Jeremy Kerridge returns to NBT

January 30, 2009 at 9:40 am (Artist's News, Company News, General Information)

The Company is delighted to welcome back past NBT dancer of 22 years Jeremy Kerridge, who has returned to the Company’s Leeds base to rehearse the dancers for the upcoming revival of A Simple Man. Jeremy has been working with the dancers for the past couple of weeks and will return to Leeds on 2 February for a week of rehearsals alongside Gillian Lynne.

Jeremy first danced the role of Lowry in A Simple Man in 1990 and was asked to help revive the production because he has danced so many of the roles. Since leaving NBT in 2003 Jeremy has been working on the West End hit Billy Elliott, helping locate cast members and teaching ballet. He has also been teaching at Tring Park for the past four years.

Jeremy said: “It’s absolutely lovely to be back at NBT working with the Company. The dancers have really embraced the production, which has been a great joy to watch. It really has been great fun and I’m looking forward to seeing A Simple Man on stage once more.”

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NBT Assistant Music Director to guest conduct for Celebration

January 29, 2009 at 10:33 am (General Information)

Northern Ballet Theatre’s Assistant Music Director Nigel Gaynor has been invited to guest conduct, Celebration, a special gala performance at Sadler’s Wells by Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur celebrating one of ballet’s great partnerships.

Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur are Senior Principal Dancers with English National Ballet and their career-long partnership spanning over two decades is due to end in July when Agnes Oaks retires. Their on-stage partnership mirrors their off-stage relationship as husband and wife. Celebration is a one off gala that takes place this Friday 30 January at Sadler’s Wells, London. Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur and dancers from English National Ballet will perform pieces chosen by this extraordinary partnership to reflect their lives in dance.

Nigel Gaynor has this week taken a break from rehearsing with NBT in Leeds to join Oaks and Edur for this special event. He is a regular guest conductor with English National Ballet and joined the Company as Guest Principal Conductor on its 2006 tour to Taiwan, but feels this performance is particularly special. He says: “It’s a great honour to be invited to conduct at this gala as Agnes’ retirement marks an end of an era. I recently conducted the Orchestra of English National Ballet for Agnes’ final performance of The Sleeping Beauty at the Coliseum which was very special as she is known for her wonderful ability to balance. It’s a privilege to work with Agnes and Thomas, they work with such intensity and I admire them. We have a good, trusting relationship which is very important. They trust that I will be able to interpret their performance and to know what they need from the music when they are on stage. Friday night will be a wonderful occasion to celebrate and pay tribute to their partnership.”

We wish Nigel all the very best for this special event.

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NBT win National Dance Award

January 20, 2009 at 8:47 am (Company News, Events, Marketing and PR News)

David Nixon receives the award from Dame Beryl Grey. Photo by John Ross

David Nixon receives the award from Dame Beryl Grey. Photo by John Ross

We’re delighted to be able to able to tell you that Northern Ballet Theatre has received the coveted Patron’s Award of the 2008 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. The Award is chosen by legendary ballerina Dame Beryl Grey, Patron of the National Dance Awards. Dame Beryl presented the Award to David Nixon, NBT’s Artistic Director, recently at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Previous winners of the Patron’s Award are Darcey Bussell (2007) and the BBC1 series Strictly Come Dancing (2006).

The Patron’s Awards is given to an individual or organisation that has significantly furthered the cause of dance in the UK.

Dame Beryl Grey said: “I decided to give the 2008 Patron’s Award to NBT in recognition of the contribution the Company has made to raising the profile of dance in the UK. From its beginnings as England’s only regionally-based dance company it has attained its place as one of the country’s leading forces for dance, touring widely and performing for audiences who might otherwise not have an opportunity to experience diverse programmes of ballet of the highest quality.”

On receiving the award David Nixon said, “It is an honour to have been chosen by Dame Beryl Grey as the recipient of this year’s Patron’s Award. I am so pleased that the tireless work of NBT has been recognised through the Award. There could be no better way to begin our 40th anniversary year.”

NBT has been nominated in a number of categories at the National Dance Awards in the past and received the Audience Award for three consecutive years (2004, 2005 and 2006). The Audience Award was the only award voted for by the public. This year’s Awards will take place on Monday 26 January, 1.40pm, at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. Free tickets for the Awards ceremony can be obtained by calling Sadler’s Wells Theatre on 0844 412 4300.

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NBT Orchestra Leader remembers celebrated Leeds-born composer, Angela Morley

January 8, 2009 at 4:48 pm (Artist's News, Music)

Celebrated Leeds-born composer Angela Morley died on 15 January in Arizona where she lived.

Angela was one of the top composers and arrangers of film and light music in the world.
Born in Leeds (as Wally Stott) Angela grew up on Kirkstall Road (not far from NBT’s West Park base), where her father had a jeweller’s shop. Her early musical activities were as a saxophonist, becoming a member of Geraldo’s Band in 1944. However, she soon decided to concentrate on composition and arranging and became Musical Director of Phillips Records, writing and conducting for albums by many famous UK singers, as well as American artists including Rosemary Clooney and Mel Tormé. She also wrote the theme and incidental music for the BBC comedy series Hancock’s Half Hour and for The Goon Show.

During the 60s she wrote the scores for a number of films, including Watership Down, When Eight Bells Toll and The Slipper and the Rose (the last of which was nominated for an Academy Award). On moving to California in the 70s she wrote music for many TV series including Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Cagney and Lacey. A close relationship with famous film composer John Williams developed, with Angela working on the scores for many of his blockbuster movies such as Star Wars, Superman, ET and Schindler’s List.

Geoff Allan, NBT’s Orchestra Leader, was recently particularly honoured to be the dedicatee of her recent piece for violin and orchestra, “Rêverie”.

Geoff said: “I first contacted Angela Morley about 5 years ago, when I wrote her a fan letter. I had admired her music for so long that I wanted to tell her how I felt. We struck up a correspondence and I was soon encouraging her to write something for me to play. We met the following year, and I found her to be as delightful and interesting a person as her music suggests.

“Recently she composed a piece called “Rêverie” for violin and string orchestra. She asked me to record it for her with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. It is a really beautiful piece and I am truly honoured that she dedicated it to me.

“I am deeply saddened to hear of Angela’s death. This is a great loss to the world of light music. Angela was without question one of the supreme practitioners of that art, alongside Robert Farnon, and will be greatly missed.”

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A thank you to our audiences

January 7, 2009 at 12:31 pm (Fundraising, General Information)

We would like like to thank all the audience members at performances of The Nutcracker in Leeds who donated so generously to our momentum campaign. At each curtain call dancers from the Company made a personal appeal to the audience for support towards momentum, NBT’s fundraising campaign for a new building on Quarry Hill in central Leeds. Dancers in costume held collection buckets at the exit doors and in total a staggering £18,309 was raised.
If you made a donation and did not complete a gift aid form you can do so now by completing the attached form and sending it to us. By claiming gift aid we are able to make your donation go further.
Gift Aid Declaration
Thank you again to everyone who gave so generously. The fundraising total for momentum now stands at just over £900,000 of our £1.5million target.
We’re also delighted to tell you that we recorded our most successful performance season ever at the Grand Theatre, Leeds. More than 21,600 people attended 16 performances of The Nutcracker between 17-31 December, an average of 1,351 people per performance.

Thank you for your continued support from us all at NBT.

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