A Dancer in Macau, part 2

July 20, 2010 at 10:54 am (Dancers, dancers' diaries, Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Here’s Hannah‘s final report from the international tour…

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Friday in Macau

We had class today at 12.30 – 13.45, then straight into the tech at 14.00- 17.00 with the Orchestra here in Macau. Time for a quick swim after early breakfast, a dip in the pool is a really great way to start a day! The tech went really well and the Orchestra sounded great, I keep my ear’s open as it’s only human nature to go on auto pilot after hearing the recording for a week or so. A live orchestra really does give a show that extra lift and edge of excitement. The show was a success and people of Macau relished the chance to scream ‘yes’ to believing in fairies. Room service at the hotel for me after the show and then bed ASAP, starting to feel like the end of the season!

Ayana and Christie

Ayana and Christie

Julie at the mirrors, there certainly isn't a lack of space!

Julie at the mirrors, there certainly isn't a lack of space!

The Stars...

The Stars...

Saturday the last day

The rain is beating down at quite a rate but I think we will be typhoon-free or at least if it could hold off till we take our flights home tomorrow that would be great. Tonight is David Ward’s last show with the Company and a chance for us all to say farewell to him before he departs for a new adventure in Ballet Met, Ohio, USA. We also say a fond farewell to Georgina Gabbie (Doll) who is leaving us to tour with Evita. David and Georgina will be very much missed.

We had class with Dan today at 11.30 and then double duty with performances at 14.30 and 19.30. In between the shows I took the 4 minute walk back to the hotel to get on top of my luggage, literally! Some people went for a last afternoon dip in the pool.

Show went really well tonight, extra excitement as so many of the dancers will be on their way home tomorrow to see family they haven’t seen for up to a year. I am sure there will be much celebration this evening!

The auditorium at Macau Cultural Centre

The auditorium at Macau Cultural Centre

The Darling nursery all set for the final show

The Darling nursery all set for the final show

Loads of room backstage, the pirate ship can be laid our flat

Loads of room backstage, the pirate ship can be laid our flat

Ash putting his priate belly to good use as an iPhone stand!

Ash putting his priate belly to good use as an iPhone stand!

Sunday, home time!

We left at 9.30am from the Grand Lapa, which we have all enjoyed calling home for the last five days. We are off to all four corners of the globe as we also start our summer break today: Japan, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and so on.

I have really enjoyed this overseas summer tour and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our fab techies, our great physio, Adam, who goes out of his way to make sure all of us are fit, well and happy. The ballet staff, music staff, wardrobe and Doll. But also my fellow dancers who I am always honoured to share a stage with. Every department has pulled together as only NBT can and have really pulled off eight wonderful shows to be proud of

I asked around and highlights of this tour have been the pool (!), the amazing audiences in HK and Macau, spending time together, all touring departments, the Cirque [de Soleil] show and getting to dance aboard. It has been a long season from August last year to now. We started with Dracula and have ended with Peter Pan. We had a crazy busy but awesome Christmas season with the Alumni Christmas Carol and the highlight that was the Gala. I feel privileged to do this job and I am well aware I couldn’t do it if NBT didn’t have the support of all our friends and audiences. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

First things we will be doing when we get home, having a cup of tea! Being reunited with family and pets who include Kitri and Basilio the Yorkshire Terriers in France and Coco the Boxer in Italy. I am off to Koh Samui, and then back to Yorkshire to rescue my garden! Till next time, it’s good bye to HK and Macau and hello holidays!!!

Good bye from all of us and see you in September! (Vicky, Christie and Micky)

Good bye from all of us and see you in September! (Vicky, Christie and Micky)

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A Dancer in Macau

July 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm (Artist's News, Dancers, dancers' diaries, Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Following on from her journal about Hong Kong, Hannah tells is about taking Peter Pan to Macau…

Monday: on to Macau

At 11.45 we met at the foyer of the YMCA Hong Kong for a 12.00 on-the-dot leave to the ferry terminal. We put our cases into what looked like a Chinese bin lorry and then onto an air conditioned coach. Not too far to drive and everyone is double checking they have everything they need and are all organised. We were all hoping for a quick, smooth journey over to Macua, as the sooner we got there, the sooner we could start the ‘day off’. A bizarre check-in period: we were ushered in groups of ten from one official to another until we got to the seating area and were abruptly told to, ‘sit, wait’! It was slightly painful as we loaded all 60 plus of us into a lift, 5 at a time, to the ferry terminal area but we got to the boarding area eventually!

WAITING, things happen slowly in China and you just have to give in to it !

WAITING, things happen slowly in China and you just have to give in to it !

A few of us have slightly delicate stomachs but travel sickness tablets are very reliable and we have travel bands on too. All ready for the 60 min crossing to Macau, or Mini Vegas as it is nicknamed.

All seated and ready for (fingers crossed) a smooth ferry ride, on the TurboJet

All seated and ready for (fingers crossed) a smooth ferry ride, on the TurboJet

Giuliano & Yoshi

Giuliano & Yoshi

So our 1hr 30min journey turned into a 5hr journey door-to-door. By the time we got to our rooms we were all feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, very hot and uncomfortable. Time for a shower to cool off and calm down. So as we waited for our luggage to arrive at to our hotel rooms we went to explore the hotel and all was forgiven when we found this…

The Pool!

The Pool!

We raced back to our rooms. Yippee! A tropical pool !!! Gleeful smiles on all our faces and the journey was forgotten!

Yoshi prepares for the pool

Yoshi prepares for the pool

A very kind man named Victor, one of the wonderful staff at the Grand Lapa, helped a few of us book tickets and travel to the Venetian over on Taipei to see Zaia a Cirque du Soliel. It started at 8pm and we left our hotel and pool at 7pm. There are free shuttle services between most of the main casino’s 24hr a day, yet more evidence of just how much money the casinos actually make. The show was out of this world as Cirque shows always are. Just think of what ballet could do with half a cirque budget! Oh to dream. On Monday night we all slept very well indeed!

Orchids in the foyer at the Grand Lapa, makes mine at home look pretty sad!

Orchids in the foyer at the Grand Lapa, makes mine at home look pretty sad!

Ready for the Cirque du Soleil show

Ready for the Cirque du Soleil show

Grand canal inside the Ventian Resort and Hotel

Grand canal inside the Ventian Resort and Hotel

Tuesday: our long-awaited day off

Most of us took advantage of a lie in and just made it for breakfast, which had something to suit all of our many nationalities. Then straight back to the pool for us all. The techies didn’t start till 2pm assuming their containers arrived on time.

The atmosphere at the pool was great. There were hardly any other guests and NBT had taken over in the best possible way. We all got to spend some quality time together and after five excellent shows in Hong Kong we felt like we deserved some time out. As dancers seem to always do, there was a lot of practicing of lifts in the water, a great place to practice with the only worry being water up the nose!

Ash, John and David were practicing propelling Thomas into the air to see how far they could throw him to allow him enough time to do multiple somersaults! The techies helped out too and also scored the highest out of 10 for their efforts. We all started to have ago on this kind of human trampoline. My first attempt was rubbish as was attempt #2. Determined not to be the worst one I gave it one last shot. Apparently it was a very, very good somersault but I was somewhat distracted with a slight wardrobe malfunction! Let’s just say a bikini isn’t the best attire to somersault in! I did get 10 out of 10, even if the crowd had gotten more than they bargained for! Good job we are all good friends!!

NBT Girls 'work it' at the pool, sorry all those left at West Park!

NBT Girls 'work it' at the pool, sorry all those left at West Park! (We'll get you back - Ed)

All at the pool side

All at the pool side

Yoshi prepares for Swan Lake in September!

Yoshi prepares for Swan Lake in September!

At 1.30pm David, Kenny and Micky had to drag themselves away to a press conference. This was a great experience for the Peter, Hook and Tink. All the Macau media were there and it was televised in mainland China, and Macau in English, Chinese, Mandarin and Portuguese! It lasted well over an hour and after the three of them where all talked out!

In the afternoon we took a slow walk in the heat around the MGM Grand and theatre. Some went to see Usher performing at the Ventian. Early to bed for me though, Mr. Nixon for class tomorrow morning!

The Theatre, Macau Cultural Centre

The Theatre, Macau Cultural Centre

Poster outside the Theatre, this is also the stage door

Poster outside the Theatre, this is also the stage door

Wednesday: Just class today

Mr Nixon for class at 10 till 11.30 today and then the rest of the day off. Full day for our techies and the local crew. They are finding the heat insufferable, I can’t imagine how horrid it must be to load in a show in humidity, I find it hard enough to pull my own body around let alone a load of set and lights, stage-weights etc.

Class with Mr Nixon was awesome, really got us stretched out and ready. He can be very inspiring as can Yoko. It’s great to always be encouraged to improve and hone our technique rather than just go through the motions of class.

The theatre seems great: large and very clean. They don’t quite have the individualism of our theatres back home but they do the job very well. More of a look around in the afternoon, and I treat myself to a Thai massage, heaven indeed! Salsa night at the MGM Lion bar, you don’t have to ask dancers to do this more than once. Then off to bed, not too late, tech tomorrow.

This was a gift from Mainland China to Macau

This was a gift from Mainland China to Macau

The MGM Lion

The MGM Lion

View over to Taipei

View over to Taipei

Thursday: Class and a Tech

Class at 1.30, so time for a morning swim. Then class with Yoko, excellent. David felt like we had all been doing really well and there was no need for a separate flying rehearsal, so thank you all the Peter’s and Darling children! We moved on through the day and completed the tech by 5.50pm. We all got to finish early and had the evening off. Lots of people took advantage of the free Wifi at the theatre and sent messages home.

Three shows to go. We stopped of at the Sofitel Hotel as they had a really good Micheal Jackson exhibition on and then off to bed. It’s business as usual tomorrow: technical rehearsal with the Macau orchestra and then our first show in Macau.

By the way today we were issued with a level 1 typhoon warning! Umm … should I be worried?

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Staged Adventures in the Orient

July 16, 2010 at 11:33 am (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Stage) (, , , , , )

Stage manager, Olivia Dermot-Walsh, tells us about the trials, tribulations and thrills of touring overseas…

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We’ve landed! Off the plane and heading for immigration. Everyone is dishevelled and the smokers need cigarettes. We have to go through customs as a group and as soon as we’re free and have collected luggage we charge to the open air for a first look at Hong Kong. As the sliding doors open the heat hits us and we’re drenched in sweat from the colossal humidity and the heat.

The crew ready for the trip...

The crew ready for the trip...

It takes ages for Martin (Deputy Chief Electrician) to come though and we find out that once again he had been held up – this time he was given a “visitor’s visa” instead of a work one and was interviewed while they sorted it out. This happens quite often to the poor chap so everyone laughs a lot.

On the coach to the Hong Kong YMCA

On the coach to the Hong Kong YMCA

Executive arrivals at the YMCA

Executive arrivals at the YMCA

We are ferried to the coach and make the 40 minute drive into mainland Hong Kong. We arrive at 17:15 local time at the hotel. We’re staying at the YMCA and in great oriental style the hotel has a very impressive reception lobby/foyer. Our rooms are bright and spacious with views over the harbour to Hong Kong island.

My two interpreters

My two interpreters

We set off on our first adventure into Hong Kong (also to try and get our body clocks sorted) for beer, food and to celebrate Abi’s (Electrician) birthday. We have a fantastic evening ending with a evening stroll along the waterfront by the venue. The harbour is amazing at night with all the buildings illuminations reflected in the water.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning at 9am Wilky (Steve Wilkins, Technical Manager) is called into the venue to unload the containers. There goes his 12 hour break, poor bloke! The rest of us try and get our bodies to behave as our brains say it’s daytime and our bodies say bedtime. Jet-lag is always funny for the first 3 days and we walk round in a bubble.

Training the new ASM

Training the new ASM

Hong Kong is full of smells, street vendors & bustle. Everyone vies for your attention and I notice how tall I feel at 5′ 7″. Inside the polished air conditioned malls with Gucci, Prada & YSL it feels like another world. I feel under dressed in my flip-flops and shorts. Hong Kong is very mixed metropolis. I love it.

Today is day one of the set build. The crew are call to start at 14:00 hours so I am left to my own devices for a few hours till I start at 19:00. I spend a lovely air-conditioned afternoon in the Hong Kong Cultural Museum and Art Gallery. I have a passion for tea ceramic art and find a wonderful exhibition dedicated to the subject.

I arrive at the venue and find that the stage area is massive – true operatic grandness. There is so much room instead of scene changes we could build complete sets and push one off into the wings, pull the next on and still have room to spare. Truly awesome.

The crew have already built the revolve (the turntable the Jolly Roger spins on) and are laying the sprung dance floor when I arrive. The local crew are very efficient and numerous – there are many more then you’d find in a UK venue. I’m introduced to Agnes, the crew chief, who is lovely, and her Number One, Bo Bo.

With a whole unloading dock to myself I unpack all the props and place the tables out. At 20:00 Wilkie calls a break so that we can all pile out of the venue and watch the famous Hong Kong light show from the water’s edge.

It’s pretty impressive but for us seasoned techies it made us laugh. Then back to work, soon it’s time to finish. Everyone is exhausted but positive.

Wednesday

Day two of the set build. We are all called for 10:00 – another full day of building, focusing and mending. Some of the properties have been trashed in transit, it’s the way it goes! So I spend the whole day with drills, paint, glue gun, burnt fingers and a touch of creativity to polish everything ready for tomorrow’s technical rehearsal.

The rest of the team arrive with the dancers today at 17:15. They won’t be called till 17:30 to cover class and do final props checks/maintenance before the technical rehearsal scheduled for 19:00.

Thursday

Day three of the build: I sleep in till 13:00 and feel better for it. Jet-lag’s nearly ok. I make my way into the venue via good old Starbucks for coffee and (very) hot Danishes. The technical rehearsal goes really well, the local crew really are amazingly efficient.

Friday

Day four of the build & first performance: I call Stage Management for 30mins before stage reset to make sure we ready to go for the dress rehearsal, which goes incredibly smoothly. We have an even smoother opening night!

Jim (Flyman) and I decide to head off the night market after the show but by the time everything is packed up and turned off when we get there. There’s an eerie feeling walking down empty packed up streets that look like they should be full of life. We find an amazing sushi restaurant and have dinner before heading back for sleep.

The Gang

The Gang

Saturday

Day five, back-stage tour & second the third shows: I arrive at 11:30 and set the stage out for the back-stage tour. They can’t tell me if the group coming to visit is young or old so I have Laura Burges (Assistant Stage Manager) and Jim Hannon (Flyman) as technical support for any difficult questions. When the 50 people arrive they are all mothers with small children so we adapt the tour accordingly. It is great fun to watch them all pile into the small rowing boat as their parents snap away with cameras. Next to meet the Crocodile – five small boys descend on our Old Croc and almost hug it to death.

Later we prepare for two shows and everything is going smoothly until the final Nursery scene change when the local flyman pulls back a curtain revealing the crew building the set. All of the local crew hit the decks leaving our crew holding the heavy flats up, their silent black figures motionless until the star-cloth was brought back down. Everyone was safe, but a disappointed sigh escaped our lips. These things happen – it wouldn’t be live theatre if things always went well.

We get to the turn around and find the stage management team only have a half hour break between shows so everyone if rushing around trying to get food down them. Show 3 goes very well with no hiccups so everyone relieved.

Sunday

Day six. A very early class 9:30am (!!) then 2 shows (!!!!!!) and a get out (!!!!!!!!!!). We don’t come up for air till 19:00 when Agnes invites us for farewell dinner. Oh Yeah!

The crew's farewell dinner

The crew's farewell dinner

Farewell dinner spread

Farewell dinner spread

We’re now in Macau in a great hotel under a typhoon warning! The sets are calling, have to go…

View of the theatre from the hotel room in Macau

View of the theatre and pool from the hotel room in Macau

Typhoon warning notices

Typhoon warning notices

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Learning & Access in Hong Kong – Day 3

July 13, 2010 at 11:03 am (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Learning, Overseas Tour) (, , , )


Groups session with participants moving around the room and dancing with balloons

Photo: Jo Dean

Participants reaching for the sky and stretching their warmed-up muscles

Photo: Jo Dean

The third and final day of the Learning project with the British Council and the Providence Centre of Rehab in Hong Kong has been and gone, and the feedback from the participants has been fantastic.   Today saw the dance artists and care workers delivering their own activities during a workshop with centre members who suffer from learning difficulties, putting into practice the skills they have learned this week.

In small groups, they planned a movement activity for a warm up, and suggested ways to develop this idea.  All of the groups did remarkably well, having had little or no experience of delivering movement activities before.  One of the groups of care workers used props to initiate movements, and then developed this by asking members of the group to order the movements into sequences.  The care workers and dance artists felt a real sense of achievement and confidence in leading a session and seeing their planned ideas working successfully with the members.  After the workshop session the care workers and dance artists spoke about the positive effects of movement for the centre members and about how activities for the whole group can work on different levels according to what each participant can achieve.

Over the three days of the project we have been able to see the confidence of the centre members grow as they were given the freedom to lead movement and as they connected with their care workers on a different level.  The workshops were a real buzz of energy and excitement, and the Rehab Centre are looking forward to developing movement sessions into their daily programme of activities, with the care workers inspired and enthusiastic to try out their new ideas.

Working together to develop social, coordination and other skills

Photo: Jo Dean

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A Dancer in Hong Kong

July 12, 2010 at 11:36 am (Artist's News, Dancers, dancers' diaries, Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

First Soloist, Hannah Bateman, tells us about the tour to Hong Kong from a dancer’s perspective…

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So off to Hong Kong we go!

We’ve never finished a touring season abroad, when we have done overseas tours before they have been at the beginning of a season. So after a touring stretch from February till now with a total of six ballets within that time, we were all feeling the end of season blues but the excitement of a trip abroad filled us with some much needed energy.

I chose to do a mad dash drive down to my sister’s house on Monday night after a final run through at West Park in the day as my stomach prefers not to travel by coach! But the rest of the Company headed off, guide books in hand, at 12 noon on Tuesday. It was going to be a long journey as the arrival time meant we were due in to Hong Kong on Wednesday at 15.30. I met my fellow travellers at Heathrow at about 16.45 and so it really began.

I hate group check-ins, but they are a big part of the experience so you just have to sit back and relinquish control (not a strong point of mine!) After check in, the big wait and for me especially the big temptation! I really don’t need any more perfume, make-up, etc just because it is discounted, stay away. This time however I was really pushed to my limit as there is a Mulberry shop at terminal 3, lucky my credit card is wrapped in cling film. It really is just for emergencies!!!

Kenneth & Yoshihsa diligently guarding the bags

Kenneth & Yoshihsa diligently guarding the bags

Time flies in Terminal 3

Time flies in Terminal 3

The newlyweds, Mr & Mrs Goldsmith

The newlyweds, Mr & Mrs Goldsmith

Julie, Michela, Jeremy, Sebastian and Yoshihisa

Julie, Michela, Jeremy, Sebastian and Yoshihisa

We arrived in good time and even though the flight was very long and uncomfortable you are restored with a temporary burst of enthusiasm as you ride from the airport to the hotel.

Welcome to Hong Kong

Welcome to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a strange metropolitan jungle, a mix of Japan and New York on the sea front. It is so over-developed, perhaps we were never meant to adopt this island as a business hub but somehow someone has squished a load of high-rise everything on to it.

Hong Kong land reclamation and development

Hong Kong land reclamation and development

A quick story from the plane

The main aim of a long haul flight is to try and stop the swelling! I have had long haul flights before where my feet have swollen so much that I cannot get my pointe shoes on the next day, so every dancer adopts their own way of handling this. Kenny purchased some rather flashy state of the art tights by Skins, compression wear and this worked out really well for him, I had flight socks (I won’t bother next time!) Some drink loads of water before the flight and take Paracetamol. Georgina was determined to find somewhere to lie down, good luck to her I thought! Well, half way through the flight, it was like everyone everywhere was asleep and as I looked around with green envy I realised Georgina wasn’t in her seat. Great, I thought, I can go and find her and we can trade magazines as planned and have a chat and a cup of tea by the fire exit. I looked around the plane three times! She was nowhere to be seen. I had horrid thoughts of her being stolen like in ‘Flight Plan’.

Where was she? Lori, who she was sat on Georgina’s row was squished on her seat, the third of their line was fast asleep in a labour-like pose. One leg resting on the back of the seat and the other resting on the food trays! As Lori woke I dashed to her and in a frantic whisper asked, “Have you seen Georgie? I can’t find her anywhere!”

At that exact moment a head popped up between the food trays and Ben’s right leg and a sleepy voice said, “that was great a got 3 good hours sleep.” Georgina had slipped under the trays and the three chairs and had made herself a pretty good make shift bed with plane blanket and pillow. Swelling averted! Well done Georgie!

We attempted to stay awake for as long as possible on Wednesday to get on Hong Kong time so we all went off to explore our new city and most were in bed by 10pm.

Thursday

Our first day in the theatre, a morning of sight-seeing, late class at 17.30 and the first tech.

The humidity is a killer; we drank loads of water and walked very slowly. Note to self, don’t bother moisturising in the morning as you just end up sweating it out and, quite frankly, it becomes a waste of money (there are air conditioned walk-ways but we haven’t found them yet!)

We looked around a couple of shopping centres, the Botanical Gardens, Zoo and we managed to stop for lunch inside the IFC building at Pret-A-Manger of all places.

Jeremy, Thomas and Kenneth relaxing in the Gardens

Jeremy, Thomas and Kenneth relaxing in the Gardens

Ashley in his Temple on Hong Kong island

Ashley in his Temple on Hong Kong island

High-rise in Hong Kong

High-rise in Hong Kong

By the time we made it up the steep winding hill to the Gardens we were greeted by a small shop where we quickly purchased water and Christie & I purchased a very natty fan each! We wanted to get out there and see what Hong Kong has to offer, but I was still feeling the effects of the flight and the thought of class and a tech is in the back of my mind.

Dance Class in the theatre

Warming down & stretching after a humid class

Class was with Dan, and he was very kind to us as we slowly worked out all our lumps and bumps. The tech was with Ayana and Jeremy’s cast and went very smoothly indeed. The crew here seem to be fab and with our great crew, they all make a very slick team.

The theatre is huge and very well kept. Georgina and I have a lovely dressing room together and had a chuckle over the fact that on every light switch and door handle it tells you, in a laminated sticker, just how many times a day it has and will be disinfected. Good to know!!!

Found a great place for a quick dinner after the tech and then to bed, still not quite on Hong Kong time.

View from TST (Tsim Sha Tsui), a major Hong Kong tourist hub by the theatre

View from TST (Tsim Sha Tsui), a major Hong Kong tourist hub by the theatre

View of the harbour from TST

View of the harbour from TST

Another vire of the harbour from TST by the theatre

Another vire of the harbour from TST by the theatre

Crossing the Hong Kong harbour

Crossing the Hong Kong harbour

Friday, seems like a regular day on tour. The Boss (Mr Nixon) and Yoko joined us today, it is always great to have them with us; the team is complete!

I had a look round the Cultural Centre and the hype for the show is great; the shows are nearly 100% sold and we are headlining the festival out here so fingers crossed we can impress the Hong Kong audience. A good tech and a good first show, a couple of bumps in places, but nothing the audience would notice (I hope).

Pippa and David lead the Company and I must say I always watch the first time Wendy flys, it’s magical. I sneaked a look at the audience through a gap in the wing and the first row was nearly all little children, every one of their beautiful faces lit up with excitement. They really love this show wherever we take it in the world.

Our techie’s really are fab, as are the Hong Kong crew, it’s all going rather well and audience response was great especially when asked, “Do you believe in fairies?” Well I am glad to report the people of Hong Kong certainly do!

Hong Kong Ballet banners

Hong Kong Ballet banners

The exhibition banners telling the story of Peter Pan

The exhibition banners telling the story of Peter Pan

Welcome to the Land of Dreams at the Cultural Centre

Welcome to the Land of Dreams at the Cultural Centre

Pride of place, the Peter Pan banner in the Cultural Centre

Pride of place, the Peter Pan banner in the Cultural Centre

Saturday, double-show day.

15.30 and 19.30. Emergency rehearsal today for Ben as he is on today for Peter in place of Jeremy as he is really very unwell. (First time to China, it has happened to us all.) Jeremy’s Dad lives in Hong Kong so he is able to take care of him, which is just what you need when you are so far from home.

Get well soon Jez!

Ben did really well as did Ayana, who’s parents came over from Japan to see her dance.

David and Pippa again in the evening and another great and very smooth show, apparent from a rebellious young boy who shouted “NOOOOOOOO!” to the famous do you believe question – much to the audience’s hilarity. David handled it very well and Tinkerbell made a full recovery!

After the show straight back to the hotel for a movie and then bed. Boring but needed, mind you today I felt myself again, definitely fully on Hong Kong time now!

Sunday, double duty again!

11.30 and 15.30 shows this time. Wow, did it feel early to be in for class at 9.30. Oh well on with the show. The buzz of the audience was excellent all day and well worth the early morning wake up call.

This is mainly a festival for families and outside the theatre there have been mini-shows by local children on an open air stage, so passers-by can grab a seat and be entertained in the Hong Kong heat.

In between the shows and from my window near the dressing rooms I have seen some Chinese opera, ballroom and Latin American dancing kids, sing-a-long sessions with a very enthusiastic young Asian man and also a homage to Michael Jackson and some bizarre hip hop. All very good fun and totally entertaining from my air conditioned viewing gallery!

After the shows were done I got to catch up with my cousin who lives and works in Hong Kong and we took in the sights from the peak! This is where you get a fantastic view over Hong Kong Island and you can shop yet more in the centre perched on the top of this huge peak. We had a lovely dinner and a slightly uncomfortable journey back down the twisty alp-like road to the bottom.

Star Ferry trip across the harbour

Star Ferry trip across the harbour

Beautiful skies over Hong Kong

Beautiful skies over Hong Kong

The star ferry back to TST and then very much time for bed. Packing in the morning and then off to Macau for us all!

There's no place like home...

There's no place like home...

It's Bruce Tindall! Or Kenneth Lee?

It's Bruce Tindall! Or Kenneth Lee?

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International Arts Carnival Opening Evening

July 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour)

WebNewsWire have posted a release about the opening of the Hong Kong International Arts Carnival, an arts festival which features over 370 events for family enjoyment.

Northern Ballet Theatre helped open the festival with a performance of Peter Pan in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre in front of a full house. There are four more performances over the weekend before the Company decamp to Macau.

Read more about the Opening night of the Hong Kong International Arts Carnival.

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Learning and Access in China – Day 2

July 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Learning, Overseas Tour) (, )

Participants taking part in the Learning workshopsIts day two of the Learning project with the British Council and the Providence Centre of Rehab in Hong Kong.

This morning we examined the structure of a “workshop”, from warm up to exploration of movement, development of ideas through to the conclusion. Activities focused on how to vary speed levels and the use of canon and unison to develop simple movements into a short sequence. Care workers and dance artists used gestures to represent physical movement, and working in pairs, developed a short sequence of movement.

When the members of the centre joined the group this afternoon, Caroline and Dylan led the same activities as in the morning, to show how the theory of what they learnt in the morning was applied in the context of an actual session. This gave the centre members an opportunity to make decisions and create a movement sequence of their choosing, allowing them to explore their own creativity.

Participants jumping for the joy of dance in the workshops

The dance artists and care workers also worked together in groups to plan an activity for tomorrow’s session, where they will deliver parts of a workshop with the member with learning difficulties, putting into practice what they have been learning over the last two days.

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Preparations in Hong Kong (Updated)

July 9, 2010 at 8:04 am (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

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Things are progressing well with preparations for the opening tonight with 97% of seats for our performances booked, which is amazing!

It is incredibly humid in Hong Kong but we are enjoying our time here. Tomorrow we start a busy schedule: a dress rehearsal followed by the official opening of the Festival, followed by our opening performance. We then have 2 shows on Saturday and 2 on Sunday so not much free time. We also have an event for our sponsors, Marketing Leeds, on Saturday night.

Update…

The Technical Rehearsal went extremely well this afternoon with the production looking the best it ever has. The large stage and auditorium lend themselves perfectly to the scale of the production. This evening we have an event to mark the official opening of the festival. David, Daniel, Steve and I will be attending with some of the dancers. It remains hot and humid with threatening skies but so far no rain!

Mark Skipper,  Chief Executive –  Northern Ballet Theatre

The awe-inspiring cityscape from across Hong Kong harbour

The awe-inspiring cityscape from across Hong Kong harbour

View of the Darling's bedroom from the auditorium

View of the Darling's bedroom from the auditorium

The magnificently decorated foyer of Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre

The magnificently decorated foyer of Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre

Technical Rehearsal - On the Jolly Roger

Technical Rehearsal - On the Jolly Roger

Technical Rehearsal - In the Forest

Technical Rehearsal - In the Forest

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Pictures from Hong Kong

July 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour, Stage, Tour News) (, , , , , )

The Company are currently in Hong Kong to perform Peter Pan as part of the opening programme of the International Arts Carnival at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

Here are a few pictures they’ve sent back of the stage as they prepare for the performance alongside images from the Peter Pan’s Land of Dreams exhibition which is also a part of the carnival…

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Further information about Peter Pan’s tour to Hong Kong and Macau.

Hong Kong Cityscape as viewed from the stage door

Hong Kong Cityscape as viewed from the stage door


Container truck containing the set and rigging for Peter Pan reversed into the unusually shaped opening at Hong Kong Grand Theatre

Container truck containing the set and rigging for Peter Pan reversed into the unusually shaped opening at Hong Kong Grand Theatre


Cargo crates of the Peter Pan set being unpacked on stage

Cargo crates of the Peter Pan set being unpacked on stage


Information on the production on display as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition

Information on the production on display as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition


Part of the Peter Pan set (Wendy's Bedroom) as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition

Part of the Peter Pan set (Wendy's Bedroom) as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition


Visitors to the exhibition taking leaflets about our production of Peter Pan from the Darling's dresser

Visitors to the exhibition taking leaflets about our production of Peter Pan from the Darling's dresser


View from the Hong Kong Grand Theatre stage

View from the Hong Kong Grand Theatre stage


Northern Ballet Theatre crew setting up the rigging for Peter Pan

Northern Ballet Theatre crew setting up the rigging for Peter Pan

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Learning and Access in China – Day 1

July 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Learning)

The Learning and Access team are currently in Hong Kong, delivering a three-day dance project for the British Council, in partnership with the Providence Centre for Rehab. The project incorporates local dance artists, care workers and members of the rehabilitation centre with learning difficulties, to explore the benefits of dance and movement for the learning disabled. It will develop the skills and confidence of the dance artists and care workers, enabling them to plan and deliver creative movement sessions within their communities.

Having arrived in Hong Kong after a long flight, we met with the British Council and the staff at the Providence Centre for Rehabilitation to discuss the aims of the project and to find out what experience of dance and movement the care workers and members of the rehabilitation had. Having had little or no experience of dance, the care workers would benefit from learning how to structure a movement session and develop activities to meet the aims of their sessions.

Today was our first workshop day, and we spent the morning with the care workers from the centre and the local dance artists, introducing them to creative ideas to use in a workshop session. We looked at games and activities to use in a warm up, trying out a number of different activities so that they could experience how they can be used to meet the engage a variety of participants. Looking particularly at the use of props, they explored how using props can make movement less intimidating, can encourage social interaction and can develop individual movements.

Then this afternoon, the group was joined by members of the rehab centre, all of whom have learning difficulties, to put into practice some of the activities from the morning session. By having experienced the activities for themselves, the care workers and dance artists were able to understand the purpose of each activity and the benefits for the participants with learning difficulties.

It was a very energetic day, with participants coming to the workshop with a variety of different skills and experiences, so it was great to see everyone getting involved and working together to create a really positive workshop environment.

Photos, filming and blog: Jo Dean, Learning & Access Project Manager

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Preparing for Hong Kong

July 5, 2010 at 8:25 am (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Learning, Learning & Access, Overseas Tour)

As the Company prepare for their tour to Hong Kong and Macau over the next few weeks, preparations are also underway in the Learning & Access Department as they too will be making their way to Hong Kong to deliver a dance project for the British Council.

Working with local dance artists, carers and social workers and adults with learning disabilities, the project will explore the benefits of dance and movement for the learning disabled, and will develop the skills of the dance artists, enabling them to deliver integrated dance projects within their communities.

Dance Education Officer Caroline Burn and Project Manager Jo Dean will be joined by musician Bill Laurance and dance artist Dylan Quinn to deliver the four-day project at the Providence Garden for Rehab centre in the north of Hong Kong. Jo will be sending us updates throughout the project.

With just a couple of days to go before we set off for Heathrow, Caroline and Dylan have been doing the final planning for the project, coming up with ideas and activities to do with the group and creating a resource pack for the dance artists to support their learning. While the main focus of the project will be equipping the dance artists with the skills required to lead integrated dance projects, we will also be introducing the social workers to the benefits of movement in increasing confidence, body awareness and control and communication skills, and giving the participants the opportunity to express themselves through movement.

Check back here next week to find out how the project is going.

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