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Press Release: Access all areas open day with Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre


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Access all areas open day with Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre

 

Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre are throwing open their doors to the public on Saturday 15 February and inviting people to take a rare glimpse at what life is like behind-the-scenes in their multi-award winning building. Open House 2014 is a day of free events, which will run from 11am-4:30pm at the companies Quarry Hill home in central Leeds.

Visitors will get to sample for free an array of Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre’s dancing treats such as: open rehearsals and company class, an insight into the creativity of the wardrobe department and their magnificent costumes, and a sharing of items from Northern Ballet’s Archive. There will also be craft activities, storytelling and face painting for younger dance fans to get involved in.

The open day has a timetable which promises to be fun for all the family and ideal for everyone, from dance enthusiasts to those people who consider themselves dancing disasters. Everybody has the chance to get involved, with taster classes for the very young to the over 55’s, plus workshops for people with a physical disability and additional needs.

Selina McGonagle, Northern Ballet’s Director of Learning, said “Open House is a great opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at two of the UK’s best loved dance companies. There are plenty of activities for all the family so, if you have never been to our home before or seen professional dance, come and find out more.”

Natalie Davies, Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Interim Head of Access and Education, said “For anyone interested in dance, Open House is a fantastic opportunity to find out more.  Whether you’re keen to take part, looking to gain an insight into the work of a professional dance company, or hoping to forge a career in dance and looking for some advice, this event has something for everyone.  Come along, bring family and friends, and enjoy a fun filled day.”

Open House 2014 will be the third year that Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre have opened up their home to the public. All events are free although some will require pre-booking. To book, or for further information, please visit northernballet.com/openhouse2014

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Go behind-the-scenes with Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre
 

On Saturday 15 February the Artistic Directors of two world class dance companies based in Leeds come together to offer a behind-the-scenes insight into bringing dance to the stage.
 
Northern Ballet Artistic Director David Nixon OBE and Phoenix Dance Theatre Artistic Director Sharon Watson will both introduce and lead two open rehearsals at their multi-award winning home. This free event will be a rare opportunity to hear both Artistic Directors discuss their work and reveal the differences and similarities between contemporary and ballet.  There will also be the opportunity to ask both Artistic Directors questions.
 
The open rehearsal will take place 1.00pm – 1.20pm and then will be repeated at 2.00pm – 2.30pm. To book your place visit northernballet.com/openhouse2014 or call 0113 220 8008. The open rehearsal is one of the many fantastic free events on offer at the Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre Open House 2014 taking place on Saturday 15 February, 11.00am – 4.30pmVisit northernballet.com/openhouse2014 for the full schedule of events.

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Go behind-the-scenes with Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre
 
Contemporary meets ballet as Northern Ballet dancer Dreeda Blow and Phoenix Dance Theatre dancer Alice Laidler, who both share a state-of-the-art home on Quarry Hill in Leeds, come together ahead of the Northern Ballet & Phoenix Dance Theatre Open House 2014 on Saturday 15 February.
 
On Saturday 15 February the Artistic Directors of these two world class dance companies will both offer a behind-the-scenes insight into bringing dance to the stage.
 
Northern Ballet Artistic Director David Nixon OBE and Phoenix Dance Theatre Artistic Director Sharon Watson will both introduce and lead two open rehearsals at their multi-award winning home. This free event will be a rare opportunity to hear both Artistic Directors discuss their work and reveal the differences and similarities between contemporary and ballet.  There will also be the opportunity to ask both Artistic Directors questions.
 
The open rehearsal will take place 1.00pm – 1.20pm and then will be repeated at 2.00pm – 2.30pm. To book your place visit northernballet.com/openhouse2014 or call 0113 220 8008. The open rehearsal is one of the many fantastic free events on offer at the Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre Open House 2014 taking place on Saturday 15 February, 11.00am – 4.30pmVisit northernballet.com/openhouse2014 for the full schedule of events.
 

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I have spent the greater part of the day at Quarry Hill. I can't remember a Saturday when I have learned so much or had so much fun.

 

The programme included rehearsals, classes, wardrobe, crafts and the archives,  I had planned to explore and try a little bit of everything but I spent nearly all my time riveted to my set as I watched a succession of brilliant teachers and their students.

 

First up was Yoko Ichino.  I had seen clips of her performances in Le Corsaire and Don Quixote and I had read about the Ichino technique. I had read Theatre Street and heard Dame Antoinette Sibley and Elena Glurdjidze speak affectionately of their teachers. Dressed simply in trousers and a long cardigan as in her pictures on Northern Ballet's website I could feel her personality from the gallery above the rehearsal studio. Taking a mixed class of senior boys and girls she coaxed the best from each of her pupils. I could see from their eyes that they adored Ichino and she them.

 

Next was Cara O'Shea who taught 6 junior boys. Her style was very different but just as effective. She has a mellifluous voice and a great sense of humour. Gesturing to us she said "You have always wanted an audience. Well now you have an audience. If they like you they may clap you." The children pulled out all the stops for us and we clapped as we would Acosta. Moving to the next studio she rehearsed a mixed age class of boys and girls through a movement of Don Quixote.  You would follow a teacher like her anywhere. I would love to have been taught by her,

 

Christopher Hinton Lewis then joined Cara O'Shea to rehearse four of the senior boys. Now I am proud to say that I have actually been taught by him. I took his beginners' class just before Christmas when I missed my usual class. It was tough, very hard work but I learned a lot.

 

Finally I saw my own teacher, Annemarie Donoghue, teach a taster class for the over 55. She started with the warm up exercises, led them to the barre for pliés in first and second including the port de bras followed by tendus and finally some centre work. They loved it.  They were fired up with the same enthusiasm as us and one of them has actually paid her £5 registration fee.

 

I did look in at the family crafts and archives and I met Dolly Williamson (who was wearing a wolf mask) and Phil Garnett who is perhaps better known as Phill up North. Phil and Dolly run the twiiter feed and website and do an excellent job.

 

Although my connection with Northern Ballet is very remote and tenuous it feels like a family and I feel part of that family albeit a somewhat distant relation.

Edited by terpsichore
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