Donors entirely fund new Birmingham Royal Ballet show

Principal dancer Ian MacKay said Aladdin was a great "first-time ballet" for people who had never seen one before

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A ballet entirely funded by donations is holding its premiere.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet said it believed Aladdin was the first British ballet paid for solely by members of the public and private enterprise.

The dance company said that as arts companies were seeing major cuts in funding, it was vital for them to find alternative sources of funding.

The fundraising campaign has been fronted by former Royal Ballet star Darcey Bussell.

Ballets in the past have been paid for with the help of funding from the Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.

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However, the city council faces having to make cuts of £615m by 2017 and the Arts Council will have its funding cut by a further £11.6m before 2015.

The company's development director Geoff Sweeney said that in austere times it was vital for arts groups to find new ways to fund themselves to survive.

He said: "Our audience are really demonstrating how much of a part that arts and culture - and ballet in particular - play in their lives. They are giving and encouraging others to do the same."

The show, at the Hippodrome, will run until 23 February.

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