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Northern Ballet - Perpetual Motion programme - Leeds - Feb 2012

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On Thursday evening Northern Ballet was able to fulfil a promise made to their fans to present an evening of short works in the Company's own home.


Quarry Hill, NB and Phoenix’ state of the art home, has a small theatre on the ground floor with an audience capacity of around 200 and a good sized performance space. The performance space is at ground level so that on the front row you are on a level with the dancers. The seating is well raked.


The presented programme was entitled Perpetual Motion and comprised four works.


The opening delight was Christopher Hampson’s gorgeous Perpetuum Mobile. Its intricate steps and patterns, for 9 dancers to Bach’s music were crisply danced by Northern Ballet. Isabella Gasparini was an absolute delight as the first young lady and Hannah Bateman and Javier Torres were sublime in the central duet. Toby Batley showed exactly why he had been nominated for a National Dance Award.


A lovely touch during the pause was a musical interlude – Lierbertango by Astor Piazzolla played by Joanne Rozario and Grant Green.


The second piece was leading dancer Kenneth Tindall’s first piece of choreography – Project #1. The final section was first seen at last year’s choreographic workshop and Kenneth was asked to extend it for presentation on this programme. For a first attempt at choreography it was sophisticated and rewarding. On first sight, two new and unrelated pieces of music were used for the first section and seemed to present to me a work of two halves. However by my second and third viewing, for me it provided a compelling and cohesive piece. The work is for six dancers and has sinuous movements with some fascinating interplay between the dancers and some interesting lifts. Victoria Sibson was absolutely outstanding at all three performances. I always associate her with roles that have strong characterisations so it should have come as no surprise that she was utterly mesmerising to the point that I found it almost impossible to take my eyes off her. The final trio between her, Ben Mitchell and Toby Batley may not have had an obvious plot but I found it incredibly moving. I hope that this is the first of many pieces that we shall see by Kenneth Tindall.


After the interval we were treated to Daniel de Andrade’s Glass Canon, originally created for a programme presented in 2009. He uses music by Moishe’s Bagel to create a joyful, carefree atmosphere. There’s a lot of humour in this piece and I love the soaring lifts when the girls come on from the sides. Pippa Moore and Micaela Paolacci sparkled individually and together and there was a charming and cheeky duet for Ayana Kanda and Yi Song that brought chuckles from the audience.


After another short musical interlude in the pause, the evening ended with Rhapsody in Blue – one episode taken from the full evening I Got Rhythm. Joanne Rozario, Grant Green and Chris Hobson performed the music. Again this piece is full of wit and danced with enthusiasm by the five couples. What a joy, too, that Keiko Amemori is guesting with the company. She is scheduled to appear in performances of Madame Butterfly and it was an added bonus that she was in Rhapsody. It ended an already joyful evening on an even higher note.


Last night (Saturday) we saw alternate casts for Perpetuum Mobile and Rhapsody in Blue. Christie Duncan was divine as the first young lady and Martha Leebolt and Kenneth Tindall were breath-taking in the central duet.


This programme is being shown from Tuesday to Saturday (14-18 Feb) with a matinee on 18th.


From my point of view, the evening fulfilled its promise to the fans and I hope it will be the first of many such evenings to come. It provided us with a great opportunity to see the versatility of Northern Ballet’s dancers in different works in a very intimate space.

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