Larger than life dancers decorate city centre site

October 28, 2009 at 3:17 pm (Marketing and PR News, momentum)

Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre Dancers in front of the new hoardings

Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre Dancers in front of the new hoardings (Photo: Justin Slee)

Striking hoardings featuring dancers from Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre have been revealed around the site of the new home for both Companies on Quarry Hill in the centre of Leeds.

Northern Ballet Theatre and Marketing Leeds have worked together to develop the hoardings which have been designed to raise profile of the new centre for dance, and for momentum, the campaign to raise funds for the completion of the building. The hoardings run along York Street and celebrate Leeds’ status as an important city for dance.

Northern Ballet Theatre Dancers in front of the new hoardings

Northern Ballet Theatre Dancers in front of the new hoardings... (Photo: Justin Slee)

Mark Skipper, Chief Executive of NBT explained:
“We wanted to let people know that the building taking shape on Quarry Hill is going to be an important centre for dance in the UK. Our new building is a symbol that Leeds is a bold, creative and diverse city with the foresight to invest in the country’s fastest growing art form. The artwork is a great opportunity to celebrate this and to acknowledge the people who have supported the momentum campaign so generously. We’re delighted Marketing Leeds has added their support to this venture.”

The new centre for dance will be completed in August 2010 and open officially in January 2011. It will be the headquarters for Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre as well as the Northern Ballet Theatre Academy and will also be home to Leeds Metropolitan University dance degree courses.

Northern Ballet Theatre dancers in front of the new hoardings

Northern Ballet Theatre dancers in front of the new hoardings... (Photo: Justin Slee)

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Academy Intensive Weekend…

October 28, 2009 at 10:07 am (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy)

Professional Division Students (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Professional Division Students (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

The start of the half-term break found the Professional Division students spending their weekend at Northern Ballet Theatre Academy for an intensive course which saw them doing things a little out of the ordinary. . .

Whilst the younger students began a normal ballet class with Cara, the older students had a yoga class with Nichi Green (from the Yogaspace) which made them all very relaxed and perhaps even a little bit sleepy! As they went into their ballet class to be woken up by Yoko, the younger students met Bgirl Firefly who gave them a class in hip-hop and street dance. The students were ‘top-rocking’ and ‘threading’ in no time and enjoyed learning the new moves. After the lunch-break, Firefly worked with the older levels teaching them some basic street dance moves and then giving some slightly more difficult combinations to work on. Meanwhile the younger students were practicing their preparations for Halloween with a make-up workshop taken by make-up artist Ame Boyd. I walked into the classroom to be met by students with broken noses, deep scratches, scars and bullet wounds and as I’m very squeamish I had to keep reminding myself that these were fake wounds and not actually as real as they looked! I left the room with a deep, bleeding scratch on my hand (fake, thankfully!) and gathered all the students to watch Firefly show off some of her moves. The students all sat open-mouthed at Firefly’s incredible performance and there was lots of cheering and clapping as everyone thanked both Firefly and Ame for a brilliant day.

Fun Hallowe'en Make-up (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Fun Hallowe'en Make-up (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

As the students left at the end of their first day, there were many reminders to ensure they arrived at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford by 7.00pm as we had arranged for all the students to watch NBT perform Wuthering Heights. The production was amazing with fantastic music, a brilliant representation of the story and outstanding performances by all involved. At the end of the performance, the students gave a standing ovation during the curtain call with a lot of cheering, showing how much they had enjoyed the production.

On Sunday morning, the older students had ballet class with Cara first thing and the younger students did a workshop with Catherine and Steph from the communications department. The students talked about advertising and discussed TV adverts and posters, giving ideas about what they liked and didn’t like before they were set a task to design a poster for either A Christmas Carol or Peter Pan. There were many good designs and a selected few are shown below (and some are on display outside our office at West Park). As the younger students finished off their artwork and headed to the studio for their ballet class, the older students moved from ballet class to street dance, this time with Hannah Thompson. Hannah taught the older students some more street dance moves, including locking, popping and waving and put together a short routine from each component. After hard work from both groups in their respective classes, all students had a lunch break before the older students finished their weekend off with a further yoga class and the younger students got their chance to learn some more funky moves with Hannah.

A Christmas Carol & Peter Pan Posters

A Christmas Carol & Peter Pan Posters

The students left to waiting parents who were dutifully shown some of the street dance moves before heading home to look forward to a well-deserved week off. After a weekend of doing something different, the students seemed tired but happy with the whole weekend so it was a successful end to the first half of the autumn term.

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Northern Ballet Theatre at Leeds Light Night

October 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm (Events, General Information) (, , , )

Photo by Northern Ballet Theatre

Photo by Northern Ballet Theatre

On Friday 9 October staff from Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre camped out in a tent on Millennium Square as part of Leeds’ fifth annual Light Night.

After weeks of planning we were glad the date had arrived and we could show off our brand new interactive dance video. The video which was designed for complete dance beginners, with a step-by-step voice over, included a warm-up featuring NBT dancers, then you could choose to learn either Dance of the Knights from NBT’s Romeo & Juliet or Phoenix’s brand new piece Fastlane.

Photo by Northern Ballet Theatre

Photo by Northern Ballet Theatre

The event was a huge success, even the rain helped a little as our tent provided the only shelter on Millennium Square, but we stayed busy all evening with people of all ages taking part.

Photo by Northern Ballet Theatre

Photo by Northern Ballet Theatre

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NBT joins the Cultural Olympiad in Yorkshire

October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am (Friends News, General Information) (, , , , , , , , , )

NBT is delighted to announce that we are part of a second major Cultural Olympiad Yorkshire project.

Northern Ballet Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas

Northern Ballet Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas. (Photo: HANSON)

Northern Ballet Theatre has joined forces with Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas. Leeds Canvas has been selected as the Yorkshire region winner of a £500,000 commission for Artists taking the lead, one of the major projects for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Internationally acclaimed filmmakers and artists the Quay Brothers will use the entire city as the ‘canvas’ for a series of art interventions and installations, building up to a spectacular one-off event centred around Leeds’ Dark Arches.

Quay Brothers

Quay Brothers

Leeds Canvas is one of 12 commissions that will be realised across the UK over the next three years, each inspired by their location and celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

David Nixon, Artistic Director of NBT said:

“I am delighted that the proposal put together by the Leeds Creative Partnership team has been successful. This project has the possibility to transform Leeds and reach far beyond this city’s boundaries. Through collaboration our possibilities are magnified and our individual strengths personified and by inviting exceptional artists to work with us in Leeds we will create exceptional experiences and opportunities that we hope will have a lasting legacy. The 2012 Olympic games will be such a special time for the country and it will provide us with the opportunity to come together as one community and create some truly exciting work that touches many, many people.”

This is the second Cultural Olympiad project NBT is part of. Last week we announced that we were leading the ‘Don’t Just Sit There’ project.

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New ‘A Christmas Carol’ Gallery Now Online

October 20, 2009 at 9:06 am (General Information)

We have some spectacular new production photos of our production of A Christmas Carol online at the main website…

Northern Ballet Theatre Photos by Bill Cooper

Visit the A Chrstmas Carol gallery for larger images…

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Wuthering Heights – Bradford Cast Sheet

October 20, 2009 at 8:26 am (Casts)

Wuthering Heights - Northern Ballet Theatre Photo by Merlin Hendy

Wuthering Heights - Northern Ballet Theatre Photo by Merlin Hendy

Bradford, alhambra Theatre box office: 0871 297 5454

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Wuthering Heights.

Information on further events at the theatre, touch tours, audio described performances and workshops.

Please note, casts are subject to change without notice.

Tuesday, 20 October

Evening: 7.30pm

Wednesday, 21 October

Evening: 7.30pm

Thursday, 22 October

Matinée: 2.30pm

Evening: 7.30pm

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Don’t Just Sit There!

October 15, 2009 at 3:55 pm (Fundraising)

imove has awarded £855,000 to three groundbreaking partnerships between leading Yorkshire-based organisations for the creation of an ambitious series of projects linking art and sport in exciting new ways in the run up to London 2012.  Inspired by the forthcoming Olympics, the imove Programme aims to transform the relationship between people in Yorkshire and their moving bodies through unique crossovers between culture, sport and physical education.

One of the projects, Don’t Just Sit There, will be led by Northern Ballet Theatre, and will include Education Leeds, College of Chinese Physical Culture, Rotherham-based Open Minds Theatre Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Marketing Leeds and the Rugby Football League. Together the partners will harness their resources to tackle issues arising from sedentary lifestyles.

Back row left to right: Paul Kaiserman, ArtForms, Education Leeds; Simon Wells, Open Minds Theatre Company; Michael Bursey, College of Chinese Physical Culture; front row left to right: Jordan Tansey, Hull FC, RFL; Amanda Lewis, Phoenix Dance Theatre; Megan Hughes, Northern Ballet Theatre

Back row left to right: Paul Kaiserman, ArtForms, Education Leeds; Simon Wells, Open Minds Theatre Company; Michael Bursey, College of Chinese Physical Culture; front row left to right: Jordan Tansey, Hull FC, RFL; Amanda Lewis, Phoenix Dance Theatre; Megan Hughes, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy. Photo Paul Floyd Blake.

The project aims to teach people about their bodies and increase participation in sport and physical activity using dance, physical theatre, music, sport and alternative movement forms. Planned activities include:

  • Spirit Alive – a child-led mini-sporting festival
  • Energisers – mass participation events aimed at adults and students, at the centre of which will be a rugby-pitch sized immersive, light-filled Colourscape structure
  • Work in schools across the region with artists in classical and contemporary dance, physical theatre, Chinese movement, music, Indian and African dance, West Indian Carnival and new Zealand Haka

Jon Ingham, NBT’s Director of Fundraising, said:

“The project will use dance, physical theatre, sport, carnival and music to share the Olympic experience and create a sense of excitement about the approaching Games. We will encourage people to get involved in cultural and sporting activities and become active participants, rather than merely observers.”

imove is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games. Yorkshire Forward and Arts Council England, Yorkshire, have also invested in the programme. For more information visit http://www.culturalolympiadinyorkshire.com/

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momentum Building Update

October 15, 2009 at 9:20 am (momentum)

As of mid-October the concrete cores are now complete and work has begun on the steel-work. Construction of the steel frame continues; it is quickly taking shape ready for the floors, roof and walls.

See a time-lapse video of the construction work so far.

Donate to the momentum project.

Visit the Building-momentum website for lots of images, information and interactive floor-plans.

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A Christmas Carol – Milton Keynes Cast

October 13, 2009 at 12:02 pm (Casts)

The Parade of Plenty (Northern Ballet Theatre Photo by Brian Slater)

The Parade of Plenty (Northern Ballet Theatre Photo by Brian Slater)

Buy tickets for A Christmas Carol from Milton Keynes Theatre.

Milton Keynes Theatre box office: 0871 297 5454

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol.

Information on further events at the theatre, touch tours, audio described performances and workshops.

Please note, casts are subject to change without notice.

Tuesday, 13 October

Evening, 7.30pm

Wednesday, 14 October

Evening, 7.30pm

Thursday, 15 October

Matinée, 2.30pm

Evening, 7.30pm

Friday, 16 October

Evening, 7.30pm

Saturday, 17 October

Matinée, 2.30pm

Evening, 7.30pm


Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol.

Information on further events at the theatre, touch tours, audio described performances and workshops.

Please note, casts are subject to change without notice.

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You Dancing? We’re Asking!

October 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm (General Information)

This Friday will be Leeds’ Fifth annual Light Night. I’m really excited that it’s finally here, it seems like we have been working on it for ages and overcome quite a few dilemmas along the way!

I remember meeting with Sharon Watson (now Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre) back in March, we were trying to think of ways to make ballet user-friendly and show people it’s not always tutus and tiptoes. We knew that Dance Mats and Wiis had basically featured on everyone’s Christmas list for 2008 and thought why not follow the trend? Our big idea was to produce a ballet version of these interactive step-by-step games and get the general public giving it a go.

For Light Night 2009 we also wanted to work with Phoenix Dance Theatre who we will soon be sharing a building with, so we put the idea to them and they loved it. They were going to work on a contemporary piece of dance for the video and we just had to decide on a ballet piece. We quickly agreed on Dance of the Knights from Romeo & Juliet as a piece that was dramatic and relatively easy with great music that everyone would recognise (theme tune to The Apprentice TV show).

The other question, which proved a lot more difficult to solve, was where to screen these videos on the night? We didn’t want to be inside, tucked away in a dark room. We wanted to be in the heart of the action. “Why not put it in a tent” I said! So we have…just about. It’s taken 3 attempts to find a marquee company that could help us with this request, at the beginning of the week we thought we might just be stood there with a plasma TV and nothing to cover us, but fingers crossed we will be on Millennium Square on Friday ready to invite people in and transform the people of Leeds into semi-professional dancers.

I have to say a big thank you to Jo Dean (NBT Learning & Access Co-ordinator) who has spent the last 2 months filming, editing and recording the voice-overs. But now the video is complete and all we need are some people willing to give it a go. So if you feel up for the challenge please come and find us from 6pm onwards on Millennium Square and you can learn moves from either Romeo & Juliet or Phoenix’s brand new piece Fast Lane. And for anyone doubting whether they can do it, the whole Marketing and Press Department gave it a go this morning and we all managed to keep up, even Emma who was initially very reluctant and has never followed any kind of dance routine in her life.

Stephanie Bell (Audience Development Officer)

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Woking Casting – Wuthering Heights

October 5, 2009 at 9:23 am (Casts, Company News, General Information, Tour News)

Here are castings for up to Thu mat in Woking this week. As always, casts are subject to change at short notice so please check cast sheets at the venue for the most accurate cast for your performance.

Tue Eve
Cathy                          Martha Leebolt
Heathcliff                  Christopher Hinton-Lewis
Young Cathy            Pippa Moore
Young Heathcliff    Ashley Dixon
Hindley                      Martin Bell
Edgar                           Hironao Takahashi
Isabella                      Hannah Bateman

Wed Eve
Cathy                          Julie Charlet
Heathcliff                  Kenneth Tindall
Young Cathy           Ayana Kanda
Young Heathcliff   David Ward
Hindley                      Darren Goldsmith
Edgar                          Ashley Dixon
Isabella                     Pippa Moore

Thu Mat 
Cathy                          Georgina May
Heathcliff                   Tobias Batley
Young Cathy             Michela Paolacci
Young Heathcliff     Ben Mitchell
Hindley                       Giuliano Contadini
Edgar                           Hironao Takahashi
Isabella                      Lori Gilchrist

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Bid for momentum

October 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm (momentum)

We are excited to announce Northern Ballet Theatre’s first ever online auction. We have some fantastic items lined up which you can bid for on ebay. All money raised will go directly to our momentum campaign for our new headquarters in Leeds City Centre.

Photo: Bill Cooper

Photo: Bill Cooper

For more information on the building project and the campaign visit www.building-momentum.co.uk

Bid now to win the chance for a child in your life to perform onstage with Northern Ballet Theatre or go and see a pair of pointe shoes being made at Freed of London. Or treat yourself to a luxury weekend in Leeds’ brand new City Inn.

momentum building progress, June - September 2009

momentum building progress, June - September 2009

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Wuthering Heights – Norwich Cast List, Fri-Sat

October 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm (Casts)

Tobias Batley and Georgina May as Cathy and Heathcliff in Northern Ballet Theatre's Production of Wuthering Heights [Photo: Merlin Hendy]

Tobias Batley and Georgina May as Cathy and Heathcliff in Northern Ballet Theatre's Production of Wuthering Heights (Photo: Merlin Hendy)

Click to book tickets for Wuthering Heights from the Theatre Royal, Norwich.

Further information on Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Wuthering Heights…

For information on further events at the theatre, workshops, touch tours and more…

Cast list for Norwich Tue 29 September – Thu 1 October >

Please note: all casts are subject to change without notice.

Fri 2 October

Matinée: 2.30pm

Evening: 7.30pm

Sat 3 October

Matinée: 2.30pm

Evening: 7.30pm

Please note: all casts are subject to change without notice.

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Oh Come All Ye Choristers

October 1, 2009 at 9:59 am (Events) (, , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre's A Christmas Carol - Photo: Brian Slater

Northern Ballet Theatre's A Christmas Carol - Photo: Brian Slater

Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) is on the look out for a special primary school choir to launch their Christmas season. The chosen choir will sing live on stage at the Grand Theatre in Leeds before NBT’s opening performance of A Christmas Carol.

Primary schools choirs across Leeds were invited to take part in the competition and to-date 17 schools have entered. All choirs will prepare two carols: How Far is it to Bethlehem and one other of their choice. Five choirs will be chosen for the final heat, to perform in front of judges at NBT’s studios in West Park.

Judges will include NBT Musical Director John Pryce Jones, who will visit the 5 finalist schools and work with them on their entries, and Simon Lindley, Organist of Leeds Parish Church and of Leeds Town Hall. They will be joined in the judging by an NBT dancer and another special guest, yet to be announced.

John Pryce-Jones said: “We’re not necessarily looking for the biggest and loudest choir, but we do want a choir with stage presence. Choirs will be judged on their vocal and musical quality, interpretation of the songs and presentation.”

For further information contact Stephanie Bell, Northern Ballet Theatre, 0113 274 5355, stephanie.bell@northernballettheatre.co.uk

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