Loving Leeds…

February 22, 2010 at 10:15 am (Artist's News, General Information, Interviews, Podcasts) (, , , , )

In this latest podcast Northern Ballet Theatre dancers tell us what the love most about Leeds…

(right click here to download the mp3 file.)

Michela Paolacci & Hiro Takahashi in Leeds City Centre

Michela Paolacci & Hiro Takahashi in Leeds City Centre, Photo: Ryan Hopkinson

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Christopher Hinton-Lewis on Moving On

February 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm (Artist's News, Interviews) (, , )

In this podcast Christopher Hinton-Lewis talks about leaving Northern Ballet Theatre after 10 years and his dreams for the future…

Click to download this Northern Ballet Theatre podcast…

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Valentine’s Day Interview with Lori and David

February 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm (Artist's News, Interviews) (, , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre dancers Lori Gilcrist and David Ward have been dating for over four years – in this interview they reveal all about each other…

Where did you meet your Valentine?

David: We obviously met in the company! We had our first date in a night club and then we started dating on and off for a while. But we have been together five years.

What is your Valentine’s finest quality?

Lori: hmmmmm I don’t actually know!

David: Well I don’t know you’re supposed to answer for me!

Lori: He’s caring, defiantly caring and kind.

David: Her finest quality is that she loves animals.

What is your Valentines worst habit?

David: That I never do the washing up or clean?

Lori: Definitely, definitely!

David: We take it in turns so if I make dinner she can wash up…

Lori: But if I make dinner I wash up!

What would be your Valentine’s dream holiday?

David: Any holiday!

Lori: That’s true…

David: Lori is addicted to holidays so as far away and as long as possible! We are hoping to go to Bali after the tour to China for 10 days to two weeks. So that’s our next dream holiday!

Which ballet couple best describes your relationship and why?

Lori: Maybe Lysander and Hermia

David: Yea… I prefer Demetrius and Hermia it’s a bit more fun, a bit younger!

What would your Valentine eat is it were their last meal on earth?

Lori: Rice and peas and chicken!

David: Probably Sunday Roast.

Who is more romantic?

Lori: David, definitely

David: For sure!

Who has the better sense of humour?

Lori: David!

David: For sure!

Who is more likely to deal with a spider?

Lori: Me!

David: I hate spiders!

Lori: He could cry…

Who is more of a gambler in every day life?

Lori: I’d say we’re quite equal.

David: Yeah we are quite equal, we don’t like to plan too much, take everyday as it comes so that’s a bit of a gamble I guess.

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Valentine’s Interview with Michela and John

February 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm (Artist's News, Interviews) (, , , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre dancers Michela Paolacci & John Hull have been going out together for over eight years. Here they reveal their Valentine’s secrets…

Where did you meet your Valentine?

Michela: I met John at English National Ballet School where I joined in the graduate year. I was only there for a year and he had already been there for two and we were lucky enough to get the NBT job together.

What is your Valentine’s finest quality?

John: Just everything about her is perfect. There’s nothing in particular, just everything.

What is your Valentine’s worst habit?

Michela: I would have to say probably keeping things inside until the last minute and then having them blow up into a massive volcano! Because I’m quite an open person and so the two of us are quite opposite and that’s probably a trait that is his worst quality for me because I like to get things out in the open right away, discuss them and sort them out.

What would be your Valentine’s dream holiday?

John: To go to Venice for a long weekend. Ride around in the gondolas looking at all the museums and the churches and all the art. Have a nice relaxing weekend.

What do you wish you knew about your Valentine?

Michela: I think I know everything about John. I’d like to maybe know a little bit more about his childhood or his past because he is Australian and he has lots of friends there. I have never really had the chance to go there and spend some time with them and realise what it’s like to live there. I think I pretty much know every single thing, good and bad!

Which ballet couple best describes your relationship and why?

Michela: Mr and Mrs Fezziwig (Laughs)

John: That’s probably pretty correct actually!

Michela: Apart from I don’t drink so I would be Mrs Fezziwig minus the drink and John would be Mr Fezziwig perfectly.
Other than that, probably also Cathy and Healthcliff because there is also a lot of outwards passion…

What would your Valentine eat if it were their last meal on earth?

Michela: That’s easy! John would probably choose an Aussie Burger with the full work. But anything basically with cheese and bacon on it and VB Beer.

Who is more romantic?

John: I don’t know who do you think?

Michela: I think it’s probably about the same. John’s really romantic much more romantic than he seems in the sense that he is a real flowers and chocolates type of guy so I think probably you, in that sense.

Who has the better sense of humour?

John: We both do, it just different! I recon yours is probably a better sense of humour.

Michela: I’m not sure, we both make each other laugh a lot, which is good. We laugh tons!

John: You laugh by yourself sometimes…

Michela: Yea I do, I make myself chuckle. I’m not sure; I’d say probably me! (Laughs).

Who is more likely to deal with a spider?

Michela: Definitely John, I have a phobia of spiders!

John: Definitely me!

Who is more of a gambler?

John: That’s me.

Michela: You?

John: You don’t even know how to gamble!

Michela: Definitely, John! I have never gambled in my life.

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Work Experience at Northern Ballet Theatre

December 15, 2009 at 4:08 pm (General Information, Interviews) (, , , , )

Jasmine Barber is a Leeds Met student, studying for a Masters degree in Public Relations. She has been doing a one-day-per-week work placement at Northern Ballet Theatre since September. She tells us about her experience to-date.

“My name’s Jasmine and I’ve been on placement in the Media & PR department of NBT for the last few months. After completing three long years studying for a degree in Education at the University of Hertfordshire, I decided I wanted a complete career change and applied for a Masters in Public Relations at Leeds Met.

“The minute I got the acceptance letter for my MA my first thought was that I needed to do some work experience because the competition for PR jobs is fierce. Initially, I researched PR Agencies in Leeds and wrote to a couple, it wasn’t until someone mentioned to me that Northern Ballet Theatre often took on students that I decided to e-mail Laraine, Head of Media & PR here at NBT. Having danced pretty much my whole life until I was 18, I was really excited and hopeful that Laraine would get back to me. Thankfully she did and I have been at NBT one day a week ever since.

“The experience I have gained so far has been fantastic; I have had the opportunity to write press releases, draft an internal newsletter, attend road shows, write for the blog, file press cuttings, collate press quotes and I have learned so much from just being in a professional environment watching what goes on on a day-to-day basis. My highlight so far has definitely been the press launch for A Christmas Carol. Not only was it amazing to watch the show and see it all come to life, but it was great getting first-hand experience meeting the press.

“At NBT no two days are ever the same and being here has really helped me gain a much better understanding of PR and how important it is – and how much work goes into it! My time here has confirmed that PR is the career I want to pursue and has also helped me conclude that I would like to work in-house for a company or organisation one day. I’m so thankful I have been given the opportunity to work at the NBT, not only has everyone been so welcoming and friendly towards me but they have also taught me so many things that will be so beneficial when it comes to my future in PR.”

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An Interview With Three Vampires

September 10, 2009 at 1:21 pm (Events, General Information, Interviews, Tour News) (, , , , , , )

(Left to right) Tobias Batley, Kenneth Tindall and Christopher Hinton-Lewis discuss their approach to playing the title role in Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Dracula.

Dracula is on at the West Yorkshire Playhouse 10-19 September, for details about events at the theatre, audio description, touch tours and more read the Dracula information page.

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Ashes Fever Grips Northern Ballet Theatre

August 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm (Artist's News, Interviews) (, , , , , )

You can’t have missed the fact that England is currently gripped by the excitement of the Ashes cricket tournament. The barmy army has followed its team around the country to Leeds, our home city. Headingley is just down the road from NBT’s West Park base. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them, so we’ve succumbed to Ashes fever led by dancer and cricket fan Jessica Morgan.

21 year old Jessica joined NBT in 2008 and is originally from Newcastle, Australia. Jessica is one of two Australian dancers in the Company (John Hull is the other) and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to find out – whether she is a cricket fan and whether the Aussie v’s English sporting banter that is prevalent all over the country at the moment exists at NBT.

Jessica Morgan

Jessica Morgan

So, prepare to be bowled over by Jessica Morgan…

Have you been following the Ashes?

I have been but not as much as in past years as I’m so busy working. I’m really excited its in Leeds, it reminds me of watching my brother play cricket when I was younger, it was always a big family thing. It’s great to see the Aussie spirit here.

Do you like cricket?

I love watching cricket, it’s my favourite sport.  I haven’t played it though, my brother used to play a lot. This is my first time in cricket pads – they’re really hard to walk in. I used to do a lot of sport in Australia, I used to swim competitively.

Do you have a favourite player in the Australian cricket team?

My favourite Aussie player is Ricky Ponting because he’s been in the team since I was young so I’ve watched him develop to his position as captain. I also like Brett Lee.

There is a lot of friendly banter between the English and Australians, does any of this exist in the Company?

Not really, I think we’re all slightly more reserved and wouldn’t come out with something so vocally as the cricket fans. I think Australians are naturally quite competitive which suits a career in dance as it is very competitive.

Are your family still in Australia?

No, they have followed me here. I moved to the UK when I was 16 to attend the Elmhurst school which was in Edgbaston in Birmingham. The school was right next door to the cricket pitch there. My brothers and sisters also came over to England so my whole family has made it their home, which is great.

Jessica Morgan

Jessica Morgan


Jessica Morgan
Jessica Morgan


What do you find is the big difference between England and Australia?

The lifestyle – most weekends in Australia we’d be at the beach. We used to live five minutes walk from the beach. Also the weather, at the end of the day we’d just dive straight in the pool. The fashion is better here, in Australia it’s a very relaxed style, jeans and thongs (flip-flops); so I enjoy shopping here.

 And of course the all-important question, who’s going to win the Ashes?

Australia of course! We’ve only lost it once in my lifetime – that was when it was played in the UK so I hope that’s not a bad omen.

 Good luck to both teams – may the best team win (as long as it’s England).

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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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