Dancer Promotions

July 22, 2010 at 9:00 am (Artist's News, Company News, General Information)

We are delighted to announce the following promotions which take effect from September 2010:

  • Julie Charlet, Michela Paolacci and Ayana Kanda from Coryphée to Soloist
  • Lori Gilchrist, Sebastian Loe and Michael Berkin From 5th year Corps to Coryphée
  • Dreda Blow from 4th to 5th Year Corps
  • Jessica Morgan, Rachel Gillespie, Ben Mitchell, Thomas Aragones, Graham Kotowich and Yoshihisa Arai from 2nd to 3rd Year Corps
  • Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Ayami Miyata, Rym Kechacha and Jeremy Curnier from 1st to 2nd Year Corps
  • Anna Blackwell from Apprentice to 1st Year Corps.

We also welcome Nicola Gervasi, who joins our 1st Year Corps from Peter Schaufuss Ballet. Joining us as apprentices are: Michaela Griffin from Cape Town City Ballet, Josh Barwick, an ex-Northern Ballet Associate and Elmhurst graduate, and Matthew Broadbent who comes to us from the Royal Ballet School.

We have bid farewell to Christopher Hinton Lewis who left the Company earlier this year to join the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Chris danced with us for 10 years giving many memorable performances in roles including Hamlet, Romeo and Heathcliff.

Ginnie Ray has hung up her pointe shoes to be a full-time mother to her daughter Rebecca. A valued member of the Company for 11 years she danced many roles including Lady Capulet (Romeo & Juliet), Mrs Darling (Peter Pan) and Milady De Winter (The Three Musketeers).

Senior Artiste Nathalie Léger has retired as a dancer after many successful years with us, Basel ballet, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein and Ballet De Monte Carlo. She will remain on the teaching staff for the Company and the Academy.

Soloist David Ward gave his last performance with us as Peter Pan in Macau last week. David joined the Company in 2005 and has performed many leading roles including Cinq Mars in The Three Musketeers, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Solar in La Bayadere. He leaves NBT to work with BalletMet in Ohio.

During our spring/summer season 2010 the Company performed four full-length productions (Romeo & Juliet, Wuthering Heights, Peter Pan and Dangerous Liaisons) at 11 venues in towns and cities across the UK including Edinburgh, Woking, Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Glasgow, as well overseas in Honk Kong and Macau.

Our’s autumn/winter season starts with performances of Dangerous Liaisons at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds on Tuesday 7 September and will continue with performances of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker in 9 UK venues including Bradford, Woking and Aylesbury (Swan Lake) and Nottingham, Norwich, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds (The Nutcracker).

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Topping out of NBT’s new home

July 5, 2010 at 10:00 am (Academy, Classical Training, Company News, Events, General Information, Marketing and PR News, momentum, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, )

Dancers from Phoenix and NBT along with Academy students accept gifts of goodwill from Wates Construction

Last Thursday night our new headquarters in Leeds reached a significant milestone as Wates Construction held a topping out ceremony with the Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds on the Quarry Hill site.

Historically, the topping out ceremony marks the topmost beam being placed in the building to complete the structure. Its origins harp back to pagan times where the purpose of the ceremony was to appease tree-dwelling spirits and bring good luck by placing a yew tree branch in the uppermost part of the building.

To mark the occasion Wates Construction presented NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre with a miniature ewe tree, some ears of wheat and a bottle of oil, which are all symbols of prosperity, happiness and good fortune for the people who use the building.

The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Patrick Davey was joined by representatives from Leeds City Council, Wates Construction, NBT and Phoenix, dancers from both companies along with two NBT Academy students as well as key stakeholders and partners in the city. Cllr Davey was invited to bury a memory stick containing electronic memorabilia from both dance companies underneath one of the dance studio floors.

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Ballet Chief Executive named as a new Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire

July 5, 2010 at 9:00 am (Company News, General Information, Marketing and PR News)

Mark Skipper with medal of office.NBT’s Chief Executive, Mark Skipper, has been named as a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. Dr Ingrid Roscoe, Lord-Lieutenant for West Yorkshire appointed Mark for his contribution to the county in a voluntary capacity.

The Lord-Lieutenant may appoint a Deputy Lieutenant with the Queen’s approval to assist her when appropriate. Mark joins a distinguished list of Deputy Lord Lieutenants, all receiving approval by the Queen for their appointment.

Mark says, “It’s a great honour to have been selected to represent the county in this way. I look forward to carrying out the role to the best of my ability. It is a great achievement that someone from the world of arts is carrying out this important function.”

As the sovereign’s representative in the county, the Lieutenant is required to meet and attend the monarch and members of the royal family on visits to the county and to fulfil a range of ceremonial functions on behalf of the Crown, such as the inspection of troops, attendance at church services, the presentation of honours, awards and medals, and the presidency of non-political and charitable organisations.

Mark Skipper

Mark has been Chief Executive of NBT for more than 10 years. He is a prominent member of the national dance community and during his time with NBT the company has been catapulted to the top ranks of dance in the UK, winning many awards and accolades for its productions and partnerships. Mark has spearheaded NBT’s campaign for a new purpose-built headquarters in central Leeds. This long-held ambition will be realised this autumn when NBT moves into the largest purpose-built space for dance outside London.

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NBT Board member named one of region’s top entrepreneurs

June 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm (Company News, General Information, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , )

NBT Board members continue to receive recognition for their achievements. Congratulations this week go to Victoria Tomlinson, founder and owner of Harrogate-based PR consultancy Northern Lights, who has been listed as one of Yorkshire’s top 100 entrepreneurs.

Victoria Tomlinison

Victoria Tomlinson

Victoria spent ten years in manufacturing and was a director at Ernst & Young before moving north and starting Northern Lights. The PR consultancy focuses on achieving measurable results for its clients, consistently wins national and regional awards and is frequently named in the top ten of Yorkshire agencies. Victoria was recognised by the CBI as a finalist in their business adviser of the year and represents the CBI on a number of government and education consultation panels. She also sits on the boards of Bradford University School of Management, a top ten UK business school; and Common Purpose North Yorkshire. She is a Prince’s Trust mentor and helps young people with careers advice.

Victoria was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for NBT earlier this year. On joining the NBT Board she said, “I am really interested in NBT’s outreach work and inspiring people from a wide range of backgrounds. There is also the challenge of positioning the ballet company in the London market and I hope I can bring ideas and contacts to help with this.”

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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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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 http://www.northernballettheatre.co.uk/cleopatra 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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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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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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David Nixon awarded an OBE in New Years Honours

December 31, 2009 at 10:30 am (Company News, General Information)

Northern Ballet Theatre’s (NBT) Artistic Director, David Nixon, has received an OBE for services to dance in the New Year Honours list announced today.

David has made a significant artistic contribution to narrative dance in the UK and has been instrumental to the continued growth and success of NBT since taking over as Artistic Director in 2001. His creative output is prolific; in the past nine years he has choreographed nine new full-length ballets for NBT. David is committed to taking the highest quality dance to audiences throughout the country, bringing together collaborators at the top of their field to create new ballets with exceptional production values. He has also placed great importance in providing opportunities for young people throughout the North of England to access high quality classical dance training without having to leave home through the expansion of NBT’s classical training programmes.

On hearing of his award David Nixon said: “I am overwhelmed that I have received this Honour. Coming at the end of NBT’s 40th Anniversary year it is the icing on the cake to a wonderful year for the Company and for me personally. I would like to thank everyone who endorsed my nomination, the team at NBT for their hard work and dedication and especially my wife, Yoko Ichino for her unwavering support.”

Dame Monica Mason, DBE, Director of The Royal Ballet supported David’s nomination: “David Nixon has made the most tremendous contribution to NBT and to classical dance in the UK. His energy and his capabilities are astonishing and he is held in the highest regard within the profession.”

Claude-Michel Schönberg, celebrated composer of Les Miserables and NBT’s Wuthering Heights added: “David Nixon creates new works with original stories, newly commissioned scores and innovative choreography; its modernity remaining accessible to a wide ranging public. His work reaches out to the British public, bringing culture to towns and cities far from the main cultural centres of the UK. In 20 years time a young British dancer will explain his vocation in the theatre as a result of attending, one night, the performance of a ballet by David Nixon in a small town where he grew up.”

The Honour is the latest in a string of awards recognising David’s work. David was voted Director of the Year by readers of Dance Europe in 2003 and 2006; he remains the only Artistic Director to ever have won the accolade twice. Under his Direction NBT received the audience award at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for three successive years (2004, 2005, 2006), this is the only award voted for by members of the public. In 2009 NBT received the Patron’s award recognising the work the Company has done to raise the profile of dance in the UK.

In 2010 NBT will move into a new purpose-built headquarters in central Leeds. Led by David’s vision the building will be a powerhouse for inventive dance and a leading centre for narrative dance research.

David Nixon started his career at the National Ballet School of Canada where he became a principal dancer. In 1985 he joined the Deutsche Oper Ballet in Berlin where he won the Critics Award for Best Male Performance.

Nixon left Berlin for a series of principal guest artist positions with National Ballet of Canada, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich and Royal Winnipeg Ballet before returning to Deutsche Oper Ballet in 1994 as first ballet master. David has also appeared as a guest artist for a number of international ballet companies including: Birmingham Royal Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Sydney City Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

In 1994 David became Artist Director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio USA and in 2001 Artistic Director of Northern Ballet Theatre in the UK.

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Scrooge brings festive cheer to young patients in Leeds

December 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm (Company News, Fundraising, General Information) (, , , , , , )

Some very special guests attended Leeds Grand Theatre on Sunday. Young patients from Leeds Teaching Hospitals came to see Northern Ballet Theatre’s A Christmas Carol at which tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from mealy-mouthed skin-flint to the most famous champion of Christmas spirit.

Photo: Brian Slater

Photo: Brian Slater

After the show the young patients were joined by Scrooge and other characters from the production for a VIP tea party and games. The patients, their families and staff were treated to tickets to the performance and the tea party courtesy of NBT sponsor, Accenture.

Photo: Brian Slater

Photo: Brian Slater

Sharon Edwards from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals says: “We cannot thank NBT and Accenture enough for giving some of our younger patients the opportunity to go along and see a performance of A Christmas Carol. What a magical experience it was, especially as they got to meet some of the cast, their little faces were such a picture! The patients who came along all have long-term illnesses and conditions and are regularly receive treatment here. On behalf of all the children and their families, a very big thank you.”

Photo: Brian Slater

Photo: Brian Slater

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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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40th Anniversary Gala

June 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm (40th Anniversary, Company News, Fundraising, momentum)

Northern Ballet Theatre's 40th AnniversaryYou can find details of the 40th Anniversary Gala in aid of momentum, the packages available and pricing here.

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momentum Website Updated

May 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm (Company News, Fundraising, momentum)

As building work starts on site, we are pleased to announce that we have a new momentum website to keep you up to date with the latest developments.

See what the final building will look like and find out how you can support our campaign.

Visit the building-momentum website…

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Latest Podcast: Gillian Lynne

May 14, 2009 at 11:27 am (40th Anniversary, Company News, Interviews, Podcasts) (, , , , , , )

Gillian Lynne has been invited back to NBT for the revival of the celebrated production, A Simple Man. A Simple Man is the BAFTA award winning piece celebrating the life of LS Lowry.

Right-Click [Apple users, click & hold] and select Save As… to download to your computer.

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Charlotte Talbot Interview

April 30, 2009 at 9:53 am (Artist's News, Company News, Interviews) (, , , , , , )

Jonathan Ollivier and Charlottle Talbot in Wuthering Heights (Photo: HANSON)

Jonathan Ollivier and Charlottle Talbot in Wuthering Heights (Photo: HANSON)

How are you finding working with the Company?

This has been such a fantastic new experience, and such an insight into working on the other side as ballet staff and not as a dancer. I think when you’re a dancer you don’t really appreciate how hard it is and the preparation ballet staff have to put in before rehearsals even start. As a member of the ballet staff team you have to be able to work with all departments, not just the dancers but stage management and all the admin staff, so that’s a new challenge in itself.

I have found the whole experience hugely enjoyable. It’s true to say that just because you were a good dancer it doesn’t mean you will be a good teacher, but thanks to David I’ve been given this fantastic opportunity to try my best and I hope I’ve done a good job.

What are you enjoying most?

Working with the dancers has been amazing; they are such a fantastic bunch of people. They are so open and receptive and willing to try new things and to listen. The consistently give 100% to everything they do, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of dancers to work with.

What are you finding the most challenging?

Time has been a struggle, especially because two other ballets were being rehearsed at the same time. It is also 4/5 years since this ballet was last staged so it’s a long time and it’s new to almost everyone in the Company so it’s been very challenging for everyone, but there’s been such a team effort. Lots of people have come together with lots of different skills. People have been so welcoming to me and very generous in helping me find my feet.

Was dancing Cathy one of your favourite roles? What challenges does she present as a character?

Dancing Cathy was my favourite role. The chance to create a new role with any choreographer is so special, it really is the highlight of a dancers career, very few top dancers even get the chance to create a new role. In some ways I could sympathise with the struggles in Cathy’s character and bring some of my own characteristics to the role.

Apart from dancing Cathy I really enjoyed dancing Juliet. Both were such emotional roles, by the end of each performance I was not just physically but emotionally drained. Particularly for the role of Cathy, it takes a lot of stamina to dance the role. Capturing the emotion is what I really loved as a dancer. I also really enjoyed being able to try something different at each performance, which was always an exciting challenge.

How are the dancers coming along with the ballet?

The dancers have been truly fantastic, they have come along so well and really embraced the ballet. There have been struggles with injuries, but that is the nature of ballet I suppose. Juggling rehearsal schedules can also be quite a challenge. The dancers really have all been fabulous. Their flexibility in dancing different roles and adapting to changes is unbelievable and a credit to their professionalism and experience as artists. All the Heathcliffs and Cathys have a different approach to the role, working with those different personalities has been really interesting to see.

Do you miss dancing with the Company?

I do miss dancing with NBT but I felt very satisfied with what I had achieved in my career and so I’ve never really had the urge to go back to dancing. I think that in order to be a good teacher you have to be happy with what you achieved yourself as a dancer otherwise you are not in the best position to help others achieve their best.

What have you been doing since leaving NBT?

Being a mum to my beautiful 3 year old daughter Lilly, that has kept me very busy!

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Ground Breaking Event Great Success

April 21, 2009 at 11:34 am (Company News, Events, Friends News, Fundraising, General Information, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , )

Yesterday’s ground breaking ceremony was a great success. Friends and Patrons of Northern Ballet Theatre, supporters of our building project as well as members of the Board, staff and dancers from NBT and Phoenix gathered together on Quarry Hill in central Leeds to witness the ground breaking ceremony.

As the sun shone down Andrew Carter, Leader of Leeds City Council got proceedings underway with the ceremonial shovel and both Andrew and Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire, gave speeches celebrating the partnerships coming together to make one of the most important cultural developments for Leeds a reality. Dancers David Ward and Rym Kechacha dressed in costumes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream enjoyed clambouring all over the JCB digger – I think everyone wanted to have a go at driving it but common sense prevailed. Mark Skipper spoke on behalf of everyone at NBT when he thanked all our partners and supporters who have given so generously to make our dream a reality. It does mean so much to us. You can add your support by donating through www.building-momentum.co.uk

Here’re some photos from the event taken by Lisa Stonehouse…

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Latest Podcast

April 20, 2009 at 11:39 am (Company News, Podcasts) (, , , )

Listen to the lastest Northern Ballet Theatre podcast in which we talk to dancers and NBT staff about the prospect and benefits of having a new building in the heart of Leeds.

Right-Click [Apple users, click & hold] and select Save As… to download to your computer.

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Warming Up On New Building

April 20, 2009 at 9:21 am (Company News, Fundraising) (, , , )

Sharon Watson, NBT's Dairector of Learning & Access leading a team from Wates Construction in a dance session.

Sharon Watson, NBT's Dairector of Learning & Access leading a team from Wates Construction in a dance session.

Daragh Corcoran from BBC Radio Leeds interviewing NBT's Chief Executive, Mark Skipper.

Daragh Corcoran from BBC Radio Leeds interviewing NBT's Chief Executive, Mark Skipper.

To kick off the start of work on site of Northern Ballet Theatre’s new building with Phoenix Dance Theatre, NBT’s Director of Learning & Access Sharon Watson led a dance session for the team from Wates Construction. The whole thing was broadcast live on BBC Radio Leeds and as Sharon got the builders ready for their day on site, Radio Leeds’ Daragh Corcoran interviewed NBT’s Chief Executive Mark Skipper and Phil Harrison from Wates Construction.

You can listen again by clicking here, the interviews took place just after 8am.

For further information on the new building or to make a donation visit building-momentum.

Sharon Watson, NBT's Director of Learning & Access, leading the Wates Contruction Team in a dance session.

Sharon Watson, NBT's Director of Learning & Access, leading the Wates Contruction Team in a dance session.

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Breaking Ground on New Project

April 20, 2009 at 8:12 am (Company News, Events, Fundraising) (, , , , )

Artists Impression of New Building

Artists Impression of New Building

We’re delighted to be able to share some exciting news about our new building project. The ground breaking ceremony to mark work starting on site takes place this afternoon with representatives from NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre joined by Andrew Carter, the leader of Leeds City Council, Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire, as well as partners from Leeds Metropolitan University, architects the Strategic Design Alliance and Wates Construction. Dancers dressed as fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream will also attend the ceremony. Photographs from the ground breaking ceremony will be on-line tomorrow.

We’re having a double celebration today because the momentum capital fundraising campaign has broken the £1million mark. We are now working hard to raise the remaining £500,000 of the £1.5million target. Help us reach our goal by donating on-line at building momentum

Read the full press release here [pdf].

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Peter Grant Rehearses “As Time Goes By”

April 15, 2009 at 11:24 am (Artist's News, Casts, Company News, Events, General Information, Tour News) (, , , , , , )

Peter Grant rehearsing "As Time Goes By" at West Park with Northern Ballet Theatre

Peter Grant rehearsing "As Time Goes By" at West Park with Northern Ballet Theatre

 

Young jazz sensation, Peter Grant, was in rehearsal with the Company at their West Park studios last week.

Peter is a 20 year-old jazz artist from Guiseley, Leeds. His album, “New Vintage” debuted at number 8 in the charts and sold over 100,00 copies. His second album “Traditional” combines easy listening jazz with a younger edge.

Peter will perform live with NBT in the UK première of As Time Goes By. Conjuring up an era of classic glamour, the dancers perform David Nixon’s stylish choreography to a selection of timeless songs such as Moondance, Song and Sophisticated Swing Man.

As Time Goes By will have its UK première in London in May (Sadler’s Wells 19 & 20 May) and will be performed in Leeds early next year.

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Young Jazz Sensation, Peter Grant, Joins NBT for London Performances

April 15, 2009 at 9:19 am (Artist's News, Casts, Company News, Events, General Information, Tour News) (, , , , , , , , )

Peter Grant will be performing live with NBT at Sadler's Wells

Peter Grant will be performing live with NBT at Sadler's Wells

Young jazz sensation, Yorkshire-born Peter Grant, whose debut album sold over 100,000 copies, will perform live with Northern Ballet Theatre during the London performances of the Company’s 40th Anniversary Mixed Programme.

NBT will bring an exciting programme of dance, music, song and theatre to Sadler’s Wells, London this May. The Company will present a Mixed Programme (As Time Goes By, A Simple Man and Angels in the Architecture) alongside one of its most popular and enduring productions, Romeo & Juliet. NBT will perform at Sadler’s Wells from Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 May and tickets are available by calling the box office on 0844 412 4300.

The Mixed Programme opens with the UK première of As Time Goes By, in which Peter Grant will perform live with NBT. Conjuring up an era of classic glamour, the dancers perform David Nixon’s stylish choreography to a selection of timeless songs such as Moondance, Song and As Time Goes By.

Click to read the press release.

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Farewell Steven Wheeler

March 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm (Artist's News, Casts, Company News, General Information) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Steven Wheeler with Charlotte Talbot in A Streetcar Named Desire and Steven as the Wardrobe Master in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Steven Wheeler with Charlotte Talbot in A Streetcar Named Desire and Steven as the Wardrobe Master in A Midsummer Night's Dream

This week Northern Ballet Theatre is performing Swan Lake and the Mixed Programme at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.

Steven as Lord Capulet with Chiaki Nagao as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet

Steven as Lord Capulet with Chiaki Nagao as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet

It is a week tinged with sadness as we say farewell to a popular and much loved character. Senior Artist Steven Wheeler gives his final performances with NBT after 17 years with the Company.

His very last performance will be as Man in a Quandry in Gillian Lynne’s remarkable production, A Simple Man on Saturday evening.

After joining NBT in 1992 Steven has created many unforgettable roles, audiences have particularly enjoyed his portrayal of the Wardrobe Master in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a role that he refers to as his alter ego. Most recently Steven created the role of Hamlet’s Father in David Nixon’s Hamlet, and the Marquis in Cathy Marston’s A Tale of Two Cities.

He says; “I’ll miss the camaraderie of the dancers. We are one huge family and I think that shows on stage.”

David Nixon says: “I would personally like to give my thanks to Steven for the contribution he has made to the Company and for his many memorable performances.”

Steven’s parting message to you is: (Tongue firmly in cheek) “Don’t stop supporting NBT just because I’m not here. There are many other fabulous dancers to support. But seriously, thank you for all your support over the past 17 years, it’s been amazing.”

We’ll all miss you Steven and we wish you the very best for the future. Send your messages for Steven by emailing media@northernballettheatre.co.uk or post them at www.ballet.co.uk and click on NBTtalk.

NBT’s dancers add their tribute to Steven

“My top memory of Steve has to be my first years in the Company when we toured together in my old mini. Two of the tallest guys in the Company driving round in a tiny car with our bags must have looked a sight!
I’ve known Steve since I was eight and spent my entire dancing life with him so it is going to be really strange not having him around. His knowledge of NBT shows will be greatly missed.”
Darren Goldsmith, Leading Soloist

“Steven Wheeler is an amazing person to work with. He is very professional and will always give 100% in each performance (even if it is show 110!). He is also a very caring partner in pas de deux and will always make the girl look good even if he is uncomfortable. Every girl’s dream. Steven is one of my favourite people to work with.”
Ginnie Ray, Junior Soloist

“I think I was lucky to have joined the Company at the same time as Steven so I could spend a lot of time with him. He has been so helpful; when I joined the Company 17 years ago he helped me so I didn’t feel lost. We have had a great time working together and I will miss him so much but I wish him all the best for the future.”
Hironaio Takahashi, Principal Artist

“Steven came to Japan with Hiro and I for our wedding, he was our best man. He helped me chose my head-dress and Hiro’s suits. Steven has always been reliable at work. If he was playing my father, such as Lord Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, his acting and timing were perfect so I could therefore perform my role perfectly. He is so considerate and professional on stage, making sure that I looked good out there.”
Keiko Amemori, Principal Artist

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Mixed Programme Cast List – Edinburgh

March 18, 2009 at 9:12 am (Artist's News, Casts, Company News, General Information, Tour News) (, , , , )

Mixed Programme - A Simple Man

Mixed Programme - A Simple Man

Please note: All casts are subject to change.

 

 

Sat 21 Mar (mat)

La Bayadère (The Kingdom of the Shades)

Nikiya – Martha Leebolt
Solar – David Ward
Solo 1 –  Christie Duncan
Solo 2 – Hannah Bateman
Solo 3 – Isabella Gasparini

Angels In The Architecture

Female Dancers – Christie Duncan, Keiko Amemori, Victoria Sibson, Georgina May, Martha Leebolt, Hannah Bateman
Male Dancers – Kenneth Tindall, Darren Goldsmith, David Ward, John Hull, Sebastian Loe, Tobias Batley

A Simple Man

LowryDarren Goldsmith
Lowry’s Mother – Nathalie Léger
Ann – Georgina May
Girls In Red – Hannah Bateman, Lori Gilchrist
Maud / Tennis Player – Julie Charlet
Father Going Home – Ashley Dixon
Children’s Mother – Victoria Sibson
Nymphettes – Christie Duncan, Michela Paolacci
Man In A Quandry – Steven Wheeler
Balloon Sellers – Sebastian Loe, Ben Mitchell


Sat 21 Mar (eve)

La Bayadère (The Kingdom of the Shades)

Nikiya – Julie Charlet
Solar – John Hull
Solo 1 –  Pippa Moore
Solo 2 – Georgina May
Solo 3 – Dreda Blow

Angels In The Architecture

Female Dancers – Christie Duncan, Keiko Amemori, Victoria Sibson, Georgina May, Martha Leebolt, Hannah Bateman
Male Dancers – Kenneth Tindall, Darren Goldsmith, David Ward, John Hull, Sebastian Loe, Tobias Batley

A Simple Man

LowryDarren Goldsmith
Lowry’s Mother – Nathalie Léger
Ann – Georgina May
Girls In Red – Hannah Bateman, Lori Gilchrist
Maud / Tennis Player – Julie Charlet
Father Going Home – Ashley Dixon
Children’s Mother – Victoria Sibson
Nymphettes – Christie Duncan, Michela Paolacci
Man In A Quandry – Steven Wheeler
Balloon Sellers – Sebastian Loe, Ben Mitchell

Please not all casts are subject to change.

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40th Anniversary Pages

March 12, 2009 at 9:29 am (40th Anniversary, Company News, Fundraising)

Martin Bell, Lori Gilchrist, David Ward and Georgina May
Martin Bell, Lori Gilchrist, David Ward and Georgina May

We’ve added a whole new section to www.northernballettheatre.co.uk dedicated to our 40th anniversary.

You can visit these pages to learn fantastic facts about NBT, news and announcements of special events and performaces we’ll be hosting to celebrate our birthday.

Northern Ballet Theatre’s 40th Anniversary

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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 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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Happy New Year

December 31, 2008 at 12:06 pm (Company News, General Information)

At Northern Ballet Theatre we have been working hard over the festive period making sure the performances of The Nutcracker at The Grand Theatre in Leeds create a warm festive glow for our audiences.

Today is the final performance of the year by the Company and all the dancers and technicians will now enjoy a well-earned break before returning to our West Park headquarters to commence rehearsals for our 40th anniversary programme.

Our Artistic Director David Nixon appears not to have heard about holidays however. On 3 January he will deliver the keynote address at the Royal Academy of Dance Members Conference 2009. Then he flies off to Estonia to spend most of January creating The Three Musketeers on the Estonian National Ballet.

The saying goes that ‘life begins at 40’ and if this is true then 2009 is going to be a great year for us as we reach the big 40. We hope you will join us to celebrate our anniversary and we would love you to share with us your favourite NBT moments from the past 40 years. Email them to media@northernballettheatre.co.uk or write to us at the normal address.

Northern Ballet Theatre would like to thank you for your continued support and wish you a very Happy New Year.

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Leeds a Milano

October 15, 2008 at 4:25 pm (Company News, Events, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , , )

Leeds in Milan is a five day festival of commerce and culture, designed to give Leeds businesses the opportunity to showcase their sectors, skills and expertise in Milan. The event is being managed and promoted by Marketing Leeds who recognise that culture is an important part of what Leeds has to offer as a city.Northern Ballet Theatre has been invited to take part in this cultural offering alongside Opera North and Leeds Met University and their anateresa project.

On the flight to Milan

This morning 12 NBT dancers plus support staff set off for Milan. It really is going to be a flying visit. Fortunately Jet 2 fly direct from Leeds/Bradford to Milan so not too early a start. Flight time was only about 2 hours so we arrived at Bergamo airport at about 3.30pm and transferred to our hotel – the Atahotel Fieramilano which took about 45 minutes. Quite a muggy afternoon in Milan – about 23 degrees

The coach journey to the hotel...

After check in, the dancers were free to explore the city whilst the Technicians made their way to the Triennale Theatre to start the fit up. Opera North and Leeds Met are providing the first half of the performance with NBT making up the second half. We will be performing pas de deux from Dracula, pas de deux from Three Musketeers, pas de deux from Nutcracker and Rhapsody in Blue from our Gershwin programme – so quite a diverse offering to show off our range.

Update:

A good evening on all fronts. Work in the theatre went well and although there were some issues getting the trailer access to the get in to the theatre, the work was completed on schedule and the Technical Staff were back at the hotel for 11pm. As always, little technical issues to resolve but all bodes well for tomorrow. The Company had various dining experiences but all appeared to be happy with their night out in Milan.

This is where we are staying!!

This is where we would like to be staying (The Four Seasons)

Just for the record, taxi drivers in Milan are a nightmare. Fares are extortionate and they seem to manage to find the most convoluted route to get anywhere!!

Mark Skipper

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New building for dance given green light by planners

October 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm (Company News, Fundraising, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , , , , , , )

Planners at Leeds City Council have given the green light to plans for a new centre of excellence for dance in Leeds. The new building will be home to Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) and Phoenix Dance Theatre (Phoenix) and will be built on Quarry Hill next to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, the BBC and the Leeds College of Music. The designs by the Strategic Design Alliance, a partnership of Jacobs Architecture and Leeds City Council’s in-house architectural consultancy, were passed at a planning meeting earlier today.

 

The ambitious plans are for a six-storey building consisting of seven dance studios including a 200-seat studio theatre, office space, a health suite and a costume workshop. Alongside the two professional companies the building will eventually house a full-time classical dance school as well as Leeds Metropolitan University’s dance degree courses. The building will open in summer 2010.

 

In February NBT and Phoenix launched momentum, the campaign to raise the remaining £1.5million of the £12million building. To date the campaign has raised more than £800,000 from a number of trusts, foundations and individual donors. Mark Skipper, NBT’s Chief Executive is spearheading the momentum campaign:  “The planning decision means that we have reached a key milestone in this project’s progress. With building work due to start on site in four months time we are now looking for a number of businesses and individual donors to step forward and help us meet our fundraising target and achieve our ambitions.” Anyone wishing to support the momentum campaign should visit www.building-momentum.co.uk or contact Melanie Aram at NBT at melanie.aram@northernballettheatre.co.uk

 

The new building has received wide support from across the region with Leeds City Council investing £6.7million, including a contribution from Yorkshire Forward, and Arts Council England, Yorkshire investing £3.5million through the National Lottery.

 

Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire said: “It’s great news that this exciting project has reached such a significant milestone. ­Two of the country’s leading dance companies will have a state-of-the-art new home in Leeds, bringing great dance to many more people in Yorkshire and beyond.”

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Learning & Access in Beijing

September 10, 2008 at 1:39 pm (Company News, General Information, Learning & Access) (, , )

Jo Dean reports again from Bejing where the Learning & Access Department are working as part of the British Council’s Young Advocate Progamme – developing the Paralympic Spirit.

The week seems to be rushing by with everyday packed full of activities, and we have just one day of workshops left before the showcase tomorrow. Tuesday was our second day of workshops, and the group continued developing the sequences they had created on Monday.  They also started creating more choreography based on the shapes and patterns found in flags from around the world.  The group is working really well together and the young advocates have come up with some fantastic ideas for their pieces, moments of which have been really moving.  A British party in the evening, complete with fish and chips, showcased the musical talents of some of the young advocates on the programme and got everyone up and dancing in a ceilidh. 

 

Yesterday was our rest day, but it seemed to be as busy as ever!  We started with a trip to the Great Wall, which was a lot steeper when walking up it than it looks from the bottom!  Following that we saw the China Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe at the Poly Theatre which impressed everyone, before returning to the Bird’s Nest stadium to watch some of the athletics events of the paralympics.


 Today the group is feeling the strain of the busy schedule but are really starting to refine their movement and polish their pieces.  The performance yesterday seemed to inspire them and the professionalism and precision of movement that they saw in the Troupe is being brought into the rehearsal today.  This afternoon we will be bringing together all of their work and structuring the piece for the showcase, before a shopping trip to Beijing to finish the day. 

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