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Northern Ballet "Try before you buy" event on Midsummer Night's Dream

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Northern Ballet held a "Try before you buy" event about the upcoming Midsummer Night's Eve at company HQ in Leeds yesterday.


I know I don't quite fit into the target audience but I decided to book anyway and I am so glad I did.  There were one or two Friends in the audience of around 150, but most people seemed to be new to the Company if not ballet.  There was a good sprinkling of children.


David Nixon started the evening with a brief (and very funny) outline of Shakespeare's plot and then explained how he had translated the action to sit on a 1940s travelling ballet company.


We were then treated to some excerpts from Act 1 - the rehearsal for R&J where Theseus is trying to persuade Hippolyta not to dance, and the funny but moving section where Helena is trying to get Demetrius to notice her.  In this section the dancers showed the technique that they sometimes use to get under the skin of the role - they spoke what their characters are thinking while they were dancing.  (Pippa Moore and Toby Batley were brilliant exponents!).  From Act 2 we saw the scene where Theseus and Puck have caused Demetrius and Lysander to "love" Helena and Hermia is being ignored - absolutely hilarious!


The dancers looked on sparkling form and the audience really got into the spirit of the humour with plenty of laughter. 


I think this is a terrific initiative to encourage a new audience and I hope some of the attendees last night will be spurred to attend a performance.

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