Latest Images From Our New Building

January 29, 2010 at 10:30 am (Fundraising, General Information, momentum) (, , , , , , , )

Work is progressing apace on our new home in the heart of Leeds. During a site visit by members of our board, Mark Skipper and Judith Hartley we caught the progress on camera…

See more photos from the visit…

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Cupcakes & Conversation

January 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm (Artist's News, General Information)

In an interview with blog, Ballet News, Hannah Bateman tells all about life as a dancer on and off-stage.

Read the interview with Hannah.

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February & March at the Academy

January 26, 2010 at 9:31 am (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , , )

The Professional Division students will be busy during their February half-term break with an intensive course including a daily classical technique class, contemporary class and the start of rehearsals for the End of Year show. The intensive courses are really beneficial for the students to help them improve their technique and strength through daily, consistent work.

Shortly after the February half-term Academy students will be visiting Leeds Grand Theatre to see Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet. The students all love going to the theatre and it is always exciting to see their reactions to the performance highlight their passion for dance. Look out for us at the Grand on Saturday 27th February!

During March and April 2010 the Music and Dance Scheme (the parent group for the Centres for Advanced Training which the Academy’s Professional Division programme runs under) are holding events up and down the country to celebrate the wealth of talent that the scheme supports at its family of specialist music and dance schools and Centres for Advanced Training (CATs). The regional event for the North is taking place on 6th March 2010 and will include performances of the CATs from Northern Ballet Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, The Lowry, Yorkshire Young Musicians, the junior department at the Royal Northern College of Music, and from the MDS schools at Chetham’s School of Music and The Hammond School.

Northern Ballet Theatre’s CAT Professional Division students Megan Hughes, Paul Smith, Andrew Tomlinson, Sally Hind and Charlotte Tonkinson have been chosen to work with ex-NBT dancer Omar Gordon (who played the part of Young Scrooge in the NBT Alumni performance of A Christmas Carol) to create a new piece for the event in March. This is a fantastic opportunity to join together to celebrate the scheme and display the exceptional talent of young dancers and musicians across the region, and the Academy is really excited to be a part of it.

When we are not in the office we will be avidly watching our television screens to follow the progress of our Associate students on two of the dance competitions mesmerising the nation. You may already read about Robbie White, an ex-Associate taking part in the BBC1 programme ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and about Matthew Koon, a current Senior Associate who is through to the live finals in Sky 1s ‘Got To Dance’ programme. We’ll be sat on the edge of our sofas watching with our fingers crossed for the boys and the News Blog will keep you updated with their progress.

Don’t forget to vote!

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40th Anniversary Gala Podcast

January 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm (40th Anniversary, Podcasts) (, , , , , , , , )

On the day of our 40th Anniversary NBT dancers Kenneth Tindall and Ashley Dixon chat about the night ahead and the Royal Ballet’s Edward Watson and Leanne Benjamin talk about how they came to participate in the celebration.

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Academy Open Days and School Workshops

January 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre Academy Open Days

The Spring Term is always a busy one for the Academy as this is the time of year when we begin our Open Days and school outreach programmes to help us find the next intake of talented young dancers for our Academy training programmes.

The Open Days take place on Sundays across Yorkshire in Sheffield, Huddersfield, York and Leeds. This allows us to do ballet and creative workshops with youngsters from across the entire region who already have some experience in dance. The Open Days act as informal information giving sessions for students and parents who are interested in training at the Academy. At each venue Northern Ballet Theatre run a morning session for 10 to 12 year olds and Northern School of Contemporary Dance run an afternoon session for 13 to 17 year olds with a contemporary focus.

The school workshops the Academy delivers as part of our school outreach programme happen across Leeds through January and February. Cara O’Shea (Academy ballet tutor) will be going into seven different schools and doing workshops with Year 5 and 6 pupils to introduce them to ballet and creative movement. School workshops are a brilliant way for us to identify students who have raw dance potential and encourage them to learn more about the opportunities that the Academy can offer. It is also an excellent opportunity for us to meet school pupils and teachers from the area and introduce them to Northern Ballet Theatre and the Academy.

The Open Days and school workshops lead up to our annual audition process, which this year will be in March. We audition every student who applies for our Associate and Professional Divisions, and also hold auditions for the International Summer School. This is an incredibly busy process and the applications are already arriving so we’re looking forward to meeting everyone at the auditions and welcoming all the potential students.

Useful Links:

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National Dance Awards

January 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm (General Information) (, , , , , , )

This year’s Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards have now been awarded in a ceremony at Royal Opera House in London.

Northern Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, presented the award for Best Classical Coreography to Wayne McGregor (collected by Monica Mason).

Unfortunately our First Soloist, Tobias Batley, didn’t win the award for Most Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) – which went to the deserving Sergei Polunin of The Royal Ballet.

A full list of winners are available on the National Dance Awards website.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

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Dance Growth in the UK

January 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm (Company News)

The Times has a fantastic article on the growth of dance in the UK, its increased populatity in the media and more…

The dance revival: one nation under a groove – Times Online

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This Life: David Nixon

January 8, 2010 at 9:33 am (Artist's News) (, )

Artistic Director David Nixon

Northern Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, David Nixon

Yorkshire Evening Post have published a fantastic article on Northern Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, David Nixon.

Read all about David’s upbringing, life, loves and more at the YEP website…

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Easter Course!

January 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm (Academy, Company News, Easter course, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy)

Happy New Year! You may think it is way too early to be thinking about Easter as we have only just leapt into 2010, but I want to give you a heads up on Northern Ballet Theatre’s (NBT) exciting plans for our Easter Course which is open for booking now. 

I am really excited because this year Philip Feeney has agreed to write a brand new piece of music for us to dance to. You might not have heard of Philip, but he has written some exciting and dramatic music for NBT over the years.

Years ago, while I was a student myself, I saw NBT perform Dracula. The dancing was incredible, but what made it an electrifying and memorable experience was the atmosphere created by Philip’s music. On my first tour with NBT to Sadler’s Wells in London (6 years ago) I also saw Philip playing for the NBT dancers, as Philip was playing I could sense his music was making the audience want to dance too.

Philip has worked with choreographers such as Christopher Gable (Director of NBT 1987-1998), David Nixon (Director of NBT 1999-present) and Adam Cooper. I can’t wait to hear the music he creates for us. I will keep you posted on how it is coming along after I go down to London and meet with Philip later this month.

In the past our Easter Courses have been a week of great fun and dancing, finishing with a performance to a live audience. This year we hope to take it even further, the Easter Course is only the beginning…

NBT are getting a new home, a building in the centre of Leeds where the company will rehearse, the Academy will train and where we will be able to hold classes, workshops and more exciting projects. I would like all the dancers who join us for the Easter Course to come back and perform again at the opening of the new building! This would involve extra rehearsals leading up to the opening but also the chance to meet members of the NBT orchestra (who will perform Philip’s music live at the opening) and see the dancers rehearsing.

To book your place just call Jo Dean on 0113 274 5355. Places are limited so make sure you sign up fast!

Caroline Burn

Dance Education Officer

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Got To Dance!

January 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm (Academy, Artist's News, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , )

Television seems to be going dance crazy this year. As well as the BBC programme So You Think You Can Dance featuring former NBT associate Robbie White, Sky 1 has also launched its own dance talent show.

Got to Dance premiered on Sky 1 on Sunday night and the star of the show was current Northern Ballet Theatre Senior Associate Matthew Koon.

Presented by Divina McCall  Got To Dance looks to discover the country’s most talented dance floor divas. The auditionees are put through their paces by an outspoken panel of judges: West End star and movie actor Adam Garcia, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and Ashley Banjo, lead dancer and choreographer of street dance crew Diversity.

Matthew definitely caught their eye on Sunday night and received a standing ovation for his solo. Adam Garcia told the audience that they had just seen “a world class dancer” and Ashley Banjo added that “The bar has been set… by a 15 year old”.

Matthew has been training on the associate programme for 2 years. He lives in Manchester and comes to NBT for classes in ballet and contemporary every Saturday.

The finalists for the programme have not yet been decided but we have all our fingers and toes crossed for Matthew. He is a huge talent and definitely one to watch. Get ready to vote!!

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So You Think You Can Dance?

January 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm (Artist's News, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , )

So you think you can dance!

Congratulations to Robbie White, ex-NBT Associate, who has secured a place as one of the final 14 contestants on BBC’s new dance competition So You Think You Can Dance.

In the search for Britain’s favourite dancer, judges Arlene Philips and Nigel Lythgoe will assess the contestants’ ability to master different dance styles including hip hop, jazz, Broadway, lyrical and contemporary with new routines taught by different choreographers and mentors.

Viewers have the ultimate power to vote and keep their favourite dancer in the running at the end of each live show. The first live show takes place on Saturday 9 January 2010.

Robbie, who is 22 and from Manchester, trained as an NBT Associate during which time he was chosen to perform the role of the Young Heathcliff in David Nixon’s ballet Wuthering Heights with the Company.

Read more about Robbie and So You Think You Can Dance on the show’s website or on his Facebook page.

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