Peter Pan – Norwich Cast

April 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm (Casts, General Information) (, , , , , )

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan - photo by Alistair Muir

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan

Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Norwich Theatre Royal.

Norwich Theatre Royal Box Office: 01603 630000

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

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

Please note, casts are subject to change without notice.

Tuesday, 27 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Wednesday, 28 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Thursday, 29 April

Matinee, 2.30pm

Evening, 7.30pm

Friday, 30 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Saturday, 1 May

Matinee, 2.30pm

Evening, 7.30pm

Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Norwich Theatre Royal.

Norwich Theatre Royal Box Office: 01603 300000

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

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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NBT International Summer School

April 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm (Academy, Classical Training, General Information, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) ()

NBT has started recruiting for its annual International Summer School. The School takes place at the Company’s studios in Leeds and is open to students who are already in or are hoping to go into full-time classical ballet training.

There are two strands to the Summer School: a one-week an intermediate level course for 12 to 16 year olds which takes place from Monday 26 to Saturday 31 July, and a two-week senior level course for 16 to 19 year olds which takes place from Monday 2 to Saturday 14 August.

Daily sessions are designed to strengthen and improve students’ classical ballet technique while providing the unique opportunity to work with NBT artistic staff and find out more about the Company.

For more information on how to apply or about further training opportunities with Northern Ballet Theatre email the Academy or phone Hannah of Becki on 0113 274 5355

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Local politicians visit NBT

April 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm (Academy, Classical Training, General Information, Marketing and PR News)

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves, and Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, dropped into the Northern Ballet Theatre studios today to watch Academy students taking class with Viki Westall.

They were hugely impressed by the students’ strength and athleticism – especially when the boys did press ups with their feet on the barre!

A quick tour of our facilities left Rachel and Lucinda in no doubt as to why a large and growing professional ballet company needs for a fit-for-purpose facility and they were interested to hear about how NBT’s education and community work will be enhanced in our new purpose-built home.

Rachel and Lucinda are currently campaigning to keep the West Park Centre open after NBT moves. As one of the busiest community centres in Leeds, the West Park Centre receives up to 3000 visitors per week, in addition to the staff and tenants who work here. As well as hosting local residents’ associations, it is also home to several orchestras, choirs and music groups, a Baptist church, various artists and a wide range of vulnerable adults and pupils with Special Educational Needs. To find out more about the campaign visit Rachel’s website

Rachel Reeves and Lucinda Yeadon with Academy students in West Park

Rachel Reeves and Lucinda Yeadon with Academy students in West Park

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Ballet v Football – the Battle of Fittest

April 22, 2010 at 11:10 am (General Information) (, , , , , , )

Milton Keynes Theatre saw a battle of the fittest earlier this week between NBT dancer Toby Bately and Aaron Wilbraham star player for The MK Dons. Both at the top of their game The MK News took a look at their lifestyle and punishing training schedules to find out who wins the epic battle of tackle versus tutu!

Toby Batley with Aaron Wilbraham

6 ft Dancer Tobias tells us:

“I train 6 days a week with an hour and 15 minutes of Ballet and technique training, usually followed by 6 hours of rehearsal for the show. I also spend time in the gym or swimming. I guess it’s around 50 hours a week in training and I’m on stage for 7 two-hour shows a week. Health is extremely important as a dancer you can’t let anything slip as that could result in injury. We have to have a strong upper body to lift our partner and a strong core and sense of balance to do turns and complicated tricks, all this and we need to be pretty flexible too. Diet isn’t something I worry about too much but I do try to get my five-a-day and I have to say that I don’t really have any health vices apart from maybe knowing when to stop.”

Pro footballer Aaron, 6ft 3 also has a strict regime of four days training a week and a game on a Saturday with an occasional midweek game too and says:

“Training sessions usually last around 90 minutes, split into high tempo bursts. As well as football we will do weights programmes, core stability and yoga. I also work out in the gym. Health is massively important in my career. If you’re not fit and healthy you can’t perform to your optimum level, it’s really important for footballers to have good core strength for holding off defenders when you’re in possession. We work very hard at improving this. My diet is low-fat, high-carb with lots of fruit chicken and veg. I like to think that I’m pretty healthy.”

So what’s the verdict? Adam Rowland currently touring as a physiotherapist with NBT but no stranger to Rugby League said of our competitors:

“These young men are in their prime and in tip top condition and clearly work hard to maintain this level of fitness which is so important in their careers. Although training varies between the guys you will find Cardio anaerobic exercise which uses your body fats and sugars is critical for footballers who need to use their bodies more intensely over short periods of time whereas a a dancer needs a strong aerobic exercise which uses pure oxygen as they need a larger range of stamina and energy over a longer period of time. This is maybe why you see differences between the type of exercise used and diet. But I have to say it would be hard to decide who would win the battle of the fittest!”

Toby agreed: “I’m not sure I’d be able to beat Aaron on the pitch”, with Aaron adding “I certainly couldn’t do that with my leg!”

Toby and Aaron outside the theatre

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Peter Pan – Milton Keynes Cast

April 22, 2010 at 9:57 am (Casts) (, , , , , , , )

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan - photo by Alistair Muir

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan

Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Milton Keynes Theatre.

Milton Keynes Theatre Box Office: 08712975454

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

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 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Wednesday, 21 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Thursday, 15 April

Matinee, 2.30pm

Evening, 7.30pm

Other performance casts will be added as they become available.

Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Milton Keynes Theatre.

Milton Keynes Theatre Box Office: 0871 297 5454

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

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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The DoC runs for momentum

April 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm (General Information) (, , , , , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre‘s Director of Communications, Laraine Penson, is running for momentum, our capital fundraising campaign. Over two weekends in May Laraine will run over 23 miles in order to help NBT reach it’s final fundraising total for the new building which we are planning to move into in September.

On Sunday 2 May Laraine will run the Bluebell 10 – a 10.3 mile race including trails, tracks, minor roads and the beautiful bluebell woods in the heart of Yorkshire. Don’t be fooled by this desription, it also takes in Calderdale’s steepest hill and ends with a river crossing. The following weekend, Sunday 9 May, Laraine will run the Leeds half marathon, 13 miles around the scenic undulating landscape of Leeds. If you would like to support NBT’s new building by sponsoring Laraine please visit http://www.justgiving.com/Laraine-Penson

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Dance Vote 2010

April 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm (General Information) (, , , )

Keiko Amemori in Angels in the Architecture - Photo by Bill Cooper

Keiko Amemori in Angels in the Architecture - Photo by Bill Cooper

In the run up to the general election, DanceVote 2010, created and backed by a steering group of the major dance organisations, is looking for assurances from the main political parties that they will support the thriving dance sector.

DanceVote 2010 has five aims

  1. To connect every politician standing for election to parliament with a dance activity in their local area
  2. To highlight the popularity of dance among constituents and the benefits to residents
  3. To underline the need for sustained public funding in order to build on (and not undermine) the progress achieved over the past few years
  4. To champion the value of dance as an art form, as well as in health and education
  5. To secure a statement on how candidates will support dance and the arts if they are elected

Why we need to talk to politicians now?

The current economic climate means that getting dance recognised and connected to politicians, in a local context, is more vital than ever. With difficult spending decisions ahead, we need politicians to understand that dance is something local voters care about, and that investing in dance provides value for money and benefits to local people. If spending cuts are being made, we don’t want dance activity to be the easiest thing to cut because politicians do not have knowledge of local dance activity.

Getting involved is quick and easy

Whether its ballroom or ballet, morris or contemporary dance that gets your adrenalin pumping, GETTING INVOLVED IS EASY, click here to send a personalised email to your local Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates explaining why you are passionate about dance, and asking them to pledge their support for dance and the arts.

DanceVote 2010 champions all dance, both professional and participatory. It is co-ordinated by Dance UK, working in partnership with a steering committee of leading dance professionals representing diverse backgrounds.

To find out more about DanceVote2010 go to www.dancevote2010.com or call Dance UK on 020 7713 0730.

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Easter Course Day 4

April 14, 2010 at 1:24 pm (Easter course, Learning & Access) (, )

Taking a Bow

The final day of the Easter Course dawned with yet more sun streaming through the windows at West Park. Thirty-one weary looking dancers arrived bright and early to start the final stages of the creative process. After a shorter class than usual, the group worked on the choreography for a short section in the middle of the piece. Earlier in the week they had devised some duets, looking at how counter-balances and lifts could be used, and these were re-worked to fit to Philip Feeney’s music.

All too soon it was time for the group to break for lunch and then, after getting changed, have a couple of final rehearsals of the piece. Shortly after 2.30pm eager friends and family began to arrive. With well over seventy people in attendance the hall was buzzing with chatter and anticipation, providing a really wonderful atmosphere for the first full showing of the piece to an audience. Although there will be re-workings of the piece at later stages, this was the first ‘draft’ and was certainly a testament to the hard work and creativity of the dancers (and Caroline). The audience was also treated to a duet performed by Joe Barnes and Jay Jones, which they had developed during the course and particularly stood out amongst those created by the dancers. It was certainly a sight to behold – at times Jay almost appeared to be tossing a seemingly weightless Joe around in the air, drawing many gasps from family and friends!

As the dancers left West Park to spend time relaxing after a busy week, they were sent home with information about reforming the group and showcasing the piece at a number of events in the future. The development of Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre’s new headquarters has been a key inspiration for the final piece and it will be absolutely wonderful for it to be performed at the official opening of the new dance centre. We hope that the additional rehearsals and performances will give the dancers an opportunity to consolidate what they have learnt during the course and also cement the friendships made along the way! For now though, as I sort through the lost property left behind (!), I leave you with a wonderful photograph of the final performance last Friday.

Philippa Plumtree-Varley
Learning & Access Coordinator

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Corporate Financier takes Chair of Northern Ballet Theatre Board

April 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm (General Information) (, , , , , )

David Forbes

David Forbes

One of Leeds’ leading corporate financiers is to take over as Chair of the Board of Directors for Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT). David Forbes, a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division of Rothschild, replaces Councillor Bernard Atha, to lead a recently strengthened Board with newly appointed directors from the world of education and media.

NBT continues to go from strength-to-strength. Having celebrated a successful 40th anniversary, the Company has secured funding for an exciting new production and has started its first tour of the year, performing to large and enthusiastic audiences in Leeds and around the country.

David takes up this position with NBT as it prepares to move into its new home in the centre of Leeds which it will share with Phoenix Dance Theatre. This highly visible powerhouse for inventive dance which will offer dance enthusiasts and audiences, not just in Leeds but across the north of England, closer access to two of the UK’s most important companies in the largest purpose-built dance space outside London. It will also offer meeting and conference and lecture facilities to corporate businesses.

David Forbes joined the Board in December 2003, bringing to it his extensive business experience and his wide-ranging contact base in the region. He has been a highly visible member of the business community in Yorkshire since 1989. He is also a Patron of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

David Forbes, Pippa Moore, David Ward and Bernard Atha

David Forbes, Pippa Moore, David Ward and Bernard Atha at Northern Ballet Theatre's new home, currently under construction in the heart of Leeds

David said: “This is a truly exciting time for Northern Ballet Theatre and I don’t think I have ever seen the Company more confident. There is no doubt in my mind about the importance of having such strong cultural companies based here in Leeds and how well they represent the region around the rest of the country and abroad.

“I will be doing all I can to secure financial support for the Company from the corporate sector as every business in the city gains from having NBT here.

“Bernard Atha will be a hard act to follow. He has made a huge contribution to the Company over many years. I feel very honoured to have been offered this position and look forward to leading the Board in developing what can only be a bright future for NBT.”

NBT’s Chief Executive, Mark Skipper, says:

“We’re thrilled to have David as our new Chair. This is, as he says, an exciting and vital time for the Company. David has been on the Board for more than years now, so he understands the workings of the Company and the challenges we face. I have every faith that his wealth of experience and his many skills will be of tremendous benefit in this position and will help NBT to develop a secure and solid future.”

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Peter Pan – Nottingham Cast

April 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm (Casts) (, , , , , , , , )

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan - photo by Alistair Muir

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan

Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Theatre Royal Nottingham.

Nottingham Theatre Royal Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

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 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Wednesday, 14 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Thursday, 15 April

Matinee, 2.00pm

Evening, 7.30pm

Friday, 16 April

Evening, 6.00pm

Saturday, 17 April

Matinee, 2.30pm (Audio Described)

Evening, 7.30pm

    Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Nottingham Theatre Royal.

    Nottingham Theatre Royal Box Office: 0115 989 5555

    Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

    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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    Easter Course – Day Three

    April 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm (Easter course, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy)

    Thirty-one slightly weary dancers arrived at West Park this morning, after a full day of classes and creative sessions yesterday. But there was to be no respite on day 3 of the Easter Course! The morning started as usual with a warm-up session and dance class. With lovely sunshine streaming through the windows, alongside much jumping and leaping around the hall, the group quickly got limbered up and the doors were thrown open to let in extra air. It certainly felt like summer had arrived at Northern Ballet Theatre!

    As you can see from the photographs, the exercises which Caroline (Dance Education Officer) has asked the group to undertake during the course have gradually become more challenging. This has allowed the dancers to develop their movement skills and learn new techniques over the last few days. Some moans and groans were certainly heard during one exercise, which involved the group swinging their legs around their heads whilst lying on the floor! Most of us observing the class were standing watching in amazement, but the dancers soon agreed that the exercise really helped stretch their backs and warm-up their aching muscles.

    Young people jumping

    The group enjoyed a taste of the ‘celebrity’ lifestyle during the late morning, as a press call was held and a photographer from the Yorkshire Post came to see what was going on.

    The day then continued with creative sessions, adding to the choreography already in place to fit with Philip Feeney’s music. Having popped into the hall this afternoon and seen the group running through the piece so far, I can safely say that it is going to look wonderful when it is finished. With the new NBT headquarters and its building process as inspiration, the opening section of the piece in particular conveys the sense of excitement and bustling nature of the Quarry Hill site as it develops to form an amazing new dance centre. Those attending the sharing session tomorrow are in for a real treat!

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    Easter Course Day Two

    April 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm (Easter course, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy)

    Picture of Young People Dancing

    Practicing the lifts

    Now that all our young dancers are well into the swing of the Easter Course and have been honing their creative and dance skills for a full two days, we thought it would be good for them to tell you what they have been doing. So let’s hear from the group themselves …

    “Before the course I was scared and nervous, but I was excited to meet new people and make new friends. We have done counter-balances and done a lot of lifts. We have learnt that lifts need team-work and coordination.” Gemma and Ibuki

    “So far, the course has been nothing like I was expecting. I thought it would be rigid and uniform, but instead it is free, creative and expressive – which is so enjoyable and motivating. We are devising our performance to a piece by Philip Feeney. It consists of ever-changing rhythms and melodies, with minor key changes which give the piece a sense of mystery and the unknown. Our piece is developing at a promising rate and we are looking forward to the looming final performance, with is exciting. Roll on day three!” James

    “My favourite part so far is the lifts. I can do all of the lifts apart from the headstand one.” Megan

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    Easter Course Day One!

    April 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm (Easter course, Events, General Information, Learning & Access) (, , )

     

    This morning saw the West Park Centre buzzing with activity, as 31 budding young dancers arrived at NBT’s headquarters for the annual Easter Course.  The early start and the fact that it is the beginning of the school holidays did not seem to deter anyone taking part, the group was raring to go!

    The morning began with a short introduction by our Dancer Education Officer, Caroline Burn, who is leading the course.  Caroline introduced other members of the team who will be around during the week – including Megan, Selina and Mike (Michael Berkin, Company dancer) who are going to be ‘on hand’ to provide advice on movement and help develop the choreography.  The group also met the man himself, Philip Feeney, who has written the music on which the final piece is to be based.  Despite the threatened rail strikes, Philip made it up from London to accompany the course today and will be back again on Friday. 

    Caroline took the group through a couple of exercises to ‘break the ice’.  One of these exercises involved all 31 dancers putting themselves in order of their birthdays without speaking – simply through miming and using hand signals.  Despite some of the group trying to get away with whispering to each other (tut tut!), it was remarkable how quickly they successfully lined up in more-or-less perfect order.  After a short break it was time to begin daily class.  Although the inclusion of a couple of press-ups was a challenge after a weekend of Easter eggs, the varied exercises got the dancers warmed-up, their muscles stretched, and limbs moving before the serious work began! 

    Once the group had heard the music Philip has composed, it was time to brainstorm ideas for the piece including possible themes, types of movement and its general overall dance style.  The creativity continued after lunch with the group learning a small section of choreography to the music, which they then had to expand and develop in smaller groups.  Having looked at partnership work during the morning, the dancers were able to get together in pairs to experiment with lifts, counter-balancing, and explore different contact-points between their bodies.  Dancer Mike Berkin was on hand to help them, giving advice and suggestions to groups as they developed their ideas. 

    From a quiet start with little chatting between the course participants, I have just left a hubbub of noise down in the main hall at West Park.  Everyone seems to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and coming up with some wonderful ideas for the piece.  More tomorrow…

    Philippa Plumtree-Varley

    Learning & Access Coordinator

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    Easter Course update from Caroline Burn

    April 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm (Easter course, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , )

    Easter course update

    All the final preparations are taking place and I am looking forward to the Easter course finally starting next week.  All the places have been filled; we will have 33 eager dancers arriving on Tuesday morning where they will meet Philip Feeney and I first thing. They will also meet the rest of the Learning & Access team who will be helping to run the course, and then we will jump straight into dancing! I am planning a fun energetic first warm-up and class to help the group get to know each other, as throughout the week we will be working closely to form our very own company.

    Last week whilst I was away on tour with the Company in Woking, Philip sent me through a copy of the music. It sounds fresh, exciting and energetic. I am really looking forward to hearing him play it live for the first time next week, and seeing the reaction of the group. Martin, our Deputy Chief lighting technician put it on to CD for me so I am playing it constantly in the car, and starting to imagine the quality and feel I would like the dancers to have. I am hoping that the young dancers on the course will be as inspired as I am, and create a fabulous original piece.

    Dancer Micheal Berkin will be joining me to deliver the course, he will be involved in the creative work, helping to devise the piece. It will be great for the group to learn from him too and to hear all about life as a professional dancer with a national touring company.

    Well all that’s left to do now is to make some name badges and put down the dance floor, and we’re ready for action!

    Have a great Easter and don’t forget to check the blog out next week with news from our young dancers on how the course is going.

    Caroline

    Dance Education Officer

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