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Found 29 results

  1. On Saturday night Northern Ballet continued its innovatory trajectory by showing ten works of eleven of its dancers. There had only been a four week period for creation, interspersed with rehearsals for different works in the main repertory to be shown in Leeds and on tour. The workshop was co-curated by David Nixon, the director, and Kenneth Tindall, former NB dancer, now an increasingly successful choreographer. They both spoke before the performances. They stressed the need to be 'relevant', so some of the works related to political developments and current social issues. They talked of the increasing importance of film and digital developments. Consequently there were several films of the new works. David Nixon stressed how valuable the active engagement of the dancers had been in the creative process, even stating that in the future, instead of 'dance artists' he would call his dancers "collaborative dancers'. Surprisingly, perhaps, given NB's tradition of dramatic classical ballet, the company had brought in as teachers for a week each, a former Forsythe dancer and an Akram Khan assistant. This influence was evident as a number of the works were more contemporary than pure classical, most notably in the work by Sean Bates, one of the most classical dancers in the company. His work, Khadija, was influenced by the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and at the opening his use of a group of dancers was not unlike that of Crystal Pite. There were only a couple of classical style works, one, by Nicola Gervasi, inspired by words by Margaret Atwood, and portraying coping mechanisms in experiences of trauma, passionately danced by Victoria Gibson and Dreda Blow amongst others. Dreda Blow provided the most hilarious piece, funny despite her comments that it was initially inspired by Trump and widespread misogyny. Three of the most charismatic male dancers cavorted around in original movements. Other works were also influenced by reaction to Trump- Gavin McCaig's piece, which was also shown at the start as a film, used clips of Trump, Garage and others. Other social issues that inspired pieces included the personal alienation (my word) caused by undue dependence on digital communication (Data Flow, by Mariana Rodrigues) using quite mechanical movements, plus others focusing on sexual harassment If this account makes the evening sound rather worthy, it wasn't, it was very varied. All pieces were interesting, the dancers were very well rehearsed and showed their technical and performing qualities, The music was varied, one piece was to Tchaikovsky, others to Rachmaninov, one to minimalism (possibly Nixon in China: unfortunately there was no information on the cast sheet on the composers), others to popular music. One piece, by Mlindi Kulashe, was danced in silence. He told us that he was preparing a ballet for the mixed bill of new ballets programmed for September. This season has seen Northern Ballet develop in exciting new ways, with new works and the excellent MacMillan triple. This workshop demonstrated that the company is continuing to evolve , investing in its future.
  2. Thread for all the mixed-company MacMillan celebrations at the Royal Opera House this autumn. It kicks off tonight with Birmingham Royal Ballet in Concerto, Scottish Ballet in Le Baiser de la fée (or The Fairy's Kiss, if you prefer) and a mixed-company performance of Elite Syncopations, if I'm not mistaken. And to start us off, here's a link back to David's notes on Le Baiser de la fée
  3. Northern Ballet is in Bradford from 05-07 October with their mixed programme "A Celebration of Sir Kenneth MacMillan" comprising Concerto, Las Hermanas and Gloria. Please use this thread to record your thoughts on the performances. Here is a short film released by the Company:
  4. It is the world premiere of Northern Ballet's Little Mermaid in Southampton on Thursday. If any members are going to see this production please put your thoughts here. The Company have released a short film of Abigail Prudames talking about creating the title role:
  5. Northern Ballet today released a press release today announcing they are doing two 'surprise' performances of Casanova at Manchester Palace Theatre on 4 and 5 August. Ticket are limited, as not all seats in the house will be on sale due to the production being filmed for broadcast!! Details of tickets on their website. Happy news!!!
  6. Northern Ballet's Casanova has its world premiere in Leeds on Saturday. Please use this thread to give us your thoughts on the production. Northern Ballet has got a comprehensive mini-site with photogallery, scenario, trailer and more: https://northernballet.com/casanova/mini#firstFrame The BBC has also published a photogallery: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-39179575 I will be reporting back after the premiere!
  7. Northern Ballet has just announced that they will be dancing 3 of MacMillan's one act masterpieces to commemorate him: Concerto, Las Hermanas, Gloria. Performances will take place in Bradford (October5-7, 2017) and Leeds (March 16-17, 2018)
  8. Northern Ballet has revived David Nixon's Beauty and the Beast for this section of the Autumn/Winter tour. As part of a mega-day out, I saw the matinee in Nottingham on Thursday afternoon. This production has a delightful charm about it - there are lots of laughs and some darker moments. The basis of the scenario is as we know it - the Prince is vain and is turned into a Beast by an "old woman" whom he spurns. The Old Woman turns out to be a bad-tempered fairy. Her curse is partially lifted by a Good Fairy who says that he can be redeemed by true love. Beauty's family is in dire straits. Her Dad goes into the woods to search for food and comes across the Beast's castle. He takes a rose, which enrages the beast and he is forced to agree to send one of his daughters to the Beast. Of course Beauty goes, goes from terror to love and the Beast is redeemed. Cue happy ending! The Prince and The Beast are played by different dancers which allows for the most beautiful and moving trio at the start of Act 2. The Beast is remembering himself in human form and his human form dances with Beauty. The scene with the bailiffs in Act 1 is absolutely hilarious! It may not be the greatest of David Nixon's works but it is great fun and a delight for all the family! On Thursday afternoon I saw Mlindi Kulashe as The Beast. He brought out all the pathos in the role and proved yet again that he is a wonderful actor. Ayami Miyata was sublime as Beauty and Joseph Taylor was an elegant Prince.
  9. Just saw this in Canterbury and was very pleased. Sadly not sold out but some very good dancing and a lovely little orchestra. I think the Macmillan choreography is a masterpiece, but this was interesting and quite exciting. Short. The friar has a hugely extended role and it all happens on a smallish stage which I guess is also the case in Leeds. Anyone else seen it? I'd be curious to hear views.
  10. Last week Northern Ballet danced Wuthering Heights in the Quarry Theatre of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. As I was in Amsterdam for the Dutch National Ballet's opening night gala for much of last week I had intended to give the season a miss this year. I had seen Wuthering Heights in Sheffield and Bradford the year before and I prefer other works in its repertoire. I hasten to add that is not because there is anything wrong with the choreography or dancing but I am not a big Bronte fan and Wuthering Heights is my least favourite work by those sisters. Give me Jane Austen any time. Her novels are set in rather more agreeable places than the benighted heaths of 18th century Yorkshire and I might add that her characters are somewhat less disagreeable people. I was persuaded to check the West Yorkshire Playhouse on Friday night by the excellent review that Janet McNulty kindly contributed to Terpsichore and was glad to find that there were still a few tickets left for Friday night. Of the three performances that I have seen over the 18 months or so last Friday's was by far the most enjoyable. Brookes-Daw was a vivacious and passionate Cathy and Dixon was the perfect Heathcliff. Jenny Hackwell and Maria Topliss's were their younger selves. Giuliano Contadini was a great Heathcliff and Pippa Moore represented a sweet and besotted Isabella. The West Yorkshire Playhouse is only a few hundred yards from the company's premises at Quarry Hill and audiences there are fanatically loyal to Northern Ballet. The auditorium is in amphitheatre form and seats about 750 so it has an intimate atmosphere. I think the audience must give the dancers a life and they reciprocate by making a special effort. The net result was a very enjoyable show. Some members of the audience actually gave them a standing ovation. After the show Kiara Flavin and Gavin McCaig, two of the company's younger members, stayed behind to answer questions from the audience. I learned several things that I did not know before from the Q & A. I had featured McCaig in Terpsichore a few years ago so I know him better than most of the dancers and I am glad to see his progress in the company. If anyone is interested, David Nixon, the artistic director of Northern Ballet, will appear at the London Ballet Circle, Civil Service Club, New Scotland Yard off Whitehall at 19:30 on 28 Nov 2016. That meeting is open to all members of the public.
  11. Yesterday Northern Ballet held its second choreographic lab entitled "Tell Tale Steps 2 Narrative Ballet" at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in the premises that the company shares with Phoenix Dance Theatre in Leeds. It consisted of a panel discussion and then five short performances of works by Charlotte Edmonds, Carlos Pons Guerra and Morgann Runacre-Temple and Northern Ballet's Tobias Batley and Lucia Solari. Although Edmonds's work was the most polished.Guerra's the most dramatic and Runacre-Temple's the most fun I was impressed by Batley's and Solari's. The discussion was also interesting, particularly the contribution from Geraldine Morris of Roehampton University. If anyone is interested I have added a note on the evening to my blog.
  12. Northern Ballet prepares for World Première of Jane Eyre Join one of literature’s most iconic heroines on a journey of courage, romance and tragedy with the World Première of Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre. Based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë and performed during the 200th anniversary of her birth, Northern Ballet will bring this beautiful love story to life at the Cast theatre in Doncaster from 19 – 21 May 2016before commencing a national tour to Richmond, Aylesbury, Wolverhampton, Stoke and Leicester until June 2016. Orphaned at a young age and cruelly treated by her Aunt, Jane Eyre is a plain but intelligent child who grows up knowing little kindness. Sent away to a charitable school, Jane later accepts a position as a Governess at Thornfield, a gentleman’s manor whose master is the dark and impassioned Mr Rochester. In spite of their social differences, an unlikely bond grows between the pair but as their romance develops, it becomes clear that Mr Rochester has a hidden past that threatens to ruin them both. The ultimate dramatic tale of romance, jealousy and dark secrets, Jane Eyre is the story of one woman’s indomitable spirit overcoming all boundaries. Jane Eyre is choreographed by internationally acclaimed British dance maker Cathy Marston who previously created the Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities for Northern Ballet in 2008. For this new production, Cathy has brought onboard composer Philip Feeney to compile and arrange a score for Jane Eyre made up of original compositions and existing work. In addition, Patrick Kinmonth, who has worked closely with photographer Mario Testino and has designed over 20 theatrical productions, will design the sets and costumes. Completing the creative team, Alastair West, whose Northern Ballet credits include Giselle, I Got Rhythm, A Christmas Carol and The Architect, will design the lighting. Cathy Marston said: ‘Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was a novel far ahead of its time and when I think of Jane I feel inspired by images of her passionate but 'impossible' relationship with Mr Rochester, the fire and emotional destruction symbolised by Bertha Mason - the infamous 'woman in the attic', the contrasting icy moorland through which she seems to run from one chapter of her life to another, and of course her final reunion with Rochester. But these images only touch the surface of a character and a book that continue to provoke and move - generation after generation, re-read after re-read.’ Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director David Nixon OBE said: ‘Having already adapted Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights it seems appropriate that Northern Ballet should also immortalise her sister’s Jane Eyre through dance and doing so in the bicentennial anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth makes it all the more special.’ Join Northern Ballet for this beautifully timeless tale told through the Company’s unique blend of classical ballet and drama. Tickets are on sale now, for more details and booking information visit northernballet.com/jane-eyre. -ENDS- Notes to Editors For more details of Northern Ballet's tour, on sale dates and booking information, please visit northernballet.com/whatson. Nominated for Outstanding Company at the 2015 National Dance Awards and voted Best Company at the 2014 TaglioniEuropean Ballet Awards, Northern Ballet is one of the UK’s five large ballet companies. Based in Leeds it performs throughout the UK as well as overseas. Northern Ballet’s productions mix classical dance and theatre, embracing popular culture and taking inspiration from literature, opera, or giving a unique interpretation of popular classical ballets. Northern Ballet is the busiest touring ballet company in the UK and is typically on the road for around 32 weeks of the year. The Company of 45 dancers tours a combination of full-length new work and established repertoire to cities throughout the UK. Northern Ballet also tours widely with its ballets for children, all four of which have been adapted for TV by CBeebies, and also performs a mixed programme showcasing the versatility of its dancers. Production Credits Choreography & Direction Cathy Marston Music Philip Feeney Set & Costume Design Patrick Kinmonth Lighting Design Alastair West Jane Eyre – Tour Dates Doncaster, Cast (World Première) 19 – 21 May 2016 Box Office 01302 303 959 castindoncaster.com Richmond Theatre 31 May – 1 Jun 2016 Box Office 0844 871 7651* atgtickets.com/richmond Aylesbury, Waterside Theatre 3 – 4 Jun 2016 Box Office 0844 871 7607* atgtickets.com/aylesbury Wolverhampton, Grand Theatre 10 – 11 Jun 2016 Box Office 01902 429 212 grandtheatre.co.uk Stoke, Regent Theatre 14 – 15 Jun 2016 Box Office 0844 871 7649* atgtickets.com/regent-theatre Leicester, Curve Theatre 17 – 18 Jun 2016 Box Office 0116 242 3595 curveonline.co.uk See northernballet.com/whatson for updates. Subject to change. *Calls to 0844 numbers are charged at up to 7p per minute plus your phone Company’s access charge.
  13. I have just received an email informing me that Northern Ballet's 1984 will be shown on BBC4 on 28th February! Susan
  14. Is this is a suitable show for a child? My DD (11) loves the ballet but not sure how obvious the story line is. Can anyone advice me
  15. The ballet was very warmly received, especially by those in the front rows and by the members of the company, who were in the best seats (meaning I couldn't couldn't book the seat I wanted!). Both the music and choreography were rather repetitive, perhaps necessarily so, given the theme of the book, although there are some nice solos for Martha Leebolt, as Julia, and one interesting pas de deux for Leebolt and Batley, which impressed people not very familiar with Macmillan. It's a fairly close depiction of the plot of the novel but cannot convey the philosophical complexities fundamental to the work. People unfamiliar with the novel may be confused about what is going on, unless they have bought the programme and managed to read the plot. The choreography for the Proles, and their costumes, were not sufficiently contrasted to those of Winston and his colleagues, and the Prole Woman is not characterised accurately- the audience might feel that Winston fancies her, while in the novel she fascinates him by her vulgarity rather than sexuality. But the dancers are very well rehearsed and individual dancers are convincing, Toby Batley and Martha Leebolt, in the leads but also Javier Torres who gives a chilling performance, very clearly danced. After Leeds, the ballet will be performed in seven theatres, culminating in London, Sadler's Wells, next May.
  16. Leeds summer school advice..

    Hello, has anyone done this summer school, if so, what was your experience? http://www.professionaldanceexperience.co.uk/summerballetcourseleeds.html Or can you recommend an alternative (non-residential) one in the Leeds area for a 12 year old girl, in July or the first half of August only?
  17. I don't think I have been as excited about a performance in the theatre as I am about tonight's Sapphire gala in Leeds since 24 July 1970 when I attended Sir Frederick Ashton's retirement gala. You can see a photo on the House's twitter stream here. Look at the line-up on the curtain call - Nureyev, Fonteyn, Helpmann, Beriosova, Sibley, Dowell and Sir Fred himself. Tonight I shall see many of my favourites of the present such as Parish, Klimentova and Muntagirov as well as my beloved Northern Ballet. Just look at the line-up for this evening. I am particularly looking forward to Javier Torres's interpretation of The Dying Swan as my mother saw Pavlova dance to the same music on the same stage. She must have been very young at the time but it made such an impression on her that she could describe every detail right until the end of her life. I shall be blogging about the performance and I shall try to cut and paste highlights from my review over the next few days.
  18. Northern Ballet are performing David Nixon's Dracula at the wonderful West Yorkshire Playhouse in September. The Company is currently in rehearsal and tweeted this picture today. It reveals 3 Draculas to whet our appetite - Toby Batley, Javier Torres and Giuliano Contadini
  19. Northern Ballet have advertised their summer school for 6-13 year olds of all dance levels. Here is the link to the page On our summer course you will explore Peter Pan's adventures in Neverland to inspire you to create your own story based on the characters and themes from this classic tale. You will take part in a daily ballet class as well as dance and storytelling sessions throughout the week with our expert teachers who will help you to turn your story into a captivating performance for your family and friends. So join us this summer for your chance to be creative, get moving and make memories with new friends. WhenMonday 18 - Thursday 21 August 2014 9.30am – 3.30pm WhereNorthern Ballet, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7PA Who forFor anyone aged 6 – 13 All dance experience levels How to book£120 (£110 with Breezecard)To book, or to find out more, email Shelley Firth at shelley.firth@northernballet.com or call 0113 220 8000
  20. Northern Ballet open their mixed programme at the Linbury tonight. Please use this thread for your thoughts on the performances. The Company has issued a short video of Lar Lubovitch talking about Concerto Six Twenty-two to whet your appetite!
  21. Northern Ballet announces UK Première of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo production of Romeo & Juliet Ahead of tonight’s Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s UK Première of LAC (After Swan Lake) at the London Coliseum, Northern Ballet has announced that it will open its spring 2015 season with the UK Première of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo production of Romeo & Juliet. The Leeds-based Company, which celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2015, will perform Romeo & Juliet at Edinburgh Festival Theatre from 26 – 28 February 2015, followed by Leeds Grand Theatre in March 2015, and a planned national tour in 2016. Set to Prokofiev’s unforgettable score, which will be played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, Romeo & Juliet is choreographed by acclaimed dance-maker Jean-Christophe Maillot, who has been invited by the Bolshoi Ballet to create a new version of The Taming of the Shrew this July. His beautiful interpretation captures the essence of what it means to be young and in love, and tells of the devastating tragedy that unfolds when tenderness and naivety is met with violence and pride. The tour will mark Northern Ballet’s first collaboration with Maillot and the first time that this production of Romeo & Juliet has been performed in the UK. Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, said: “I have chosen to add Jean-Christophe Maillot's interpretation of Romeo & Juliet to our repertoire as it is an inspired contemporary response to the classic play and his wonderful language will work convincingly with our dancers. I was also looking for a production that would provide a complete contrast and different point of view for our audience and artists from our present signature production of Christopher Gable, Massimo Moricone and Lez Brotherston’s Romeo & Juliet. We will not be losing this version from our repertoire but will be offering a new interpretation for our audiences to experience and to reflect upon. I am very honoured to be the first British company to present Jean-Christophe Maillot's work.” Mark Skipper, Northern Ballet’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Jean-Christophe Maillot for the first time and to be premièring his Romeo & Juliet in the UK during our 45th anniversary year. The Romeo & Juliet story has a special place in the hearts of the Northern Ballet audience and the opportunity to add this version to our repertoire is very exciting for our audience who can look forward to seeing it in the majority of our touring venues during 2015 and 2016.” Tickets for Edinburgh Festival Theatre will go on general sale on 28 April and can be booked online at edtheatres.com or by calling the box office on 0131 529 6000. Please check northernballet.com for updates on Leeds Grand Theatre on sale dates. -ENDS- Notes to Editors Northern Ballet is one of the UK’s five large ballet companies. Based in Leeds it performs throughout the UK as well as overseas. Northern Ballet’s productions mix classical dance and theatre, embracing popular culture and taking inspiration from literature, opera, or giving a unique interpretation of popular classical ballets. Northern Ballet is the busiest touring ballet company in the UK and is typically on the road for around 24 weeks of the year. The Company of 40 dancers tours a combination of new works and established repertoire to cities throughout the UK and is the only large scale ballet company to do so. Visit www.northernballet.com for more information on the Company and tour. Production images and information are available via the online media centre. Romeo & Juliet – Tour Dates Edinburgh Festival Theatre 26 – 28 February 2015 Box Office 0131 529 6000 edtheatres.com On sale 28 April 2014 Leeds Grand Theatre 4 – 12 March 2015 Box Office 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com On sale soon See northernballet.com for updates
  22. Oooh, I have just heard that a young friend of mine has got a place as a Northern Ballet JA for next year. She has been wanting to do that since she was about 6, and has been counting down the years til she could apply. Now her dream is coming true - really exciting! I hope there is good news for any of the forum DCs who auditioned. It sounds like a really great scheme.
  23. To create a ballet set in Ptolemaic Egypt at the time that Rome transitioned from republic to empire covering such momentous events as the assassination of Julius Caesar and the battle of Actium and featuring such important figures from history and literature as Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Augustus and Cleopatra was quite a challenge. Ashton never tried anything like that. Neither did Macmillan though he did tackle historical events in Anastasia and Mayerling. Nor, indeed, did any of the great choreographers of the imperial or soviet eras. The nearest I can think of is Spartacus which was set in the servile wars. David Nixon and Northern Ballet accepted that challenge and I think that they succeeded. I left the theatre quite dazed. Something that rarely happens to me and never before in ballet. The normal laudatory adjectives - even superlatives - will not do justice to this work so this will be a factual, possibly even clinical, review. The first thing that impressed me was that an enormous amount of work had been done not just by Nixon but also by the other members of the creative team and indeed Martha Leebolt who danced Cleopatra and for whom the role was created. In the programme she wrote that she had prepared for the ballet by reading lots of books, watching the film and everything on TV that she could find. She took in anything and everything because she was aware that even the smallest detail strengthens a character and makes it more realistic. This is a fascinating period of classical history that has interested me since the age of 7 and I know it well. I actually studied it formally for my A levels in Latin and Roman history and informally before and since. I have visited the temples and seen the artefacts of Hellenistic Egypt in the great museums around the world. Even though a ballet does not have to be a historical document it is clear that considerable trouble was taken to get the history and the artistic details right. For those who have yet to see the ballet the story and the characters are set out on the company's website. The score, specially composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg, can be downloaded from Amazon or i-tunes or heard by Spotify subscribers through the music page. The stage designs were spectacular and ingenious transporting the audience seamlessly from Wadjet's temple to Ptolemy's palace, a vessel in full sail, the streets and senate of Rome and back to Egypt. Equally impressive were the costumes from Cleopatra's regalia to the deities of ancient Egypt who appeared in the last scene as Cleopatra's spirit entered the afterlife. The choreography covered two murders, riots and commotion, a great battle, love scenes of Cleopatra with Ptolemy, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, Cleopatra's confrontation with Octavia and her worship of Wadjet and much more. I cannot begin to describe it all. There is only so much that the senses can absorb but there are sequences that stick particularly in my memory such as the opening and closing scenes of Cleopatra and Wadjet and the battle of wills between Cleopatra and Octavia. A stellar cast danced last night. On stage with Martha Leebolt were her handmaidens Charmian and Iris danced by Pippa Moore and Antoinette Brooks-Daw, three of the company's best. The other strong female role was Octavia performed by Hannah Bateman yet another star. For me, Octavia's encounter with Cleopatra in which both dancers showed their considerable acting skills was the high point of the evening. As for the men, there were impressive performances by Kenneth Tindall as Wadget, Javier Torresas Caesar and Tobias Batley as Mark Antony. Everyone danced well from principals downwards. This is a ballet that has to be seen more than once and probably many times to be appreciated fully. It is to be performed only in two theatres, The Grand in Leeds until 15 March and then The Lyceum in Sheffield between the 25 and 29 March 2014. We have had to wait since 2011 for the return of this work. Goodness knows how long we shall have to wait to see it again.
  24. Northern Ballet Academy Easter School

    My DD has applied for NBA Easter School in Leeds and she has to audition for a place on Sunday. I have just re-checked the website and it seems that this will be a preliminary audition with a possible final audition later in the month. Can anyone advise on whether this is the case as it seems rather a lot for just an Easter school. I am also interested to know if anyone can advise on the standard of the course as I am hearing conflicting views on whether it is of a good standard. I imagine that having to audition (possibly twice!) should mean it is of an excellent standard but just wanted posters views. Thanks.
  25. Northern Ballet Associates

    Hi there, Dc is thinking about applying to the Intermediate Associates. We don't know anyone who goes. Can anyone give any advice about class sizes, teaching quality etc? It looks great on the website. ... Thanks very much!