Charmed, I’m sure

May 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm (Company News, Events, Fundraising, General Information, Marketing and PR News)

NBT Dancers Martha Leebolt and Toby Batley wear Azendi jewellery at the Leeds store

Last night NBT and Azendi launched their unique new partnership with a special event at Azendi’s store in Leeds. The new partnership will see Azendi designing jewellery for future productions as well as creating an exclusive range of sterling silver ballet charms to support the development of NBT’s new home in Leeds.

NBT dancers Rym Kechacha and Georgina May with NBT Chief Executive Mark Skipper

The range of twelve charms includes the an enamelled fan from NBT’s Madame Butterfly, the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker, a swan from Swan Lake, pointe shoes and a ballerina’s tutu to name but a few.

Azendi’s range of ballet charms will be on sale from early July both online and across the Company’s 18 stores in the UK. 20% of all profits made from the charms will be donated to momentum, NBT’s fundraising campaign for a new purpose-built home in the centre of Leeds.

Like NBT, Azendi takes pride in its Yorkshire heritage and has had success taking its brands across the UK. It is hoped this new partnership will provide both organisations with more opportunities to reach new audiences, perfectly aligning their visually stunning products and high quality brands.

Ian Jones, Managing Director of Azendi said, “We are delighted to announce the beginning of an exciting working partnership between Azendi and NBT. We believe there is a strong alignment between our two brands, both taking inspiration from a wide range of areas, classical and contemporary. Our philosophy is a close fit with the qualities NBT embodies; passion, attention to detail, creativity, fine workmanship and elegance.”

Mark Skipper, NBT Chief Executive agreed, “There are many reasons as to why our alliance makes such perfect sense, we both share a number of the same values and we look forward to seeing how the partnership develops.”

Have a look at our Cleopatra mini site to see how you could win the stunning Azendi Cubist necklace worth £385, as seen in the sneak peak picture of Cleopatra.

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David Nixon recieves OBE

May 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm (General Information)

David Nixon

David Nixon at Buckingham Palace

NBT’s Artistic Director, David Nixon, has been awarded an OBE at Buckingham Palace today. The honour was presented by the Prince of Wales.

David was accompanied by his wife, NBT Ballet Mistress, Yoko Ichino, and Patricia Doyle, who has worked closely with David on a number of NBT’s productions.

We hope you will join the staff of NBT in congratulating David, of whom we are all very proud.

David with Yoko, left, and Patricia, right

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Dance and digits do add up

May 21, 2010 at 11:11 am (General Information)

NBT has devised a unique way of helping primary school pupils engage with mathematics by marrying the subject with dance. Dancing by Numbers will see NBT work with youngsters aged nine to 11 in five primary schools in Leeds to teach the Curriculum through creative dance.

Dancing by Numbers is a cross-curricular dance and mathematics project that delivers strands of KS2 National Curriculum dance and mathematics. The project explores numbers, fractions and shapes through dance activities developing knowledge, understanding and skill in both subjects.

The originality of the project has won praise from TV presenter Rachel Riley, who replaced Carol Vorderman on ITV’s Countdown last year. She said: “Dancing by Numbers is a unique and innovative way of explaining abstract mathematical ideas in a highly visual and interactive style. I hope it will engage the children with maths and provide some good healthy fun at the same time.”

Kjartan Poskitt, TV present and author of the Murderous Maths series of books, has also given his backing to Dancing by Numbers and says: “It’s fantastic that such a prestigious company as Northern Ballet Theatre is bringing maths to young people! Music and dance are a really powerful way of getting ideas across to all ages and abilities, and the results are stunning!”

Dancing by Numbers will be delivered by NBT Education Officer, Sophie Alder, over three weeks from 7 June. NBT’s Learning team have seen the benefits of exploring traditional subjects in an innovative way and consequently have devised a series of similar projects for schools. These include Shaping Space which fuses science and dance, and Moving Words which develops literacy skills though movement.

Sophie says: “Projects such as these enable pupils to explore ideas they may find difficult to understand in the classroom. Working physically with ideas and concepts appeals to different learning styles and enables those who may struggle academically to engage with subjects in a different way. It also helps in developing communication and team skills, concentration and self esteem.

“Teaching through dance is a great way to engage pupils in topics that are key to their regular studies, to increase motivation and to interest and reinforce classroom-based work for children of all abilities.”

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Cleopatra, our new production for 2011

May 17, 2010 at 8:26 am (Company News, Events, General Information)

Northern Ballet Theatre

We’re very excited to share with you the news of our new production for 2011…Cleopatra.

Cleopatra will be Artistic Director David Nixon’s first new full-length work for three years, and will feature a new score by acclaimed composer Claude-Michel Schönberg. We can’t wait to see one of histories most powerful women brought to life through dance.

Cleopatra is an iconic story…it has such a strong focus on the central female character and it is a story that has a wide popular appeal.” David Nixon

Make sure you don’t miss out – sign up online now at and we’ll send priority booking information and behind the scenes updates.

Cleopatra will première at Leeds Grand Theatre in February 2011, before touring to venues throughout the UK. Make sure you keep checking back for further details!

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Through the Keyhole

May 14, 2010 at 8:09 am (General Information, momentum) (, , , , , , , , )

There was buzz of excitement on Quarry Hill last week when a group of
Northern Ballet Theatre staff entered their new home for the first time.

Although not yet complete, NBT’s new home is taking shape at a terrific pace,
and staff from Wardrobe, the Academy, Communications and Fundraising were able to see where their very desks would be.

It was fascinating to see how far the building has come from the plans pinned to the wall in West Park. Have your own virtual tour with footage captured on the day.

Click here to view the video on YouTube

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Brownies & Guides Take Over NBT

May 12, 2010 at 11:28 am (Academy, Classical Training, General Information, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , , , , )

Cara O'Shea on pointe

Sophie Alder showing the perfect Peter Pan poseOn Sunday 9th May 100 Brownies and Guides descended on Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) to take part in a fun filled day of dance classes with NBT staff.

Cara O’Shea, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy ballet tutor, led the ballet technique sessions and Sophie Alder, Dance Education Officer, led the creative sessions.

Cara was really impressed with the standard of the students saying:

“Everyone has had a fantastic day. The students have worked so hard and have been really quick to pick up the exercises.”

Sophie taught the students some extracts from NBT’s productions of  Peter Pan and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They then worked on creating their own pieces based on the steps that they had learnt.

The day was rounded off with a performance to all the parents so they could see what their bidding ballerinas had been up to.

Guides having fun

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Running for momentum

May 10, 2010 at 9:43 am (Fundraising, General Information, momentum) (, , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre’s Director of Communications, Laraine Penson, has completed her two weekend challenge of running more than 23 miles in two separate race events while raising money for momentum, NBT’s capital fundraising campaign. She completed the Bluebell 10 mile race around Calderdale in 1hr and 53 mins and the Leeds half marathon this weekend in 1hr and 59mins. Laraine raised £440.00 for momentum.

Laraine said, “I’d like to thank everyone who supported me. My legs ache a bit today but both races were really enjoyable. It was great to see so many people running, having fun and raising thousands of pounds for charity.”

Donations can still be made on-line at

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Thank yous from Queensferry Primary School

May 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , )

At the beginning of March, Sophie Alder (Dance Education Officer) and musician Alan Costello spent some time at Queensferry Primary School during the company’s tour to Edinburgh. Several groups from the school enjoyed taking part in workshops, which enabled them to find out more about Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan and ballet in general.

As you can see from some of the letters we received it seems a great time was had by all:

Thank you for the wonderful piano playing and the fantastic instruction. I really enjoyed the experience of trying ballet out. When I was little I was jumping around in my living room like a ballet dancer I always dreamed of being one.

My favourite part was when we were jumping over the lines in the gym hall and how we were pretending that there [sic] were loads of different creatures in it like piranhas, sharks, jellyfish and lots more.


I would like to start this letter with a big thank you for teaching us a part of ballet and the piano playing was phenomenal.

The ballet was so fun I wish you could come every week.


It was brilliant and I wasn’t expecting it to be that good! My favourite bits was when we were doing the bouncing and jumping. My other favourite bit was the pirate – make up your own dance bit! I loved doing all of it. You taught it so well with extra brilliant music.

I don’t think it would have been as fun if it wasn’t you doing the music and the teaching. I learnt so much in that hour and a half session.

I would like to take this last opportunity to say thank you again on behalf of me, my class and my school. Thanks again.


And we’d like to say thank you to Queensferry Primary for the hospitality of the faculty, staff and pupils.

If your school is interested in repertoire based workshops then drop Philippa Plumtree-Varley an email for details.

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Poppy’s Work Experience With Northern Ballet Theatre

May 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , )

During our visit to Norwich Theatre Royal last week, the company were joined by 14 year old Poppy Stevens. Poppy came to undertake a work placement with Northern Ballet Theatre and gain some experience of all the different roles involved in making a production actually ‘happen’.

Poppy has very kindly written about her week and it certainly sounds like she enjoyed her time with us.

Hi I’m Poppy.

On the 26th April 2010 I started my week’s work experience at Norwich Theatre Royal. Northern Ballet Theatre were on their Summer Tour and were at the Theatre performing Peter Pan. On the first day I helped to off-load pieces of scenery from the lorries and I met Laura Sprake and Abigail Wilkinson – they sort of took me under their wing. They showed me how the company worked and introduced me to loads of different people. By the second day I was sitting with Laura during the rehearsals with a set of cans [earphones] on!! I really felt like part of the team. I learnt so much about how a stage works and how things like rig-checks are done – in the space of 2 days already.

On the third day I had really become more confident in having a laugh and talking to the people within the company. Again I sat with Laura in the lighting booth during the actual performance, watching the BEAUTIFUL show whilst listening on my cans to everyone backstage. The show ran really smoothly – I was surprised at how well everyone got on and worked together. On the 4th day I met Caroline Burn when I went to the wonderful workshop, Ballet Explored. I helped out then watched the company ballet class. During the matinee performance I helped Dolly (Georgina Gabbie: Wigs Mistress) with make-up and wigs. It was so much fun. Dolly welcomed me like an old friend just the same as everyone in the company.

On my last day the first thing I did was help out with Caroline’s Mini Movers workshop for the under 5’s and I made a wand! In the afternoon I helped with the Mature Movers workshop and danced with them. During the evening show I was really excited because I was shadowing Liv (Olivia Dermot-Walsh: Stage Manager) and a different Laura on stage. I was allowed to do some cues in the show which was really good. After the show had finished I nearly cried because it was like leaving a new group of friends. I was given a signed programme and poster – thanks to Laura Sprake, Jason Raper and Caroline Burn (who got it signed for me).

It was the experience of a life time and I hope I will see all the Crew very soon.
A big thank you to NBT for welcoming me and being so wonderful!

Poppy Stevens
Age 14

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