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Northern Ballet - Mixed Programme - Quarry Hill - June 2013


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Northern Ballet ended their very successful Spring Season with a mixed programme in the Company's small home theatre at Quarry Hill. 

 

It's a lovely experience going to the theatre at Quarry Hill, with it's welcoming atrium reception and public cafe.  So the excitement is already present before you even walk into the theatre!

 

This triple bill was a real treat!  The evening opened with Mark Godden's Angels in the Architecture.  Using Copeland's Appalachian Spring this ballet is an evocation of the simple life of the Shakers.  It features the use of brooms and chairs as well as using the skirts of the ladies as props!  It is for 6 couples and there are various groupings with both humour and pathos.  The choreography is lyrical and attractive.

 

After the first interval we saw premier dancer Kenny Tindall's new work Luminous Junc.ture.  What can I say - slow-paced, lyrical, sensual, powerful and incredibly moving.  I was completely blown away by this piece - I just didn't want it to end!  The piece starts with a bang (fortunately I was warned before hand!).  It is for 8 dancers and the lighting plays an enormous part in the structure of the piece.  At one point with the stage in darkness spotlights momentarily highlight dancers posing - when I read what I have just written it doesn't really sound very exciting but believe me it was!  The final section of the work was just stunning.  Charlie Chaplin's "I do not want to be an Emperor" speech from The Great Dictator was overlaid on the music.  The dancers banded together into a group and the slow, pack-like movements just seemed married to the speech.  It sent tingles down my spine.  This was a complex piece that, for me, worked on so many levels.  Kenny's choreography is abstract and modern and I believe he has an enormous talent for choreography.  There were 2 casts and he knows all the dancers well so the performances were just breath-taking.  All the dancers were brilliant but I must mention Victoria Sibson's truly outstanding performance.

 

The evening ended with Hans Van Manen's Concertante, another modern masterpiece for eight dancers.  The duets were both flirtatious and aggressive.  It looked wonderful on Northern Ballet.  Again, unfair to pick anyone out but Lori Gilchrist and Jeremy Curnier stood out for me in different casts.

 

It was a stimulating and thought provoking triple bill and a great way to end Northern Ballet's Spring Season.

 

I'm already suffering from withdrawal symptoms!

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By great coincidence, an excellent 30-minute feature on Copeland's Appalachian Spring and its commissioning by Martha Graham has just ended on BBC Radio 4 - and will presumably be available on iPlayer over the coming week.  I've not seen any danced version and would certainly be happy to do so.

 

I saw Concertante as part of Cathy Marston's first Triple Bill in Bern in 2007.  A look back in the ballet.co archive reveals that I said: 

 

Hans van Manen's "Concertante", set to a score by Frank Martin, featured strongly marked choreography, allowing the dancers to establish individual identities on their entries, but then leading on to fluid and sympathetic dual and group movement reflecting the musical phrasing. This was very easy on the eye.....

 

Sounds like it was easy on the eye up in Leeds too  and, overall, it sounds as if Northern have come up with a good evening out.

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It sounds a great triple bill. I wish that I could have seen it. Has Mark Godden's work been performed in the UK before? I've not heard of him. Was the Tindall piece the one which won an award earlier this year?

 

It would be a lot of work but it would be nice to have to have a sort of on-line library containing mini-bios of lesser known choreographers and short descriptions of their works. It could include people like Jessica Lang and Mark Godden.

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I've got to admit that I had not heard of Mark Godden before NB did Angels a couple of years ago.  I would certainly like to see more of his work.  Here's a link to his website:

 

http://www.markgodden.com

 

 

Kenny's piece was a brand new commission for this programme.  Northern Ballet has got a page for each of the works on the mixed programme.  (Please note that the photograph at the top is from Concertante). There is some early rehearsal footage.  Judging by tweets at the time it was being created during the Gatsby tour and certainly the first rehearsal piece looks as though it was filmed on a stage partially set for Gatsby:

 

http://northernballet.com/index.php?q=luminous-juncture

 

Kenny is building up a website:  http://www.kennethtindall.co.uk/

Edited by Janet McNulty
Edited to repair one of the links
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A review has finally appeared in the Yorkshire Times:

 

http://yorkshiretimes.co.uk/article/Northern-Ballets-Mixed-Programme--A-Rare-Gem

 

"And so there we were, three completely diverse acts, impossible to choose one over the others, all with their own signature stamp. There was no attempt to link them together tenuously, just exactly what it was... a "mixed" programme."

Edited by Janet McNulty
edited to get name of source newspaper correct
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