My husband Tim and I went to see Birmingham Royal Ballet at Malvern last week. I was struck by an interview with David Bintley, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, that appeared in the programme for the event, as it reminded me of what we have been learning at St. Peter’s Baptist Church as we explore the meaning of family within a church setting.

David Bintley is interviewed by Neil Norman, Chief Dance Critic of “The Stage”. Neil Norman says:

“There is a strong sense of morality that radiates through Bintley’s work and into his working methods that derives from his deeply held religious faith. Above all, it is the sense of a non-exclusive, extended family that lies at the heart of Bintley’s Company”.

Commenting on his work and faith, David Bintley suggests:

“If it’s something you fundamentally believe, it affects your entire life. The job of directing, by its very nature, means you inflict small disappointments on people almost every day, but I try to be as open, clear and honest as possible with the dancers. I was very determined when I began that I wanted the best for everyone – for everyone to maximise their potential, and therefore be happy in the Company”.

I was particularly struck by the words “non-exclusive” in relation to a ballet company, which, by definition, is very exclusive in it’s membership and where company members are competing with each other on a daily basis to catch the eye of the Director for the best parts. If David Bintley has established the strong sense of extended family in the Company, and ensures that his deeply held faith is acted out each day in his relationships with the dancers, it should be so much easier for us at St. Peter’s Baptist Church to nurture a non-exclusive family atmosphere where we’re not in competition with one another and can work towards maximising everyone’s potential in their faith and service.

Tim and I can highly recommend the Company’s contemporary version of “Peter and the Wolf”. Not a tutu in sight and set in an urban wasteland!