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Press Release: Northern Ballet makes inaugural visit to the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre

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Powerhouse for dance heads to London as Northern Ballet makes inaugural visit to the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre
Northern Ballet will make their first visit to the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre from 8 – 10  May with a Mixed Programme. The Leeds-based Company will hold four performances of their triple bill showcasing both established international and emerging choreographic talent danced by the Company of 40 dancers.
Northern Ballet are most often seen in London performing full-length narrative ballets such as The Great Gatsby when the Company enjoyed a sell-out season at Sadler’s Wells in 2013. The Company are working to develop their profile within the Capital having recently appointed a new Director of Development, Crys Whitewoods, who is based in the city part-time. Northern Ballet’s inaugural visit to the Linbury Studio Theatre gives audiences in London the opportunity to see the Company’s more diverse repertory in a more intimate setting, ahead of a planned two tours to London in 2015. The Mixed Programme of ballets by Hans van Manen, Lar Lubovitch and Kenneth Tindall, showcases the athleticism of Northern Ballet’s dancers who rise superbly to realise the visions of each choreographer. 
The Mixed Programme will feature Concertante by Hans van Manen who has created more than 100 short classical ballets during his illustrious 60 year career with Nederlands Dans Theatre and the Dutch National Ballet, among many others. The Dutch dance master previously worked with Northern Ballet when the Company first staged the classical piece, set to Frank Martin’s Petite Symphonie Concertante, in their 2013 Mixed Programme performed in Leeds.
The second piece of the triple bill will be Lar Lubovitch’s Concerto Six Twenty-Two with a performance that marks Northern Ballet’s first venture with one of America’s leading choreographers. The piece, choreographed in 1986 and set to Mozart’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, is an inventive portrayal of male dance duets in what has become one of Lubovitch’s most celebrated pieces.
The London Première of Luminous Junc·ture will be the third piece of the Mixed Programme which showcases the emerging talent of their Premier Dancer, Kenneth Tindall, one of the UK’s rising choreographic stars. The contemporary piece is Tindall’s second commission for Northern Ballet which debuted in Leeds in 2013 to great acclaim. It is set to music by Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds and Hans Zimmer, with costumes designed by Manchester-based fashion designer, Emma Guilfoyle. A physically emotive, inventive and atmospheric performance, the piece showcases the strengths of his fellow Northern Ballet dancers.
Speaking ahead of the Company’s landmark visit to Covent Garden, Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, said: “It is a great thrill to be performing at the Linbury Studio Theatre for the first time and to have the opportunity to showcase the immense talent of our dancers to audiences in Covent Garden.
Performing a masterwork such as Concertante is a real challenge and demonstrates the very high standard of the Company. We’re very excited to be working with Lar Lubovitch for the first time on Concerto Six Twenty-Two. Also I am delighted for Kenneth Tindall to have the opportunity to stage his Luminous Junc·ture at such a high profile venue; it’s very important that we encourage and nurture such talent in our dancers and I’m sure that audiences in London will be seeing a lot more by Kenneth as his star rises in the years to come.”
Director of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare, comments ‘I’m so pleased to welcome Northern Ballet to the Linbury Studio Theatre for the very first time, adding to the breadth of dance that we are able to offer from the Royal Opera House’.
Tickets for Northern Ballet’s Mixed Programme at the Linbury Studio Theatre are on sale now online at www.roh.org.uk or by calling the box office on 0207 304 4000.



Notes to Editors
Northern Ballet is one of the UK’s five large ballet companies. Based in Leeds it performs throughout the UK as well as overseas. Northern Ballet’s productions mix classical dance and theatre, embracing popular culture and taking inspiration from literature, opera, or giving a unique interpretation of popular classical ballets.
Northern Ballet is the busiest touring ballet company in the UK and is typically on the road for around 24 weeks of the year. The Company of 40 dancers tours a combination of new works and established repertoire to cities throughout the UK and is the only large scale ballet company to do so.
Visit www.northernballet.com for more information on the Company and tour.
Mixed Programme – Tour Dates
London, Linbury Studio Theatre (Royal Opera House)
8 – 10 May 2014                                                                                
Box Office 0207 304 4000                                                                

On sale now         


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I absolutely loved Concertante when I saw it last year and can't wait to see it again!  I've never seen anything by Lar Lubovitch so that is exciting and of course the 2 Kenny Tindall pieces!


I love watching mixed programmes!

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The Company has issued some production information:



Production Information - Mixed Programme 2014


Northern Ballet’s Mixed Programme 2014 at the Linbury Studio Theatre is a triple bill of works which includes Concertante, Concerto Six Twenty-Two and Luminous Junc·ture.



Choreographer – Hans van Manen

Concertante was created in 1994 for eight junior dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater 2. It is a fascinating ballet, interspersed with humour and aggression, in which even the most dazzling solos and intense pas de deux demonstrate the refined simplicity, visual logic and great musicality so typical of van Manen.


Concerto Six Twenty-Two

Choreographer – Lar Lubovitch

Concerto Six Twenty-Two was commissioned be Centre National de Danse (Angers, France) and premièred in 1986 at Carnegie Hall in New York. Although men dancing together has existed in modern dance almost from the beginning, Concerto Six Twenty-Two brought a new freedom of expression to this concept and, while the piece does not tell a literal story, it does indelibly portray men within a caring, supportive and loving relationship.


Luminous Junc·ture

Choreographer – Kenneth Tindall

Five points in time, seemingly of their own agenda, threaded by light and our path through it. Where does the light lead?


Luminous Junc·ture was created for Northern Ballet in 2013 where it premièred at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds. The piece was Kenneth Tindall’s second commission for the Company.



Creative Biographies - Mixed Programme 2014


Hans van Manen – Choreographer of Concertante

Hans van Manen, from Nieuwer Amstel in the Netherlands, had his first ballet lessons at the end of the 1940s from Sonia Gaskell, who took him into her company, Ballet Recital, in 1951. In 1957 he made his debut as a choreographer with Feestgericht which received the State Award for Choreography. From 1961 onwards Van Manen has worked alternately with the two main dance companies of the Netherlands. Since 2005 he has once again held the post of resident choreographer with the Dutch National Ballet.


Hans van Manen has now created more than 120 ballets, which are performed by over fifty companies worldwide, illustrating the fact that he has become a household name in international ballet circles.


He has received many awards including the Sonia Gaskell Prize, the VSCD Choreography Awadr, the Deutsche Tanzpreis, the Benois de la Danse Lifetime Achievement Award and the prestigious City of Diusburg Music Prize. In 2000, he ward awarded the Erasmus Prize for his special services to Dutch dance.


In 2007, the Dutch National Ballet held the Hans van Manen Festival in honour of the choreographer and his work on the occasion of his 75th birthday. During the festival he was made a Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.



Lar Lubovitch – Choreographer of Concerto Six Twenty-Two

Lar Lubovitch trained at The Julliard School and founded the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in New York in 1968. Now celebrating its 45th anniversary, with over 120 dance pieces, it has gained an international reputation as one of America’s top dance companies. Lar’s works are also included in the repertoires of major dance companies throughout the world.


Othello - A Dance in Three Acts, created for American Ballet Theatre, appeared on PBS’s Emmy nominated Great Performances. Film and television credits include: Fandango (International Emmy), My Funny Valentine for Robert Altman’s film The Company (American Choreography Award nomination) and, in 1988, Concerto Six Twenty-Two and North Star for BBC. Lubovitch has also made a notable contribution to the advancement of ice-dancing with pieces for numerous Olympic skaters, as well as ice-dance specials for television: The Sleeping Beauty (PBS), The Planets (A&E) (International Emmy nomination, Cable Ace Award, Grammy Award). His work on Broadway includes: Into the Woods (Tony nominated), The Red Shoes (Astaire Award) and the Tony Award-winning revival of The King and I.


In 2007, Lubovitch founded the Chicago Dancing Festival, in collaboration with the City of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which includes performances by leading American dance companies. The free festival reaches over 18,000 people annually.


Recent awards include: 2007 Chicagoan of the Year (Chicago Tribune), 2008 Chicagoan of the Year (Chicago Magazine), 2001 Ford Fellow (US Artists), 2001 Dance/USA Honors Award, 2012 Prix Benois de la Danse for Choreography (Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow), 2013 American Dance Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. This spring Lar will also receive an Honorary Doctorate from The Julliard School.



Kenneth Tindall – Choreographer of Luminous Junc·ture

Kenneth was born in Dundee and trained at the Central School of Ballet under Christopher Gable. He is a Premier Dancer with Northern Ballet and has also danced with K Ballet and the Israel Ballet. He has worked closely with Cathy Marston, David Nixon, Wayne McGregor, Val Caniparoli, Krzysztof Pastor and Christopher Hampson. Career highlights include performing at the XIII International Ballet Festival of Miami and closing the Gala of the Stars, and also closing the 5th International Beijing Dance Festival.


Kenneth started choreographing in 2011 and since then his work has been performed in Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, Malta, South Africa and London. He won the Production Prize at the 26th International Choreographic Competition in Hanover in 2012 and has choreographed for John Neuimers Bundesjugendballett. His piece choreographed for Ballet Central’s 30th Anniversary tour was one of the ‘Picks of the Festival’ at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe.


Kenneth has recently worked with artist Linder Sterling on a major new performance piece, The Ultimate Form which was debuted at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in early 2013. The piece had its UK première at the Hepworth Wakefield in May 2013 followed by performances at John Lewis Oxford Street and most recently Tate St Ives in February 2014.


Kenneth’s work has seen him collaborate with fashion designers Richard Nicoll and Pam Hogg, filmmaker Todd MacDonald and composers Stuart McCallum of the Cinematic Orchestra and Philip Feeney. His work has also been performed at Silencio, David Lynch’s private culture club in Paris.


Kenneth’s latest piece, The Architect, will hold its world première at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds in June 2014.

Edited by Janet McNulty
Edited to add in biographies
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The Company has issued some interviews:



Mixed Programme 2014 – Syndicated interview with Hans van Manen and his Assistant, Mea Venema


Tell us about Concertante.

MV: Concertante is a very musical piece. It is choreographed for eight dancers and includes two pas de deux which are aggressive, yet sensual. The ballet is very musical and emotional, and all the movements have a reason behind them. It’s also exciting as you know that with Hans van Manen, if two people dance together, then something is going to happen between them. His style is grounded and about people connecting with each other.


What was your inspiration for the piece?

HvM: I’m inspired by two things – dancers and music. That’s always my inspiration in all of my work. Concertante was originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater 2, who are a junior company of young dancers who had a fantastic talent and were very easy to work with.

 I never choreograph anything at home; I improvised everything in the studio with the dancers because the piece is created for them.


What kind of feelings will Concertante inspire within the audience? Is the piece romantic, intense, dramatic...?

MV: The audience have a lot to see in Concertante, it’s a very dynamic and beautiful piece.


In what ways do you feel that Northern Ballet will do justice to your choreography?

MV: Concertante has been performed all over the world by different companies but although the steps are the same, each performance always has a different flavour. It’s not just steps – the interpretation is personal to the dancers and Northern Ballet do a wonderful job.


HvM: Northern Ballet’s dancers are daring and risky and I like that. They carry the passion of the performance through to the end and bring their own personality to my choreography. When I worked with Northern Ballet in 2013 to first stage Concertante with them, I was amazed by just how good the dancers are. David Nixon has a really wonderful group.




Mixed Programme 2014 – Syndicated interview with Kenneth Tindall


Tell us about your inspiration for Luminous Junc·ture.

Movement is always at the heart of my work, as is music and my dancers but lighting is also one of my main sources of inspiration for Luminous Junc·ture. I wanted to experiment with the lighting designer on how lighting can be used to control the action on stage and create atmosphere.


What kind of feelings will Luminous Junc·ture inspire within the audience?

We all view things in different ways and so my hope would be that the audience would leave having connected with the work in their own way.


Luminous Junc·ture is set to music by Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds and Hans Zimmer. What is the feeling of the music and how does that inspire you as a choreographer?

Each of the pieces of music in Luminous Junc·ture were chosen because they resonated something within me that I can’t describe. When I feel that about a piece of music I know it’s the right piece.


How is working with Northern Ballet different as a choreographer compared to as a dancer?

This is my second commission for the Company so this time round we have already established a way of working that suits us all. I love creating at Northern Ballet because I know the dancers so well and can choreograph to their strengths.


In what ways do you feel that Northern Ballet’s dancers will do justice to your choreography?

The attack, the physicality and their willingness to fully commit is all you can ask for and they give that in abundance. Northern Ballet’s dancers push themselves which, in turn, pushes me allowing for honest creativity.




Mixed Programme 2014 – Syndicated interview with Lar Lubovitch


Tell us about your inspiration for Concerto Six Twenty-Two.

As with most of what I have created as a choreographer, the dance is first and foremost an expression of the music – a way, one might say, of playing the music on the dancers’ bodies. I think of the choreography as an additional line of music, much as the voice is in opera, but in this case a visual line. However, that does not mean to say that it is without a specific dramatic context as well. In this case, it is intended as an essay on friendship. The music for Concerto Six Twenty-Two is Mozart’s Concerto for Clarinet K#.622 which he wrote for a close friend who was a virtuoso clarinettist, though as a composer he did not actually favour this instrument and rarely featured it.


What are the central themes of the piece?

In 1985 when the dance was created the AIDS epidemic was upon us and one of the emerging themes in this time of crisis was the depth of friendship expressed as friends helped friends to die. The dance essays the joyousness of the subject in its outer ensemble movements and its tenderness in the central adagio for two men.


Has it be performed in the UK before? If so, when and by whom?

Concerto Six Twenty-Two, performed by my own company, was filmed by the BBC and broadcast through the UK in the late 1980s.


What involvement will you have in Northern Ballet’s staging of Concerto Six Twenty-Two?

I will spend four weeks in Leeds from April at the home of Northern Ballet supervising the reconstruction and staging of Concerto Six Twenty-Two for its company première in London.




Mixed Programme 2014 – Syndicated interview with Artistic Director David Nixon OBE and Chief Executive Mark Skipper.


The performances at the Linbury Studio Theatre will be Northern Ballet’s first in Covent Garden. Tell us how this came about.

MS: We were looking for an opportunity to showcase the company in a different light and the number of suitable venues for Northern Ballet to perform at in London is quite limited. We go to Sadler’s Wells to perform our large-scale full-length narrative ballets but we wanted somewhere else to perform the Mixed Programme which we’ve been keen to present more of outside of our theatre in Leeds. The Linbury Studio Theatre presents the appropriate choice for this and the fact that it’s technically similar to our studio theatre in Leeds is a benefit as the work will transfer well. It’s also exciting to be able to perform in Covent Garden for the first time and to present work of a different scale in London.


How have you been working with the Royal Opera House?

MS: We’ve been liaising with the team at the Royal Opera House who coordinate the programme for opera and ballet. They’re really excited about us going to perform there and are especially excited to have a piece by Kenneth Tindall performed there as an up and coming British choreographer. Kevin O’Hare (Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet) has also been very supportive and is looking forward to our performances.


How did you select the three pieces to be performed in the Mixed Programme?

DN: Two of the pieces, Hans van Manen’s Concertante and Kenneth Tindall’s Luminous Junc·ture, are from our most recent Mixed Programme performed in Leeds in 2013. Both are strong, abstract dances and have a contrast in that one is by a master choreographer [van Manen] and the other is by our very own emerging choreographer [Tindall]. Lar Lubovitch is the choreographer of the third piece, Concerto Six Twenty-Two, and he’s another master choreographer who I’ve wanted to work with for many years, especially as you don’t get to see his work performed very much in the UK. This became possible due to the fact that we are presenting this Mixed Programme in London at the Linbury Studio Theatre.


It’s important for the company to have the opportunity to demonstrate their versatility by performing master works, which is why we’ve engaged Lubovitch and chosen to stage van Manen’s work again, but it’s also important to continue to present new work and support the up and coming talent we have in Kenneth Tindall.


How will the three pieces fit together and complement each other?

DN: This Mixed Programme is a step away from our usual full-length narrative work as the pieces are abstract as opposed to narrative. Luminous Junc·ture in particular is of today and is especially exciting as it is by a young British choreographer whose talent has been nurtured under our own training whilst van Manen and Lubovitch are established international choreographers so we’re presenting two generations of choreographers.


Concertante is a master work with a specific language typical of van Manen who utilises classical technique in a contemporary way. The piece has an interesting narrative as, although it does not tell a specific story, there’s a dynamic between relationships and how they are expressed on stage. This dynamic is echoed in Lubovitch’s Concerto Six Twenty-Two. The three works complement and contrast with one another as they are all in a more contemporary style which embraces a classical aesthetic and a fluidity of movement.


The Mixed Programme is different to Northern Ballet’s usual full-length narrative work. How well does the Company adapt to this?

DN: Our dancers can adapt to different styles exceptionally well and the Mixed Programme is a fantastic opportunity to show the company in a different light. Each of our full-length narrative ballets includes elements of choreography that are different and unique but the Mixed Programme is a departure from the full-length productions and gives the dancers the opportunity to really show their versatility.  


How will the standard of the performance compare to what audiences in Covent Garden expect?

DN: Our dancers are exceptionally talented and they perform to the highest standard so the audiences in Covent Garden can expect to see a world-class performance.


Can audiences in London expect more frequent visits from Northern Ballet in future seasons?

MS: Our plan is to go back to the Linbury every year in addition to annual visits to Sadler’s Wells. It’s subject our funding from the Arts Council but we will have an annual Sadler’s Wells season in March/April, an annual Linbury season in May and then hopefully a season in Richmond in late May/early June. That’s the pattern we intend to follow for 2015-2018.  


Why is it important for Northern Ballet to raise its profile in the capital?

MS: We are hugely aware that so much funding and support from corporate companies, trusts and individuals goes to artistic companies who are based in London so we feel that there will be benefit for Northern Ballet to raise its profile in London in terms of its funding. Coming to London regularly will enable us to make contacts and cultivate support from potential contributors. There are also so many opportunities for different types of venues to perform and hold events which we can look at for the future. Although we are a major national touring company there is still an important place for Northern Ballet in London.  

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