IT’S little wonder that choreographer David Bintley should wish to mark his 20th anniversary year with a ballet that is not only his own creation but which also goes to the heart of the art.

In 1653, the 14-year-old Louis XIV of France danced the role of Apollo the sun god in Le Ballet de la Nuit. And from that time onwards, he would be known as the Sun King.

The King Dances is, in David Bintley’s own words, “freely based” on this 17th century piece, in which he re-imagines the genesis of ballet, a time when men ruled the world of dance.

And judging by the world premiere of Bintley’s magnificent creation, should the French king by some miracle return after nearly four centuries, he would undoubtedly be nodding his bewigged head in regal approval.

Bintley has fielded a strong, virtually all-male team, all of whom are at the top of their game. However, Iain Mackay (La Nuit, Le Diable, Cardinal Mazarin) and William Bracewell (Le Roi, Le Roi Soleil) are outstanding, the latter in particular drawing the audience like moths to his burning brilliance.

But the precious jewel set in the crown of this latter-day Sun King is without question Yijing Zhang, the sole female in the production. Her pas de deux with her golden boy to Stephen Montague’s occasionally overbearing score mesmerised a Birmingham Hippodrome capacity crowd eager to share Bintley’s night of glory.

This sense of high drama was maintained with the second piece of the evening, Carmina burana, what one suspects may have been a cathartic experience for its creator.

This was the first ballet that Bintley created for Birmingham Royal Ballet as Director. It revolves around an encounter with the overwhelmingly sexual Goddess Fortuna as she gives three lapsed Jesuit priests a major lesson in worldliness.

They are lured away from their sacred studies and embark on a life of hedonism. Soon they are awash with passion, love and alcohol.

Set to the music of Carl Orff, a composer usually associated with horror film scores, Bintley seems to be exorcising any number of demons, the piece heavy with religious and sexual imagery.

Giant crucifixes tower over lithe bodies dressed in little but G-strings and diaphanous tops, stock fantasy images combining with garish rock ‘n’ roll suits that personify the forbidden fruits of new freedoms.

And right on cue, rising BRB star Tyrone Singleton steps forward in the role of Sick with Love to find his perfect opposite number in Celine Gittens’, Fortuna, a role that was quite obviously made for her.

They were the very embodiment of the story. Singleton’s character is in turmoil, the deadly cocktail of guilt and desire overflowing a cup that he dare not – but cannot resist – lifting to his lips.

His face betrays everything… it is a long-held secret now laid bare, the cork well and truly out of the bottle.

Meanwhile, the predatory Fortuna goes about her mission, snapping up our innocent and bewildered boy with no more thought than a shark swallowing a sardine. The outcome is never in doubt, yet there is poetry and beauty in this slow but relentless death of innocence.

This double bill runs until Saturday (June 20) and is a fitting tribute to the art of David Bintley, one of the great choreographers of modern times.