Another autumn, another new season. The Aston Villa mug in David Bintley's office has been joined by a new-look Villa shirt.

Back in the spring Birmingham Royal Ballet's director and I were comparing the respective squads at Villa Park and the Hippodrome. Both were depleted at the top but had plenty of young talent knocking on the door.

Since then Bintley, a Villa season-ticket holder, has been pleased with his counterpart Martin O'Neill's progress (we were talking before Sunday's setback at Manchester City), and has also added to his own team.

"Since the spring I've brought in five new youngsters and we've also acquired a soloist who has moved across from the Royal Ballet. So let's hope we can progress in the same way as Villa."

Next week the company returns to the Hippodrome with a revival of Bintley's full-length ballet Edward II, originally created for Stuttgart Ballet.

"We've just recently had a lot of theatres asking for it," he says. "Sadler's Wells were asking, Plymouth were hadn't been done for a long time."

Has he revised the production for this revival?

"Not more than I usually do - just little details. It's funny when a piece keeps coming back because all the problems you had when it was originally done, they seem to disappear. It's very strange.

"Another funny thing is what happens if I make a role that's very hard technically. For instance, in Carmina Burana there's a part for the Second Seminarian which Yuri Zhukov originally did, and no one else could do it until Bob Parker came along and danced the hell out of it.

"Since then a number of dancers have done it. It can't just be that the people are better, they must just approach it in a different way."

The Strictly Dancing triple bill this autumn combines Paquita and Twyla Tharp's recently-seen Nine Sinatra Songs with Frederick Ashton's Daphnis and Chloe, which is joining the BRB repertoire for the first time.

"The company hasn't done Paquita for a long time. I think it did it right at the beginning when it moved here.

"That's a very classical tutu traditional piece, and I'm trying to contrast that against Edward, which is a very masculine piece with not much for the girls. We only did Sinatra Songs in the spring but I think it went down well."

And then there is Daphnis and Chloe, which fills a gap in the company's Ashton repertoire.

"It's from the 1950s and that's a period of his work that's not really covered much by us. We are strong in the 60s and prior to that the 30s and 40s, but the 50s period was an interesting one, when he was being more experimental and breaking out of the confines of his romantic earlier work.

"It has designs by a British painter, John Craxton, and they're beautiful and very much of their time. There was a time when they appeared rather dated and they redesigned it, but now that period is coming back. The 1950s was a very important period - that was the birth of rock'n'roll and teen fashions, not the 1960s."

A recent ballet by Bintley which has already been performed on tour but won't have its Birmingham premiere until February also has a 1950s inspiration - just about. Dave Brubeck's jazz classic Take 5 was recorded in July, 1959.

In the spring season at the Hippodrome Bintley's Take 5 lines up in a new-look jazz triple bill, All That Jazz, with Duke Ellington's Shakespeare Suite and Colin Towns' Orpheus Suite.

Bintley explains: "I thought when I put all the Ellington pieces together with the Colin Towns' piece it was a bit too full-on for a whole evening. So I decided to take out the largest piece, which is Nutcracker Sweeties, and do something that would work better with the other two.

"That's why I went for the Brubeck Quartet. It's still fun, but very light, a little bit more classical and more cute."

Before that, BRB will return to Japan in January for its first visit in years. The company's absence from there, Bintley explains, has been to do with "political" reasons.

"Last time we went there we took Swan Lake and Coppelia and I went along for the trip, really, because I had nothing to do. The company was very well known for being Pete's [Sir Peter Wright's] company, and it's been taken over there to do the classics.

"Then I said to the Japanese promoter I would very much like to come back with a mix of classical and more recent work that represents what the company is at this time, but that was not what he wanted, so I said we would go elsewhere.

"A couple of years ago I was invited to the new National Theatre to do Carmina Burana there. It was very successful, and after that the old promoter got in touch and some people came to see Beauty and the Beast, which we did in Hong Kong. So that's what we're taking, and it's a step in the right direction."

Birmingham Royal Ballet performs Edward II from next Wednesday until October 6, and Strictly Dancing (Oct 3-6) at Birmingham Hippodrome (Box office: 0870 730 1234).