Exclusive Hamlet Music Preview

January 31, 2008 at 5:39 pm (Artist's News, Tour News) (, , , , , , )

Hamlet Microsite

Go to the Hamlet Website to hear exclusive excerpts of Philip Feeney’s new score for David Nixon’s latest ballet. Here you can also find the full Scenario for the ballet.
Keep checking for more updates in the run up to Hamlet’s Premiere on the 16th February in Leeds.

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A Special Hamlet Evening

January 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm (Events, General Information) (, , , , , , )

Hamlet @ Room Event

Hamlet @ Room - Details

For more information on the production, please visit our Hamlet website.

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David Nixon and Pippa Moore to be guest judges at the northern heat of the 2007 Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancer’s Competition

January 21, 2008 at 11:02 am (Artist's News, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , , )

The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers CompetitionThe Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) in association with the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation and the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation, is proud to announce that the second Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition will take place between January and April 2008, with the second regional heat (Northern England, Ireland & Scotland) to be held at The Dancehouse, Manchester, on 26 & 27 January 2008.Launched in 2006, the competition is held biennially, offering hundreds of young dancers (10-13 years) from all over the UK the opportunity to work with dance professionals and perform in front of live audiences.

 Regional heats will be held around the country at Woking, Manchester, Birmingham and Weston-super-Mare, with the winners of each heat going on to the Final at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London, on April 13 2008.

The Level 1 winner of the 2006 competition, was spotted by casting agents and went on to play the leading role in Billy Elliott on the West End stage!

Eminent dance professionals will be acting as guest judges across the country, expressing their support and commitment to the Competition.

Pippa Moore, Leading Soloist (Northern Ballet Theatre) and David Nixon, Artistic Director (Northern Ballet Theatre) will be guest judges at the Northern England, Ireland & Scotland heat.
To book your tickets call the Dancehouse Box Office on: 0161 237 9753

Northern England, Ireland & Scotland heat time table:

Saturday 26 January 2008 Sunday 27 January 2008
Level 2 Level 1
Doors open: 6.00 pm Morning
Performance: 6.30 pm – 9.45 pm Doors Open: 11.30 am
Performance: 12.00 pm – 3.15 pm
Doors Open: 6.00 pm
Performance: 6.30 pm – 9.45 pm

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All on Sale – Book Online Today

January 16, 2008 at 11:51 am (Tour News) (, , , , , , , , , )

All tickets for this season’s performances are now on sale.

NBT's Hamlet Ballet

 NBT's A Midsummer Night's Dream Ballet NBT's Romeo & Juliet Ballet

To book online click here.

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Interview with Christopher Giles

January 14, 2008 at 10:05 am (Artist's News, General Information) (, , , , , )

Hamlet Flash Site

Christopher Giles, Set and Costume Designer on NBT’s latest production, Hamlet, has been interviewed by our Communications team. You can find the video on the new production Flash sites we lauched last week. These sites are still in development, but over the next few weeks new videos, galleries and production information will go up to give you a better picture of each of NBT’s Ballets.  

Click here to visit the Production pages…

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Building Project gains ‘Momentum’

January 11, 2008 at 11:19 am (Company News, Friends News, Fundraising) (, , , , , )


NBT’s new building project gains ‘Momentum’

Good progress is being made on the development of our new home on Quarry Hill in central Leeds with Phoenix Dance Theatre. The internal layouts for the building are taking shape and our Architects, Jacobs, are currently working on the external look of the building. Early discussions with Leeds City Council Planning department have been positive and an informal presentation of the design and layout is scheduled to take place on 30 January with the Chief Planning Officer to gauge further support.

The formal OJEU Notice (basically an advertisement asking for expressions of interest to become the building Contractor) has been posted with a deadline of 13 February for expressions of interest.

At this stage we are reasonably happy that the design is within budget but our Quantity Surveyor will carry out a cost check in mid-February just to be sure.

Building work is currently scheduled to start on site in February 2009 for completion in May 2010.

The building is costing £12million and the good news is that we’ve raised £10.5million of that. We still need to raise £1.5million by the end of 2009 and to make sure we do that we are launching Momentum, our capital fundraising campaign. The fundraising launch will take place on 21 February at an event which will be attended by NBT’s Royal Patron – HRH The Earl of Wessex KG, KCVO. There will be many ways in which our supporters can contribute to the campaign including naming rights to the building, naming of the studio theatre, rehearsal studios or even seats within the theatre.

Watch this space for further updates about the new building and Momentum.

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Upcoming Classical Training Events

January 9, 2008 at 2:20 pm (Classical Training, Events, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , )

NBT Open Classes Flier

Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) and Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) will hold an open dance class in Leeds on Sunday 20th January 2008 at the West Park Centre, Spen Lane, Leeds, LS16 5BE. The open day is an opportunity for young dance enthusiasts from NBT’s hometown, and across Yorkshire, to sample a ballet or contemporary dance class and learn more about the Yorkshire Young Dancer (YYD) Scheme. The open day is free and must be booked in advance through NBT’s Classical Training department on 0113 274 5355, email: classicaltraining@northernballettheatre.co.uk

Northern Ballet Theatre’s (NBT) will be holding ‘Introduction to ballet classes’ for children aged 8-11 starting in February 2008.The dance classes will provide the perfect opportunity for youngsters to have fun, stay healthy, try something new and learn more about ballet with the North’s premiėre ballet Company. The classes will be held at NBT’s studios at the West Park Centre, Spen Lane, Leeds, LS16 5BE. No prior dance experience is required, just enthusiasm and motivation for dancing. Classes will be held on Wednesdays during term time from 5.30pm to 6.30pm and cost £40 per term.

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L&A January Update + Talks & Events News

January 9, 2008 at 11:30 am (Events, Learning & Access) (, , , )

The Learning & Access department’s monthly update can be found here

This section of the website has also been updated with all the relevant information for the new season including the latest on forthcoming talks and events.

You can search these events by venue on the Tour Page

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Hamlet Trailer

January 7, 2008 at 1:10 pm (Marketing and PR News, Tour News) (, , , , , , )

Hamlet – Coming soon!

Click here for more information, tour dates and to get the new Hamlet desktop background.

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Damart keep NBT warm on China tour

January 7, 2008 at 1:06 pm (Friends News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Dreda Blow, Michael Berkin, Kieran Stoneley, Chantelle Gotobed. Photograph by Simon Dewhurst

Yorkshire-based thermal specialist Damart kindly kitted out the entire Company who jetted off to chilly China on a four week performance tour. A large supply of Damart thermals was donated to help keep the dancers and crew warm during the tour of China’s main cities including Beijing and Shanghai. The dancers felt the benefit of the thermals during class and rehearsals and they will also come in useful now the Company has returned to the UK during our cold winter days. Dancers Michael Berkin, Dreda Blow, Chantelle Gotobed and Kieran Stoneley took part in a photo-shoot to celebrate Damart’s support and they were quite taken by the thermals which they were able to keep after the photo-shoot.

Click here for press release

NBT Dancers. Photo: Simon Dewhurst

NBT Dancers. Photo: Simon Dewhurst

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Hamlet @ Room

January 7, 2008 at 12:00 pm (Events, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , )

Hamlet @ Room Event

Hamlet @ Room - Details

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China Report: Final Performance

January 4, 2008 at 2:36 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Shanghai Grand Theatre's auditorium - photo: Andy Waddington

Class was held on stage today and an hour later than originally scheduled to give the company more time to find those final shopping bargains and for last minute sightseeing.

The final performance was a triumph with “Bravo” being called from all corners of the theatre. Over the two performances we have played to 87% capacity which is a very pleasing result and we have been told by the management that we are welcome back at the Shanghai Grand Theatre anytime!!

The final get out is underway and extra crew have been called to help get the work finished as quickly as possible. This is the last time we will work with our Touring Chinese Lighting Crew who have been fantastic and worked tirelessly to get the performances on. This has been a very significant change to previous tours where we relied solely on local theatre staff. We would have been hard pressed to get the production on in some venues without their support.

The company are now all looking forward to the journey home and although the coach is at 8.30am, we are sure everyone will be there on time!!

The last few days have been a mix of emotions for everyone. The excitement of being in Shanghai and all that it brings, but at the same time the knowledge that we are going home and wishing that time would move more speedily towards the flight home. The reaction to the final performance (and the reaction throughout the tour) has made it all worthwhile

All of the company have been outstanding and really have shown what being part of NBT is about. They have adapted and coped with every situation that we have faced with a smile and have done excellent performances on each occasion.

Special mention must be given to the Technical team who worked incredibly hard often in difficult circumstance and coped in the most professional way. Chun-Yen our bi-lingual Stage Manager, has been invaluable and ran the shows from the corner via walky talky and managed to cue the show whilst dealing with any translation needs.

A final special mention must go to Andy Waddington who has headed up the Technical team throughout but has also managed the tour since we left Beijing.

We hope the coach journey to the airport is straightforward tomorrow – fingers crossed but watch this space just in case!!

Mark Skipper
Chief Executive

PS: As always – a final challenge!! The wrong size containers have been sent. Not the high cubes that the set was shipped from the UK in but only 8 foot high. The shipping company were adamant that these are the same ones as we had shipped here but we know differently. It will be tight but we think it should all fit.

Get out - photo: Andy Waddington

Get out - photo: Andy Waddington

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China Report: White fungus soup and Dragon’s Eggs

January 4, 2008 at 12:23 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

When Nigel and I arrived in China just over a month ago, I decided I’d only eat Chinese food so I could savour some of the more exotic tastes and understand a little more about Chinese culture. In the first couple of weeks before the rest of the company arrived, we had the help of our translator, who was always ready to explain the menu. I’ve learned that food is sweeter in Wuxi and Hangzhou because Chinese in these regions have a sweeter tooth than their northern cousins do in Beijing. But each region also has its own special dishes. In Beijing, it’s duck, and Sichuan food, which is pretty hot and spicy. In Hangzhou local dishes included fish, very sweet pork rich in fat, and Beggars Chicken, traditionally a whole chicken encased in mud then cooked in a fire, but now of course wrapped in paper and cooked in the oven. Delicious.

Once I got used to having vegetables for breakfast, the rest was easy. So I started with steamed green vegetable, or sweet potato, or pumpkin – an energy boost in the morning. We don’t eat such a colourful breakfast at home, but I really love having sweet potato and it makes sense to me. I’d then usually have some dumplings and rice or millet congee – Chinese porridge. I love the millet, especially with a little plain yoghurt. There was always fresh fruit on the menu – delicious sweet watermelon was my preference – and eggs which ever way you like them. I don’t like to eat meat or eggs every day, but it seems the Chinese have a delicious full banquet for breakfast, which includes meat and pickles and all sorts of noodle dishes, I have to admit I never tasted. I simply couldn’t eat that much in the morning. My favourite breakfast dishes included what I call dragon eggs – wonderful blue-black speckled steamed dumplings which have a delicious soft centre – of what I’m not sure, but I think it’s red bean paste. It tasted great and was a favourite in Hangzhou. I also enjoyed the white fungus soup with Chinese dates – a sweet, clear, viscous mixture which I’m told is excellent especially for women. For me, food is medicine, so I was going to eat this just on that recommendation. And I have to say I’ll be looking for it in the Chinese supermarket in Leeds when I get home. This was better in Beijing than in Wuxi or Hangzhou where it was too sweet for my taste. When there was no white fungus soup, the red bean one was just as delicious, and probably just as good for women, too. Another treat I enjoyed for breakfast was the black sticky rice with lotus seeds. It’s sweet and delicious. I also will miss jujube steamed bun and green vegetable dumplings – which became favourites.

After such a large breakfast, I’d usually skip lunch, opting instead for an early dinner. Chinese restaurants open early for dinner around five in the evening, and tend to close early too, around nine.

For dinner, we’d go to a local restaurant, first with our translator who would advise about the local dishes and what she thought was good, and then trusting our ability to communicate with the picture menu, miming and pointing. It seemed to work a treat. Of course, the guide book with essential Chinese words is also a big help. We enjoyed the freshest fish – because it’s still swimming in the tank before it comes to your table. I don’t know whether it’s the visits to the Buddhist temples or just the fact that the Chinese kitchen is an open affair where you point to fish in the tank and as you and the fish give each other the knowing stare. But I’ve become rather uncomfortable about having a fish – or any animal really – sacrificed for my table. I expect when I get back to Leeds, where fish comes filleted in the supermarket or lies there already dead so it wasn’t my fault, that I’ll get over it. But in China, the fish is fished out of the tank in a net and taken away to meet its fate. Their supermarkets are full of fish tanks. So they must think we simply don’t know the meaning of fresh.

I also love Sichuan pepper – hot, spicy but wonderfully aromatic. Our Christmas dinner was Beijing Duck in their most famous duck restaurant. And it was a treat. We also had delicious exotic vegetables like willow and preserved walnuts, and I’ve now eaten aubergine cooked in so many different ways and all of them delicious. In the south, I loved the chicken and peanuts with lots of chillies. In the north, the Mongolian hot pot was fabulous and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Chun and Chiaki and Helen in Beijing where the mushrooms, green bean vermicelli and tofu were especially good.

The best thing about five weeks eating Chinese food is that it’s been very good for my health. I haven’t seen many obese Chinese people at all compared to our well advertised problems of diet and obesity at home. Obviously steaming food and not using dairy has a lot to do with it. But also for me, having virtually no alcohol has no doubt improved my health but also my taste for food. I don’t even look for a glass of wine with dinner anymore, as I must admit I haven’t managed to acquire a taste for Chinese wine. Tea has been my drink of choice. I’ve enjoyed lots of different types of green tea, jasmine tea, chrysanthemum, and I now enjoy rose bud tea for breakfast.

Well, it’s my last day, so I’m off to enjoy my final Chinese breakfast, until next time. And tonight, I’m going to try something new. I think I’ll have to order the Buddha Jumping over the Wall soup. And I’m not even going to ask what’s in that.

Diana Solano.

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China Report: First Performance in Shanghai

January 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Chiaki prepares for her last performance - photo: Neil G Jarman

The fit up continued through the night. The LX department finished rigging the lights at 4am and returned to the hotel for a few hours sleep before returning to focus the lights at 10am. The Stage department worked through until 7am and took a break until1.30pm with only a few minor masking issues to be resolved. The Shanghai in house crew were really helpful and said “Yes” to everything.

Class yesterday in the theatre studio had been a little hazardous with a lino like a skating rink. So during the night we took rolls of our lino up the unending flights of stairs to 5th floor.

Class and Technical rehearsal went well and our technical departments did a remarkable job in getting the production ready in such a minimal fit up time.

Tonight was Chiaki Nagao’s “final” final performance prior to retirement. The Company gave an excellent performance and the Shanghai orchestra were very good with a very attentive audience and good numbers in attendance. It was a fitting final performance for Chiaki. Young, our Promoter was delighted and the Grand Theatre said it was the best thing they have had. Tonight was the final sponsored evening of the tour this time hosted by Leeds Met University and as well as local guests was attended by NBT staff and dancers not appearing in tonight’s performance.

One more performance to go and then home!!

Chiaki in performance - photo: Neil G Jarman

Chiaki in performance - photo: Neil G Jarman

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China Radio International – Review

January 3, 2008 at 9:53 am (Marketing and PR News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

NBT's Madame Butterfly“Northern Ballet Theatre, one of the best loved and most traveled dance companies in Britain, has brought another theatrical success to China with “Madame Butterfly.” And this unexpectedly moving production wraps up the 5th Beijing International Dance Festival…”

click here to read full review 

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China Report: Almost Free Day in Shanghai

January 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Downtown Shanghai - photo: Neil G Jarman

Today was pretty uneventful. The Technical department were free until 11pm when they started their marathon shift fitting the production into the theatre in time for tomorrow’s first performance. At the time of writing (2am local time) all was going to schedule with the fit up. The dancers had class this morning and by lunchtime were free for the rest of the day to continue the tourist trail.

Old Shanghai - photo: Neil G Jarman

View from the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower - photo: Neil G Jarman

In the temple of the Jade Buddha - photo: Neil G Jarman

In the temple of the Jade Buddha - photo: Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Yangzhou to Shanghai

January 1, 2008 at 9:10 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Oriental Pearl TV Tower - photo: Neil G Jarman

After the tedious coach journeys experienced over the last few weeks everybody was expecting the worse this morning. The journey from Yangzhou to Shanghai was estimated to take 5 hours. Everybody was on the coach by 9.55am ahead of the 10am scheduled departure. The well established check out routine is working like clockwork now after 5 cities/hotels.

The first stop of the day was at 11.50am at Wuxi services and then surprisingly we arrived at the Lansheng hotel in Shanghai at 1.45pm – only 3 hours and 50 minutes including stop!! The roads en route were deserted and Shanghai was not as busy as usual. The check in was a bit slow as the hotel had not taken into account our request for smoking and non-smoking rooms but in the scheme of things this was a small detail and everyone was checked in by 2.15pm.

The hotel is lovely and although a change from the hotel we had originally agreed everyone was really happy and looking forward to the final four nights of the tour. The only slight issue is that the hotel is quite a distance from the City centre and also a 30 to 40 minute drive to the Grand Theatre. We have found in most cities on the tour that they are reluctant to put us in hotels that are in walking distance from the theatres which really would make life a lot easier. It was great in Beijing being in the same building. The distance from the centre did not deter most people from venturing out and discovering the local area and also catching cabs to the centre. Last heard, there was some of our company on the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower on their 2nd bottle of Champagne!!

Andy Waddington with Steve Wilkins and Rich Godfrey departed the hotel at 10.30pm and arrived at the theatre to unload the containers on to the side of stage as agreed. This would mean that we would gain time by laying it all out in the right places on stage and be able to attack with gusto the fit up tomorrow night. Richard Clayderman is performing tomorrow evening. On arrival we found that they did not want us to unload onto stage and insisted we unload into a dock area. We explained through Flora, our Interpreter, that this was pointless and a waste of time as it would not gain us anything for the extremely tight fit up. Unloading into the dock area and then double handling it tomorrow would mean that we would still be the unload time down. The theatre only had security guards on duty and said that they did not have the key to the one sliding door between where the trailers were and where we needed to put the set. A stand off followed and Young, our Promoter was summoned and came down to the theatre very apologetically and confirmed that this was not what had been agreed. He then phoned the theatre management and local promoter. The local promoter arrived and we again explained that by unloading tonight into the dock area would not help in the fit up and we were not unloading unless it was onto stage. A discussion then took place in Chinese and the outcome was we caught a cab back to the Hotel. This whole discussion took over 2 hours in the freezing cold. The outcome is that we are now getting in at 11pm tomorrow night and unloading straight onto stage. This will then mean our Technical Teams working straight through the night until the end of the performance on 3rd which is far from satisfactory. They have an additional problem in that the container haulage contract finishes tonight but that one is not our problem to resolve. (Our own contractors are responsible for taking the containers out of the theatre and back to the UK)

So what should have been a very simple process became much more of as issue as is so often the case working in China. With the experiences we have had working with the various theatre crews across China we are somewhat nervous about how the fit up will go and we have made it very clear to Young that the show will only happen on time if the crew work our way and allow things to run smoothly. Only time will tell on that one

In the foyer of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower - photo: Neil G Jarman

Motorway service food Chinese style - photo: Andy Waddington

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