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Northern Ballet Friends' Open Day 2013

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I've been a Friend of Northern Ballet since the late 1980s and I've not long returned home from one of the best Friends' events ever!


Since NB moved into their purpose-built home at Quarry Hill a couple of years ago the Friends' Open Day has become an annual event and this was IMHO the best yet.  The open reception/cafe area of the Quarry Hill site makes Northern Ballet a very welcome place to walk into, and it gave us plenty of opportunity to talk to admin personnel and dancers who were wandering through as well as to each other!  The morning proper started with an opportunity to watch company class.  Despite it being beyond the end of the performance season, Chris Hinton-Lewis (Guest Ballet Master and ex-NB favourite) led an energetic and entertaining class.  Looking around this morning it seems to me that the company at the moment is the best I have ever seen it and it was a real pleasure to watch this class.


After a short refreshment break we were treated to three talks highlighting different aspects of Northern Ballet.  Daniel de Andrade (Ballet Master) gave us a fascinating review of the past year from the Company's artistic point of view and reminded us of highights such as Ondine, Ugly Duckling, Great Gatsby and last week's mixed programme.  We also had a short Q&A opportunity.


Shelley Firth, the Projects Administrator from the Learning Department gave us a flavour of the fanastic outreach work carried out by the Company.  Apart from the in-school initiatives and workshops the Learning Department were also heavily involved in helping develop the audience for Ugly Duckling.  She also gave us some of the background to Three Pigs, the latest work for small children that premieres in the Autumn.


Finally, Company Manager Lily Amy entertained us with aspects of her job specifically relating to the recent tour of Great Gatsby.  She told us how the prop drinks at the parties were made to look so realistic and the research that was carried out to ensure that newspapers relevant to the time were used in the production.  She also explained to us how the book was called and gave us a short extract of film where she made the calls so we could see the lighting and scenery changes.


After a short lunch break, we were privileged to see two short rehearsals of A Midsummer Night's Eve, taken by Chris Hinton-Lewis, who had created the role of Demetrius.  We saw 4 casts each for Helena/Demetrius and Hermia/Lysander in the early stages of rehearsing duets.  


And then it was all over for another year...... 


This type of event shows how good it is to be a member of the Friends.

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