Tag Archive | "Northern Ballet"

Northern Ballet’s ‘1984’ a Winner at National Dance Awards



Northern Ballet was delighted to have been recognised at this year’s National Dance Awards after choreographer Jonathan Watkins won the award for Best Classical Choreography for 1984. Cathy Marston, choreographer of Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre was nominated for the same award, alongside Anabelle Lopez Ochoa (Broken Wings for English National Ballet), Jean-Christophe Maillot (Taming of the Shrew for Bolshoi Ballet) and Will Tuckett (Elizabeth for The Royal Ballet).

Voted for by the dance section of the Critics’ Circle, Northern Ballet was also recognised in four further categories with nominations for Outstanding Company, Best Male Dancer and Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) for former Premier Dancer Tobias Batley and Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) for former Premier Dancer Martha Leebolt.

This award underlines a highly successful year for Northern Ballet which also saw the Company win the Dance Award at the prestigious South Bank Sky Arts Awards for 1984.

This year Northern Ballet also supported the National Dance Awards by sponsoring the award for Outstanding Female Performance (Modern) which was won by Ching-Ying Chien in Until the Lions for Akram Khan Company.

Looking ahead, 2017 is set to be one of the biggest in Northern Ballet’s history with an unprecedented three full-length World Premières; Casanova (March), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (May) and The Little Mermaid (September). See northernballet.com/whats-on for details.

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Northern Ballet Presents World Première of Jane Eyre at Cast, Doncaster


Northern Ballet is about to bring Charlotte Brontë’s novel ‘Jane Eyre’ to life at the Cast Theatre, Doncaster, from 19th – 21st May, before embarking on a national tour.

Orphaned at a young age and cruelly treated by her aunt, Jane Eyre is a plain but intelligent child who grows up knowing little kindness. Sent away to a charitable school, she later accepts a position as a Governess at Thornfield, a gentleman’s manor whose master is the dark and impassioned Mr Rochester. In spite of their social differences, an unlikely bond grows between them. But, as their romance develops, it becomes clear that Mr Rochester has a hidden past that threatens to ruin them both. The ultimate dramatic tale of romance, jealousy and dark secrets, Jane Eyre is the story of one woman’s indomitable spirit overcoming all boundaries.

‘Jane Eyre’ is choreographed by Cathy Marston, who created the Dickens classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ for Northern Ballet in 2008. She has brought composer Philip Feeney onboard to compile and arrange a score made up of original compositions and existing work. In addition, Patrick Kinmonth has designed the sets and costumes; and Alastair West, whose Northern Ballet credits include ‘Giselle’, ‘I Got Rhythm’, ‘A Christmas Caro’l and ‘The Architect’, provides the lighting design.



“Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ is a novel far ahead of its time”, said Cathy. “When I think of Jane I feel inspired by images of her passionate but ‘impossible’ relationship with Mr Rochester, the fire and emotional destruction symbolised by Bertha Mason – the infamous ‘woman in the attic’, the contrasting icy moorland through which she seems to run from one chapter of her life to another, and of course her final reunion with Rochester. But these images only touch the surface of a character and a book that continue to provoke and move – generation after generation.”

For more details and booking information visit northernballet.com/jane-eyre.


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A Season of Dynamic New Dance


The Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre’s Spring season offers a unique chance to see dynamic young performers and works by highly acclaimed choreographers in an intimate setting.
Highlights of the season include appearances by JV2 and John Ross Dance, both performing in Leeds for the first time.

On 19 April JV2 presents JV2 2016, a triple bill. Formed by Artistic Director Jasmin Vardimon, JV2 is a handpicked ensemble of 16 young, international dancers. The triple bill features Jasmin Vardimon’s work (in between), first created for the National Youth Dance Company, which echoes the relationship between humans and the natural environment. It includes new works by AΦE, an Ashford-based dance company founded by Esteban Fourmi and Aoi Nakamura, and Vinicius Salles.


John Ross Dance presents Blink on 4th May, featuring 2013 New Adventures Choreographer Award winner John Ross (also one of BBC Performing Arts Fund’s 32 Ones to Watch for 2015). Blink is a dance-theatre interpretation of American author Mitch Albom’s best-selling novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Eddie, a bitter old man, dies trying to save a little girl, and so begins a series of encounters with five important people from instrumental periods in his life. Set to the beautifully haunting music of composer Greg Haines, Blink stages Ross’ signature trademark of emotive and physically compelling storytelling.

Phoenix Dance Theatre celebrates youth dance from across the region with their annual Yorkshire Youth Dance Platform; and Ballet Central presents a sparkling programme of ballet, neoclassical, contemporary and narrative dance.

In July, National Youth Dance Company returns with In-Nocentes, a new work by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Keegan-Dolan; and Leeds-based dance and musical theatre college Renaissance Arts will celebrate their fifth anniversary with performances by the current full-time students.

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre will hold a day of insight into the relationship between dancer and choreographer on 17th June for Tell Tale Steps, showcasing the creative process of choreographing narrative dance.

Northern Ballet will host Expressions on 22nd June, which brings together dance groups that give talented dancers with disabilities the chance to showcase their skills. This event is part of the Beyond Festival, celebrating the work of artists with learning disabilities.

Tickets can be booked online at theatreleeds.com, by calling the box office on 0113 220 8008 or in person at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Northern Ballet, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7PA.

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A New Take on an Old Ballet from Northern Ballet


Northern Ballet has earned the reputation of being great storytellers – and it’s true. In their latest production, ‘Swan Lake’, they completely reimagine the story behind the ballet, bringing it sharply into the 21st Century.

Of course we still have Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music and much of the choreography respects the classic ballets, but this is a grittier tale of love of many levels, beautifully presented.

The story opens with a group of young men playing together on a sunny afternoon. Two brothers decide to jump off a cliff into the river and one drowns. Deeply affected by this death the other returns again and again to gaze at the spot where his brother disappeared. Mesmerised by a group of swans he starts to fantasise.

Although the swans are female they could just as well have been male. It is really a story of sexual awakening, confusion, conventions, and ultimately tragedy. Strongly attracted to one of his friends, he hastily proposes marriage to a beautiful woman when he and his friend are rumbled by his mother – and it’s downhill from there….storywise that is.

Throughout the dance never ceased to feel fresh – the new interpretation added so much, making it a truly riveting experience. The stage design was stunning, especially the opening and closing sequences, and the costumes, as always, just shone.

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Northern Ballet’s 1984 to be Screened on BBC Four


Northern Ballet’s critically acclaimed production of 1984 will be shown on BBC Four after being commissioned by The Space as part of its collaboration with BBC Arts.

The new ballet, which premièred in Leeds last September, was filmed during live performances at Manchester’s Palace Theatre during the first leg of its World Première Tour and will be screened on BBC Four at 7.30pm on 28 February. It will subsequently be available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days.

Choreographed by Jonathan Watkins and set to an original score by Tony-nominated composer Alex Baranowski, 1984 is ‘the ballet equivalent of a page-turner’ (The Stage). It features the use of cutting-edge digital technology with video designs by Andrezej Goulding, to bring George Orwell’s dystopian vision to life.

The full-length performance of 1984 captured by The Space to be televised on BBC Four, features Northern Ballet’s Premier Dancers Tobias Batley and Martha Leebolt in the leading roles of Winston Smith and Julia, with Javier Torres as O’Brien.

Audiences can see Northern Ballet perform 1984 live in Edinburgh, Southampton and London between March and May 2016. Tickets are on sale now. For tour dates and information on how to book visit northernballet.com/1984.

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Northern Ballet’s Christmas Appeal

Northern Ballet has launched a Christmas Appeal to raise funds for its Children’s Hospice Project. The project, which is run in partnership with Martin House Children’s Hospice, gives children with life-limiting illnesses and their families the rare opportunity to access and enjoy activities within the arts together.

Northern Ballet works with families who access Martin House Children’s Hospice, holding workshops in the professional dance studios at Northern Ballet’s Leeds city-centre HQ. Working with Northern Ballet’s Dance Education Officers, the families participate in creative movement workshops that explore stories from the Company’s repertoire.

The workshops incorporate music therapy and sensory experiences using props to involve and immerse the whole family into the experience. The project also involves photography workshops where the families learn skills including composition, lighting and capturing movement from a local photographer. This enables the families to not only create mementos of their time with Northern Ballet, but improves their ability to take photos and capture special memories together outside of the project.

Families also attend Northern Ballet performances with this year’s participants having seen Tortoise & the Hare at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre and a visit planned to Leeds Grand Theatre this month to see The Nutcracker. The culmination of the annual four month project is a photography exhibition created by the families to celebrate and share in their experiences.

For more information or to make a donation of any size, please visit northernballet.com/christmas-appeal.

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Passion and Rage on the Moors


Northern Ballet makes a journey of passionate and obsessive love in Wuthering Heights at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, from 17th – 21st November.

Based on Emily Brontë’s romantic masterpiece, this dramatic adaptation is choreographed by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Nixon and set to an original score by celebrated composer, Claude-Michel Schönberg, known for his West End and Broadway hits Les Misérables and Miss Saigon.

Wuthering Heights tells the story of Cathy and Heathcliff; inseperable as children, their childish affection deepens into an overwhelming love but as their lives take different paths, their bond develops into a devastating force as unruly and dangerous as the Yorkshire Moors that surround them. This production will see Northern Ballet’s dancers at their dramatic best capturing the spirit of their characters and drawing the audience into this untameable love story.


First performed in 2002, Wuthering Heights was David Nixon’s first creation for Northern Ballet and his first collaboration with composer Claude-Michel Schönberg who later composed an original score for Northern Ballet’s Cleopatra in 2011. It was also David Nixon’s first collaboration with Patricia Doyle who has since worked with Northern Ballet as Dramaturge, Co-Scenario Creator and Co-Director on several productions including most recently Cinderella, The Great Gatsby and Cleopatra.

“Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is not a novel that you read and put back on the shelf. It is a story that absorbs you, creating powerful imagery that stays with you long after you turn the last page,” said David Nixon. “In my adaptation of this timeless tale, I have brought to life the key elements of the narrative, focusing on the intensity and devastation of the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. The dramatic talent of our dancers combined with Claude-Michel Schönberg’s magnificent score will draw the audience into the very heart of one of the greatest love stories of all time.”


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Avant – Capturing Northern Ballet

Avant Exhibition - Northern Ballet's Martha Leebolt. Photo Justin Slee

Northern Ballet is the focus of Avant, an exciting new photography exhibition at The Gallery at Munro House, from 30th March – 11 April.

The exhibition features a collection of behind-the-scenes photographs that illustrate the dedication and professionalism of the world of modern ballet. It’s the result of an ongoing partnership between photographer Justin Slee and Northern Ballet.

Avant Exhibition - Northern Ballet's Antoinette Brooks-Daw. Photo Justin Slee

Over the past five years Northern Ballet allowed Justin backstage access to rehearsals, including the creation of some of the company’s most recent work in theatres, and some of the work of the Academy of Northern Ballet.

Pippa Moore Fashion

“Northern Ballet is a wonderfully artistic company and the work they produce is truly inspiring”, said Justin. “The unprecedented access I have had has allowed me to witness the commitment, people and process behind creating outstanding dance productions.”

The Gallery will be open:
Mon 30 March – Thurs 2 April, 10am – 6pm;

Fri 3 April (Good Friday) 10am – 4pm;

Sat 4/Sun 5/ Mon 6 April – Closed;

Tues 7 – Sat 11 April, 10am – 6pm.

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Northern Ballet Academy Holds Open Days for Young Dancers

4-Photo Martin Bell
The Academy of Northern Ballet is hosting open days for young people aged 9-12 and 13-15 interested in pursuing their passion for ballet with professional training, and including boys only sessions, on Sunday 1st (9.30am – 4pm) and Sunday 15th (9.30am–12.30pm) February.

3-Photo Martin Bell

The open days offer prospective students the opportunity to meet the staff, tour the Academy’s facilities, and find out more about the training programmes.

2-Photo Martin Bell

The Academy of Northern Ballet is the official school of Northern Ballet and specialises in a holistic approach to teaching, nurturing and inspiring the professional dancers of the future. As the only recognised Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) in the UK specialising in Classical Ballet, the Academy’s open days are designed to encourage young dancers to audition for its professional CAT training programme which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

1-Photo Martin Bel
Graduates from Northern Ballet’s CAT programme wishing to pursue their training further, have gone on to full-time training at top vocational schools including the Royal Ballet Upper School, English National Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School and Central School of Ballet.

5-Photo Martin Bell
“The Academy of Northern Ballet is one of the leading classical ballet training schools in the UK”, said Yasmin Delves, CAT Manager. “Our focus is on recognising talent and nurturing our students to give them the technical training and mentoring they need to develop as dancers.”

To register for an open day, or for further information, please call 0113 220 8000 or email academy@northernballet.com

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Northern Ballet’s Mixed Programme

Northern Ballet dancers Tobias Batley and Hannah Bateman in Concertante. Photo E Kauldhar

Once again, Northern Ballet presents a ‘Mixed Programme’ of dance gems in the intimate surroundings of the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre. This is a rare opportunity to see the company’s athletic and talented dancers perform, and runs from Wednesday 18th – Saturday 21st June, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2.30pm). 

The programme will feature dazzling dance from three remarkable choreographers – Dutch dance master Hans van Manen, one of America’s leading dance makers Lar Lubovitch, and Northern Ballet’s premier dancer and choreographer Kenneth Tindall, and includes a world première that will only be seen in Leeds.

Hans van Manen’s sensational ‘Concertante’, inspired by and set to Frank Martin’s Petite Symphonie Concertante, returns by popular request. ‘Concerto Six Twenty-Two’ is by ‘one of the ten best choreographers in the world’ (New York Times) and Tony Award nominated, Lar Lubovitch.

Kenneth Tindall’s choreographic debut Project#1 and follow up Luminous Junc·ture have attracted critical acclaim and made him one to watch in the dance world. The première of his hotly anticipated new work, ‘The Architect’, which takes inspiration from the story of Adam & Eve, promises to be a stylish work with atmospheric music and the inevitable ‘Kenny twist’.

Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, said: “It is always a great thrill to have the opportunity to showcase the immense talent of our dancers to audiences at our home in Leeds”, said David Nixon, Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director. “Performing a masterwork such as Concertante is a real challenge and demonstrates the high standard of the Company. We’re excited to be working with Lar Lubovitch on Concerto Six Twenty-Two. And, I am delighted for Kenneth Tindall to have the opportunity to stage the première of The Architect; it’s important that we encourage and nurture such talent in our dancers.”


 Tickets (£17.50/ £15) available from 0113 220 8008 or online at www.theatreleeds.com



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