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Northern Ballet - The Nutcracker - Leeds - Winter 2015

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Northern Ballet are currently performing David Nixon's production of Nutcracker in Leeds (until 2nd January).  I was there for both performances yesterday.


David Nixon has chosen to set the ballet in Georgian London and the ladies' costumes in the party scene in Act 1 are particularly ravishing.  It is a traditional production with Drosselmeyer more a benevolent "uncle" rather than the slightly more sinister character we may see in other productions.  Clara's older sister and her boyfriend become Sugarplum and her Cavalier.


Both performances yesterday were a delight.  In the afternoon we saw the ravishing Rachael Gillespie as Clara with dashing Giuliano Contadini as her Nutcracker.  Abigail Prudames and Joseph Taylor were Louise/Sugarplum and Boyfriend/Cavalier.  In the evening we saw Antoinette Brookes Daw and Kevin Poeung as Clara and Nutcracker with Lucia Solari and Javier Torres as Louise/Sugarplum and Boyfriend/Cavalier.


Rachael Gillespie has grown to be a very special performer indeed; throughout yesterday's performance you could see her sense of wonder for the Christmas party and what went on beyond, plus her realisation that she was growing up.  Giuliano was great as the Nutcracker Prince.  Dominique Larose was absolutely hilarious as the dotty grandma; her comic timing is nano-second perfect.  She was a lovely snowflake too.  Abigail Prudames and Joseph Taylor were very elegant as Sugarplum and Cavalier in a new version of the gpdd.


Kevin Poeung was utterly fabulous as the Nutcracker Prince in the evening and Antoinette Brooks Daw was a delightful Clara.  Lucia Solari and Javier Torres were glorious in the gpdd.


As ever the whole company engaged with their roles and the audience.


This is a lovely, traditional production and a great way to get into the festive spirit! 







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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw the final 2 performances of Northern Ballet's Nutcracker in Leeds yesterday.


Possibly the incentive of a week off gave the dancers an additional sparkle because both performances fizzed like a bottle of champagne opened by Lewis Hamilton!


Assorted highlights - Abigail Prudames as a most elegant Sugarplum - a total delight.  Antoinette Brooks Daw and Kevin Poeung outstanding as Clara and Nutcracker Prince.  Sebastian Loe in his created role in the Chinese Dance - in the doll solo in Act 1 he looked completely boneless (I could see him as an amazing Petrouchka in waiting!).  Rachael Gillespie and Ashley Dixon absolutely exceptional as Clara and Nutcracker last night.  Mlindi Kulashe and Lucia Solari ravishing as Cavalier and Sugarplum.


Last night was Sebastian Loe's final performance with the company after 12 years.  I've really enjoyed his performances during his time with the company - his performance as Renfield in Dracula was a particular and very spooky highlight.  The Chinese Dance in Nutcracker, which he created, fitted him to a tee making use of his talents and interest in b-boying.  Very best wishes to him for the future.


2015 has been a wonderful year for Northern-Ballet watchers.  I can't wait for Swan Lake in March now!

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I don't know whereabouts down south you are cavycapers but NB are performing 1984 in Southampton and at Sadler's Wells and Swan Lake in Norwich and Milton Keynes.  The new production of Jane Eyre is coming to Aylesbury and Richmond:



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