Academy Classes Filling Up

August 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , )

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

Photo: Hannah KirkpatrickWe now only have a few weeks left of enrolment for our classes for young children and places are filling up fast. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for your child to train with Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds.

Classes range from mini movers (a parents and tots class) to classes for 16-year-olds.

The classes are a great way for children to make friends, stay active and learn more about music and dance as well as working alongside the professional dancers.

To find out more please visit the academy webpage or call to speak to Hannah or Faye in the Academy department: 00113 274 5355.

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

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Dance helps transition from primary to secondary school

July 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm (Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , )

NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre are in Middleton this week with their summer school for young people. The course is being held at the Cockburn College of Arts and will introduce primary and secondary school students to ballet and contemporary dance. As well as honing their dance skills the project aims to ease the transition from primary to secondary school: the younger members are being introduced to their new school and the older members will mentor and help them. Dance artists from both companies are leading the project and Phoenix’s Artistic Director, Sharon Watson, will choreograph a piece which will be performed at the end of the week for the parents.

But that is not all … The group will come back together over 4 weekends in December and January to prepare for a second performance, this time at the official launch of NBT and Phoenix’s new dance centre in Leeds. This will give them the unique opportunity to perform in a professional dance space alongside professional and community groups. The project will open up additional opportunities to work with NBT and Phoenix, through theatre trips, dance projects, after school classes and future dance activities in school.

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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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Former NBT Students to Dance with Rambert

June 25, 2010 at 11:00 am (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , )

Former Northern Ballet Theatre Associates Lauren Wilson and Helen Barlow have been selected by Mark Baldwin to tour with Rambert Dance Company next year. They will be performing ‘A Linah Curva’.

Both Helen and Lauren are just about to finish their second year at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. To be selected to tour with the main company is a great achievement and we wish them the very best of luck.

Hopefully we will be able to update you on how they got along next year.

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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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Brownies & Guides Take Over NBT

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

Cara O'Shea on pointe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guides having fun

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NBT International Summer School

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

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

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

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

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

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Easter Course – Day Three

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

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

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

Young people jumping

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

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

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Easter Course Day Two

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

Picture of Young People Dancing

Practicing the lifts

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

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

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

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

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Easter Course update from Caroline Burn

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

Easter course update

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

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

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

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

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


Dance Education Officer

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Ladies who lunch

March 26, 2010 at 5:08 pm (General Information, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , )

NBT took part in raising over £100,000 for the charity Action for Children Scotland last Sunday, when Head of Communications, Ruth Burke-Kennedy, attended a glittering awards ceremony at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel for the announcement of this year’s Scottish Woman of Influence.

Around 400 of Scotland’s most successful and best-dressed women attended the annual event which is in its tenth year. To mark its anniversary, ten influential women credited for outstanding achievements in their field.

So far the lunches have raised £657,000 for Action for Children Scotland. NBT donated to the silent auction, offering tickets to performances of Dangerous Liaisons and the chance to watch the dancers taking their daily class at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. Dangerous Liaisons will run at the Theatre Royal from 2 – 5 June.

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Excellent! Participants Podcast…

March 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , )

Northern Ballet Theatre Academy and other participants of the Excellent! event tell us about taking part and the challenges they faced in preparing for their performance.

Hannah Kirkpatrick, Academy Officer, said:

“It was a big success” and went on to say, “We’re really proud of all our students…”

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Northern Ballet Theatre Academy is EXCELLENT!

March 4, 2010 at 4:52 pm (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , )

This Saturday (6th March) 5 students from the Northern Ballet Theatre Academy will be taking part in ‘Excellent! 2010‘ at the Riley Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Photo by: Gavin Joynt

Photo by: Gavin Joynt

Excellent! 2010‘ will be an exciting and exhilarating evening of music and dance to celebrate the stars of tomorrow.

The evening is to celebrate the DCSF’s Music and Dance Scheme and the sheer talent of young dancers and musicians in the North.

With students performing from The Hammond, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, The Junior Royal Northern College of Music, Yorkshire Young Musicians, The Lowry Dance CAT, Chetham’s School of Music and Northern Ballet Theatre Academy it will be an evening not to be missed.

The performance will start at 19.30 and tickets are now on sale and can be bought from the Riley Theatre box office: 0113 219 3018
The tickets will cost £6.50 or £4.50 concession.

Northern Ballet Theatre Academy’s piece has been choreographed by ex-company Dancer, Omar Gordon. He has been busy rehearsing the students in between trips to Paris and Belfast and we are really excited about it being premiered on Saturday night. Here are some photos of rehearsals to give you a quick glimpse of the choreography…

Photo by: Gavin Joynt

Photo by: Gavin Joynt

Photo by: Gavin Joynt

Photo by: Gavin Joynt

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Northern Ballet Theater Academy Stars Shine

February 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , )

We have spent another weekend glued to our televisions as things became more and more tense in BBC1’s ‘So You Think you Can Dance’ and Sky 1’s ‘Got to Dance’.

Academy student Matthew Koon took part in the semi final of ‘Got to Dance’ on Sunday night and secured his place in the final. Once again he received a standing ovation from all three judges and his performance brought judge Kimberley Wyatt to tears.

Watch his amazing performance.

Ex Associate Robbie White is now in the top six of ‘So You think You Can Dance’ . We are getting closer and closer to the final so every vote helps. Make sure you tune in this Saturday.

Watch Robbie’s performance

We are so proud of both students, two fantastic dancers who deserve this chance to show everyone what they can do. Please keep supporting them and thanks to everyone who has voted so far.

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February & March at the Academy

January 26, 2010 at 9:31 am (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , , )

The Professional Division students will be busy during their February half-term break with an intensive course including a daily classical technique class, contemporary class and the start of rehearsals for the End of Year show. The intensive courses are really beneficial for the students to help them improve their technique and strength through daily, consistent work.

Shortly after the February half-term Academy students will be visiting Leeds Grand Theatre to see Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet. The students all love going to the theatre and it is always exciting to see their reactions to the performance highlight their passion for dance. Look out for us at the Grand on Saturday 27th February!

During March and April 2010 the Music and Dance Scheme (the parent group for the Centres for Advanced Training which the Academy’s Professional Division programme runs under) are holding events up and down the country to celebrate the wealth of talent that the scheme supports at its family of specialist music and dance schools and Centres for Advanced Training (CATs). The regional event for the North is taking place on 6th March 2010 and will include performances of the CATs from Northern Ballet Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, The Lowry, Yorkshire Young Musicians, the junior department at the Royal Northern College of Music, and from the MDS schools at Chetham’s School of Music and The Hammond School.

Northern Ballet Theatre’s CAT Professional Division students Megan Hughes, Paul Smith, Andrew Tomlinson, Sally Hind and Charlotte Tonkinson have been chosen to work with ex-NBT dancer Omar Gordon (who played the part of Young Scrooge in the NBT Alumni performance of A Christmas Carol) to create a new piece for the event in March. This is a fantastic opportunity to join together to celebrate the scheme and display the exceptional talent of young dancers and musicians across the region, and the Academy is really excited to be a part of it.

When we are not in the office we will be avidly watching our television screens to follow the progress of our Associate students on two of the dance competitions mesmerising the nation. You may already read about Robbie White, an ex-Associate taking part in the BBC1 programme ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and about Matthew Koon, a current Senior Associate who is through to the live finals in Sky 1s ‘Got To Dance’ programme. We’ll be sat on the edge of our sofas watching with our fingers crossed for the boys and the News Blog will keep you updated with their progress.

Don’t forget to vote!

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Academy Open Days and School Workshops

January 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre Academy Open Days

The Spring Term is always a busy one for the Academy as this is the time of year when we begin our Open Days and school outreach programmes to help us find the next intake of talented young dancers for our Academy training programmes.

The Open Days take place on Sundays across Yorkshire in Sheffield, Huddersfield, York and Leeds. This allows us to do ballet and creative workshops with youngsters from across the entire region who already have some experience in dance. The Open Days act as informal information giving sessions for students and parents who are interested in training at the Academy. At each venue Northern Ballet Theatre run a morning session for 10 to 12 year olds and Northern School of Contemporary Dance run an afternoon session for 13 to 17 year olds with a contemporary focus.

The school workshops the Academy delivers as part of our school outreach programme happen across Leeds through January and February. Cara O’Shea (Academy ballet tutor) will be going into seven different schools and doing workshops with Year 5 and 6 pupils to introduce them to ballet and creative movement. School workshops are a brilliant way for us to identify students who have raw dance potential and encourage them to learn more about the opportunities that the Academy can offer. It is also an excellent opportunity for us to meet school pupils and teachers from the area and introduce them to Northern Ballet Theatre and the Academy.

The Open Days and school workshops lead up to our annual audition process, which this year will be in March. We audition every student who applies for our Associate and Professional Divisions, and also hold auditions for the International Summer School. This is an incredibly busy process and the applications are already arriving so we’re looking forward to meeting everyone at the auditions and welcoming all the potential students.

Useful Links:

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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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Got To Dance!

January 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm (Academy, Artist's News, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , )

Television seems to be going dance crazy this year. As well as the BBC programme So You Think You Can Dance featuring former NBT associate Robbie White, Sky 1 has also launched its own dance talent show.

Got to Dance premiered on Sky 1 on Sunday night and the star of the show was current Northern Ballet Theatre Senior Associate Matthew Koon.

Presented by Divina McCall  Got To Dance looks to discover the country’s most talented dance floor divas. The auditionees are put through their paces by an outspoken panel of judges: West End star and movie actor Adam Garcia, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and Ashley Banjo, lead dancer and choreographer of street dance crew Diversity.

Matthew definitely caught their eye on Sunday night and received a standing ovation for his solo. Adam Garcia told the audience that they had just seen “a world class dancer” and Ashley Banjo added that “The bar has been set… by a 15 year old”.

Matthew has been training on the associate programme for 2 years. He lives in Manchester and comes to NBT for classes in ballet and contemporary every Saturday.

The finalists for the programme have not yet been decided but we have all our fingers and toes crossed for Matthew. He is a huge talent and definitely one to watch. Get ready to vote!!

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So You Think You Can Dance?

January 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm (Artist's News, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , )

So you think you can dance!

Congratulations to Robbie White, ex-NBT Associate, who has secured a place as one of the final 14 contestants on BBC’s new dance competition So You Think You Can Dance.

In the search for Britain’s favourite dancer, judges Arlene Philips and Nigel Lythgoe will assess the contestants’ ability to master different dance styles including hip hop, jazz, Broadway, lyrical and contemporary with new routines taught by different choreographers and mentors.

Viewers have the ultimate power to vote and keep their favourite dancer in the running at the end of each live show. The first live show takes place on Saturday 9 January 2010.

Robbie, who is 22 and from Manchester, trained as an NBT Associate during which time he was chosen to perform the role of the Young Heathcliff in David Nixon’s ballet Wuthering Heights with the Company.

Read more about Robbie and So You Think You Can Dance on the show’s website or on his Facebook page.

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Free Dance Inset Training Day

November 4, 2009 at 11:29 am (Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , , )

Yorkshire Young Dancers Centre For Advanced Training

Yorkshire Young Dancers Centre For Advanced Training

The Yorkshire Young Dancers (YYD) Centre for Advanced Training scheme, are inviting both primary and secondary school teachers to attend a free and motivating teacher training day hosted by Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) and Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD).

The day will be aimed at both primary and secondary level teachers, who are leading or aiming to run dance sessions within their school. The programme will:

  • Introduce teachers to the Yorkshire Young Dancer Scheme and how their students can become involved.
  • Offer advice on how to spot and nurture ‘Gifted and Talented’ students within your school / class.
  • Concentrate on creative ideas suitable to Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 National Curriculum.

Teachers of Key Stage 2 will work primarily with Northern Ballet Theatre and teachers of Key Stage 3 & 4 will work mainly with Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Participants will experience a practical dance session, from their student’s point of view, this will aid in the development of creative lesson planning which can be tailored to suit individual groups. We will also be looking at safe and effective warm up exercise and techniques.

Date: 20th November 2009
Time: 09.00-16.00
Where: Northern Ballet Theatre Studios, West Park Centre, Spen Lane, Leeds, LS16 5BE

To book a place on the day, contact Becki at Northern Ballet Theatre on 0113 274 5355 or

We hope you will be able to join us.

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Academy Intensive Weekend…

October 28, 2009 at 10:07 am (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy)

Professional Division Students (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Professional Division Students (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

The start of the half-term break found the Professional Division students spending their weekend at Northern Ballet Theatre Academy for an intensive course which saw them doing things a little out of the ordinary. . .

Whilst the younger students began a normal ballet class with Cara, the older students had a yoga class with Nichi Green (from the Yogaspace) which made them all very relaxed and perhaps even a little bit sleepy! As they went into their ballet class to be woken up by Yoko, the younger students met Bgirl Firefly who gave them a class in hip-hop and street dance. The students were ‘top-rocking’ and ‘threading’ in no time and enjoyed learning the new moves. After the lunch-break, Firefly worked with the older levels teaching them some basic street dance moves and then giving some slightly more difficult combinations to work on. Meanwhile the younger students were practicing their preparations for Halloween with a make-up workshop taken by make-up artist Ame Boyd. I walked into the classroom to be met by students with broken noses, deep scratches, scars and bullet wounds and as I’m very squeamish I had to keep reminding myself that these were fake wounds and not actually as real as they looked! I left the room with a deep, bleeding scratch on my hand (fake, thankfully!) and gathered all the students to watch Firefly show off some of her moves. The students all sat open-mouthed at Firefly’s incredible performance and there was lots of cheering and clapping as everyone thanked both Firefly and Ame for a brilliant day.

Fun Hallowe'en Make-up (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Fun Hallowe'en Make-up (Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick)

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

As the students left at the end of their first day, there were many reminders to ensure they arrived at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford by 7.00pm as we had arranged for all the students to watch NBT perform Wuthering Heights. The production was amazing with fantastic music, a brilliant representation of the story and outstanding performances by all involved. At the end of the performance, the students gave a standing ovation during the curtain call with a lot of cheering, showing how much they had enjoyed the production.

On Sunday morning, the older students had ballet class with Cara first thing and the younger students did a workshop with Catherine and Steph from the communications department. The students talked about advertising and discussed TV adverts and posters, giving ideas about what they liked and didn’t like before they were set a task to design a poster for either A Christmas Carol or Peter Pan. There were many good designs and a selected few are shown below (and some are on display outside our office at West Park). As the younger students finished off their artwork and headed to the studio for their ballet class, the older students moved from ballet class to street dance, this time with Hannah Thompson. Hannah taught the older students some more street dance moves, including locking, popping and waving and put together a short routine from each component. After hard work from both groups in their respective classes, all students had a lunch break before the older students finished their weekend off with a further yoga class and the younger students got their chance to learn some more funky moves with Hannah.

A Christmas Carol & Peter Pan Posters

A Christmas Carol & Peter Pan Posters

The students left to waiting parents who were dutifully shown some of the street dance moves before heading home to look forward to a well-deserved week off. After a weekend of doing something different, the students seemed tired but happy with the whole weekend so it was a successful end to the first half of the autumn term.

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Ballet on Briggate

September 7, 2009 at 11:08 am (Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , )

Jo Dean of Northern Ballet Theatre tells us all about the great day in the heart of Leeds…

Saturday morning at 8.30am it was pretty cold on Briggate as Litestructures pulled their vans up in front of Debenhams and started unloading the stage for our Ballet on Briggate event. We had a couple of hours in which to get the stage and banner, generator and sound system setup and to blow up hundreds of balloons so it was all hands to the deck.

Preparing for the afternoon's performances and setting the stage.

Preparing for the afternoon's performances and setting the stage.

Admin staff from all departments, Friends of NBT and parents of the Academy students all helped to give out leaflets throughout the event, to hand out cake and to talk to the public about NBT. There was a real interest from the public about what we were doing and why we were performing in the centre of Leeds.

Lots of information about Northern Ballet Theatre & Phoenix Dance as well as that essential ingredient, cake!

Lots of information about Northern Ballet Theatre & Phoenix Dance as well as that essential ingredient, cake!

Acting as runner for the event, my job was to make sure that the performers were ready to go on stage and that we kept on track with the schedule. I think this was probably the best job to have as all the running around to check on everyone kept me warm in the chilly breeze! The poor performers threw on all their warm clothes and coats the second they got off the stage. The Phoenix dancers in particular, with their bare feet, looked very cold.

The audience however, seemed oblivious to the cold as some of them stood for the whole two hours watching the performances, eating cake and having a go at some moves on our ballet barre. I think some people were surprised to happen upon a ballet performance in the middle of Briggate while they were doing their shopping, but they were soon moving closer to the stage to get a better view.

The whole event went very quickly and it was all too soon that we were packing up boxes of leaflets and taking down the banners. After all the fresh air and running around, I was exhausted but had really enjoyed meeting the public and talking to them about all the opportunities NBT could offer them.

Professional dancers and Academy students put on a great show for an enthralled crowd.

Professional dancers and Academy students put on a great show for an enthralled crowd.

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NBT Students Receive Places At Top Ballet Schools

July 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm (Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy)

Three of NBT’s Professional Division students have seen their dreams come true this summer as they were offered places at two of the countries leading ballet schools to pursue careers in dance. Matthew Topliss and Sophie Hall, both aged 16 from Bradford, will make the move to Glasgow come September to begin an exciting new chapter as students at the Scottish Academy, studying on the BA in Modern Ballet in partnership with Scottish Ballet. Matthew Valentine will leave his home town of Leeds and move to London as he takes his place at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

NBT Ballet Mistress and Curriculum Manager Yoko Ichino is delighted to see the students going on to pursue their dreams

“We’re sad to see our students leave but thrilled all their hard work has paid off. We’ve given them a fantastic start and I’m sure the training they’ve received here at NBT will have prepared them both mentally and physically for the challenges of full time training.We wish them the best of luck!”

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NBT Academy Students are Pride of Yorkshire

July 2, 2009 at 1:04 pm (Classical Training, General Information, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy)

(L to R) Nicole Matthews (10), Connor Taylor (12), Matthew Topliss (16), Amy Fleming (14), Joseph Poulton (17) & Dale Rhodes (17)
(L to R) Nicole Matthews (10), Connor Taylor (12), Matthew Topliss (16), Amy Fleming (14), Joseph Poulton (17) & Dale Rhodes (17)

Six students from the Northern Ballet Theatre Academy (NBT Academy) were lucky enough to attend the Lord Lieutenants Yorkshire Young Achievers Garden Party at Bowcliffe Hall in Bramham on Sunday 21st June. They had all been nominated for an award either by their schools or by NBT. They had a fantastic day speaking to all the other young people and the specially invited guests. Matthew Topliss was thrilled to receive a special award on the day for Outstanding Achievement.

Dale Rhodes (English National Ballet School) and Joseph Poulton (Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance), who graduated from the NBT Academy last Summer, returned to Leeds for the celebrations. It was fantastic to see them both and hear about the great time they are both having at vocational school.

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Wuthering Heights Events at Belfast

May 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm (Events, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , )

If you already have a ticket to see Wuthering Heights at Belfast Grand Opera House, why not try one of our Get Closer events to give you an extra insight into the production and Company:

Open Workshop – Ages 13+

A chance to dance some steps from the production and create your own movement. No experience is required
Wed 3 June 5.30 – 7pm. Cost £12 includes ticket to the perf.

Over 55s Workshop

A creative movement workshop that is fully accessible to all, followed by a talk about the production and the Company and the chance to watch the dancers’ daily class on stage.
Thu 4 June, 9.30am – 12.15pm. Cost £28 includes lunch and a ticket to matinee

Ballet Explored – 40 years uncovered

Celebrating their 40th Anniversary, this event includes a talk about the history of NBT and how the Company has grown over the years. You will also watch the Company dancers doing their daily class on stage; a great opportunity to learn about the level of training and preparation involved in being a professional dancer.
Thu 4 June, 10.45am – 12.15pm. Cost £3.50

Pre-performance Talk

Find out more about Wuthering Heights and the Company from NBT staff.
Fri 5 June 6.30 – 7pm. Free

Touch Tour and Workshop for the visually impaired

A chance to walk on stage and get close to the set and the costumes. Then learn movement from the production with the help of some NBT dancers. The workshop is accompanied by live music and is free of charge to visually impaired people and their companion.
Sat 6 June, 10.30am – 1pm. Free

Audio Described Performance

Hear the action on stage described live through headphones.
Sat 6 June, 2.30pm

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Classical Training’s Residential At White Lodge

April 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm (Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, )

White Lodge Residential Course

Tuesday 14th – Friday 17th April

Sophie Hall, Matthew Topliss and Megan Hughes on the steps of White Lodge

(Left to right) Sophie Hall, Matthew Valentine and Megan Hughes

Megan Hughes, Sophie Hall, Matt Topliss and Matthew Valentine recently attended a residential course for Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) students. Here is their account of the week . . .

Over the Easter holiday four Level 5 students from the Classical Training Professional Division attended a residential course at White Lodge. The residential was offered to students training at the Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) across the country. The course was designed to allow students to experience life at a vocational school whilst also giving us the opportunity to be taught be different teachers and to meet students training on similar courses at different places.

Megan Hughes and Matt Topliss taking part in a ballet class with other CAT students

Megan Hughes and Matt Topliss taking part in a ballet class with other CAT students

The course lasted four days and during this time we had lessons in Hip Hop, Ballet, Repertoire and Creative work. At the end of the course a presentation was put on for parents and teachers to demonstrate some of the skills we had been working on.

The ballet teacher who taught the NBT students was Antonio Castilla. He was a very inspirational tutor and also gave us great advice. We were taught some rep from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Jessica Clarke. This was very enjoyable and it was valuable to hear her advice as she has recently performed in this production herself.

Sophie Hall and Matthew Valentine in ballet class

Sophie Hall and Matthew Valentine in ballet class

It was good to meet other CAT students and find out about their training. As three out of the four NBT students will be moving away to vocational schools in September, it gave us a fantastic insight into what we might soon be experiencing.

Overall it was a really good experience and we have come away having gained some brilliant advice and some new friends. Hearing corrections from other teachers always helps to further instil them and we feel that we have really come away as better dancers.

(Left to right) Matthew Topliss, Matthew Valentine, Sophie Hall & Megan Hughes

(Left to right) Matthew Topliss, Matthew Valentine, Sophie Hall & Megan Hughes

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NBT Kicks Off Sheffield Tour at Meadowhall

March 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm (Classical Training, Events, General Information, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , )

Classical Training

Photo: Darren Goldsmith

Northern Ballet Theatre will be twirling into Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield on Saturday 21 March for a fun filled event to launch the Company’s Sheffield tour, which runs at the Lyceum Theatre from 24 – 28 March.

Why not come down to Meadowhall on Saturday and watch some of NBT’s most promising students giving several short performances throughout the day and you can even join in yourself with energiser sessions to help you kick start your weekend. The event will be held from 11am – 2pm on Park Lane so there is plenty of opportunity to come along, take part and have some fun.

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New Open Classes

August 13, 2008 at 3:41 pm (Classical Training, General Information, Marketing and PR News, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , , , , )

Open Classes

At Northern Ballet Theatre, all instruction is based on healthy physical principles. Our Open Classes allow students to train with leading professionals in a relaxed and friendly environment. Ballet is a great way to keep fit regardless of age. It improves alignment and helps posture.

Weekly classes as follows:

NEW for 2008 – Intro to Ballet
Thursday 17:30-18:30
Introductory classes for children aged 8-10

NEW for 2008 – Adult Beginners Ballet
Thursday 18:45-20:00
No experience required. 18+

Intermediate Ballet
Monday 19:00-20:30
Intermediate Foundation Standard and Above

Men’s Class
Wednesday 17:30-19:15
Intermediate Foundation Standard and Above

All classes are held at Northern Ballet Theatre’s Studios
at the West Park Centre on Spen Lane in Leeds.

For more information on these classes visit our website
or contact the Classical Training Dept.

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NBT students are excellent!

August 5, 2008 at 11:14 am (Classical Training, Events, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , , )

Photograph by Simon Richardson

Seven of NBT’s students performed at excellent! at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London on Tuesday 15 July. excellent! was a celebration of the achievements of this country’s most talented young dancers and musicians. NBT’s students performed a piece by choreographer Sharon Watson, alongside seven students from the Northern School for Contemporary Dance (NSCD), to music composed by the Yorkshire Young Musicians (YYM).

The students spent three days in London and stayed at The Tring Arts Educational School. On the day before the performance the students rehearsed with the NSCD students and YYM at Sadler’s Wells to make sure they were ready for their big performance the following day. The excellent! performance was a fantastic success and the students met other young and talented dancers and musicians from across the country. All the students did the Company proud, well done everyone!

Joshua Ockerby who is in the third year of NBT’s Professional Training Division said, “It was amazing to perform on stage at one of the most famous dance venues in the world, I enjoyed every minute of it and hope I get to do it again soon! “

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Yorkshire Young Dancers and Musicians are excellent!

May 1, 2008 at 1:03 pm (Classical Training, Events, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , )

Excellent logo

Seven students from NBT’s pre-vocational training programme are taking part in a special performance at Sadler’s Wells in London on 15 July. Top choreographer Sharon Watson is creating a new dance piece for the group and fellow Yorkshire Young Dancers from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. The group will also collaborate with eight students from Yorkshire Young Musicians who are creating a new composition for the performance with Andrew Stamatakis-Brown.

YYD Students

The performance is a celebration of the achievements of this country’s most talented young dancers and musicians supported by the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ Music and Dance Scheme.

Rehearsals are well underway and the group will give a special preview performance at the Riley Theatre in Leeds on 27 June. Read the full media release here.

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