riches story" of four young men who went from the "factory floor to one of the most successful bands in rock history," although he stressed it would not be a documentary set to music and dance.
The legendary group's original line-up was Osbourne, Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward.
They were instrumental in creating heavy metal in the early 1970s with dark and high-volume guitars coupled with a keen interest in the occult.
"It's very simple. It's like Black Sabbath meets the Birmingham Royal Ballet," Thomas said.
There would, however, be...