David Bintley, director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, has accepted an invitation to become artistic director of the New National Theatre Ballet Company in Tokyo.
He will do the job alongside his post in Birmingham, spending about three months of the year in Japan from 2010, for an initial three-year period.
He will act as artistic adviser to the Tokyo company until taking up the artistic directorship in two years’ time.
Bintley produced his ballet Carmina Burana in Tokyo three years ago and is currently working on a production of Aladdin which will open there in November.
It is believed the new relationship will bring significant benefits to Birmingham Royal Ballet, raising the company’s profile in the Far East with opportunities to share repertoire, personnel and expertise.
“I was there starting work on Aladdin last November and that’s when they spoke to me about it,” Mr Bintley said on Thursday.
“We’ve been talking about it with the board since Christmas to see if we thought it was possible. Of course it’s wonderfully flattering for me and it’s a company with terrific potential, but I wouldn’t have even considered it if they had asked me to give up my day job in Brum.”
Christopher Barron, chief executive of BRB, said: “We are thrilled that David will be able to combine both posts, which we believe will create many opportunities for co-operation between the two companies, both on and off stage. It provides an even larger arena to showcase David, the company and what is excellent about the city of Birmingham and those people who live and work within it.”
In a statement issued on Thursday, the New National Theatre said: “David Bintley brings his excellent experience as an artistic director, his extraordinary talent which is acknowledged throughout the world and a deep respect from the dancers and the theatre. Under his direction, we look forward to seeing individuals at all levels of the company grow as they face new and exciting challenges.”
One area in which BRB may be able to export its expertise is in educational and outreach work, which is far more developed in Britain than in Japan.
“It means I can make better use of my time, because I do spend time here not doing much, believe it or not,” Mr Bintley said.
“We’re already talking about sharing productions. If Aladdin is a success I would love to bring it to Birmingham, and we have a Cinderella in the pipeline which the Japanese company might be interested in. That’s a new working relationship which could save us money.”