We’re Going on a Bear Hunt…

June 11, 2010 at 11:03 am (Learning & Access) (, , , , , , , )

Children playing happily waving a large light-weight sheet.

Photo: Brian Slater

Over the last couple of weeks Sophie Alder (Dance Education Officer) has been visiting Shepherds Lane Children’s Centre in Leeds working with the pupils to explore the tale of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ through music and dance.

Watched by Sophie Adler Children hunt for the 'bear' in the school's garden.

Photo: Brian Slater

To track down the elusive bear the children used play-dough to represent mud, strips of ribbon for a snow-storm, plenty of water to splash about in and they ventured outside in the final week to roam amongst the trees and bushes. Following the story with Sophie the little ones were able to enhance their coordination skills, sense of rhythm, and aptitude for movement whilst also developing their imaginations.

Developing your co-ordination skills can be fun and achieved through play - running and jumping for starters.

Photo: Brian Slater

In Northern Ballet Theatre’s new building, due to open in January 2011, the Learning & Access team are hoping to work more with under 5s in weekly classes and occasional workshops. If you are interested in NBT’s work with children’s centres in Leeds or getting involved in similar projects, please contact Philippa Plumtree-Varley (Learning & Access Coordinator) on 0113 274 5355.

Sophie and children reaching, stretching and playing together.

Photo: Brian Slater


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Events at the Theatre: Mature Movers

March 11, 2010 at 11:02 am (Events, Learning & Access) (, , , )

Last Thursday I went down to Leeds Grand Theatre to find out what happens at the Mature Movers and Ballet Explored events. There will be more on the Ballet Explored in a later video but in this you can see how fantastic the Mature Movers events are.

Dance Education Officer, Sophie Alder, led the event warming up the participants before moving on to teaching everyone a segment of The Knight’s Dance from our production of Romeo & Juliet. People were laughing as they strode across Leeds Grand’s raked stage with their Knight’s staffs, dancing in unison with Prokofiev’s famous score played live for the workshop.

Once the moves were perfected people improvised a final section to the dance showing off their new-found skills.

The morning was completed with warm-down exercises and a cup of tea in the theatre’s bar where friendships were forged and people talked about how much fun it was.

We have similar events at many venues on our tour, for more information check our Talks & Events page…

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Boys Wanted!

March 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm (Easter course) (, , , )

Photo: Brian Slater

Photo: Brian Slater

In the Learning & Access department we are currently busy putting together all the arrangements for our forthcoming Easter Course – answering phone enquiries, sending out information, and processing incoming applications… Whilst drinking plenty of cups of tea and eating some yummy biscuits!  A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make the Easter Course happen, not only involving the stuff Caroline is currently doing on the ‘artistic’ side but purely in administrating the course.  Everyone has to be in the right place, at the right times, and with the right music, equipment and space to work in otherwise the course just simply couldn’t go ahead!

Having been on a number of Easter Courses at Northern Ballet Theatre when I was younger, I am finding it interesting as the new Learning & Access Coordinator to see all the activity that goes on to make such a course happen.  It makes me wish I wasn’t too old to take part!

Photo: Brian Slater

Photo: Brian Slater

We have had a number of applications so far for this year’s course – from young people spread right across the 11 to 16 years age range, as well as those with a great variety of dance experience.  Some have simply done dance classes at school, whilst others attend training on a weekly basis, but all you really need to take part is enthusiasm and a willingness to move about and be creative!

There is one snag with the applications we have received so far though… There is a definite lack of boys!  I imagine men in tights and girls in tutus may be the first thing many people think of when they hear the word ‘ballet’, but this is certainly not the case with the Easter Course!  Not only will one of the company’s leading male dancers be helping to deliver the course, but it will also be a great way to make new friends, unleash your creative side, try out different styles of movement, and get active.  Dance is far from ‘girlie’ – did you know that many rugby and football teams take their warm-up techniques from ballet and admire the great strength dancers have to carry out their daily work?  So lads, why not come and try creative dance out for yourself!

Philippa Plumtree-Varley
Learning and Access Co-ordinator

Photo: Brian Slater

Photo: Brian Slater

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Wuthering Heights Resource Pack

June 1, 2009 at 11:36 am (Learning & Access) (, , , , , , , , , )

A resource pack for teachers on Wuthering Heights has been produced and is available for download from the Learning & Access pages.

Click to download the PDF file directly. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

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Looking back at Beijing

October 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm (Learning & Access) (, , , , , , , , , )

The Learning & Access Team have now returned from Beijing and are settling back into the Autumn Tour.  Jo Dean sums up their involvement in the project that was part of the Young Advocates Progamme – Developing the Paralympic Spirit.


The week in Beijing went very well, with our workshops and performance a great success.  The group worked so well together and you could see the confidence of the participants grow over the course of the week.  Their ability to communicate, despite the language barrier was brilliant, using their movement to show each other what they meant.  The group performed really well in the showcase at the end of the week, given the very limited amount of time we had to bring the piece together and rehearse, and the participants seemed to get a real buzz from performing in front of the other Young Advocates.




We all had a wonderful time in Beijing, with so many fantastic opportunities and experiences, from attending the opening of the Paralympic Games at the birds Nest Stadium, to meeting Prince Edward at the Ambassadors reception.  But I think the bit we enjoyed most was getting to know and work with a group of really inspirational young people who were keen to learn and develop their skills, and who created a positive, welcoming and exciting atmosphere throughout the week that shows what a benefit the Young Advocates will be to developing the Paralympic Spirit in their communities.

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Learning & Access in Bejing

September 8, 2008 at 11:56 am (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , )

Following the success of their visit in December, the Learning & Access department have returned to Beijing as part of the British Council’s Young Advocates Programme – developing the Paralympic Spirit.  Organised by the British Council and the China Disabled Person’s Federation, the week long forum involves 240 disabled and able-bodied young people, aged 18 – 25 from China, Great Britain and across the globe taking part in activities to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­empower them to be leaders in their communities and develop the Paralympic Spirit.

Dance Education Officers Sophie Alder and Caroline Burn, along with musician Bill Laurance will be leading dance workshops with a group of 30 young people with a range of experience and abilities, with the aim of increasing their confidence, communication and leadership skills, and creating a dance piece to be performed in a showcase at the end of the forum.

Learning & Access Co-ordinator, Jo Dean, will be sending us updates throughout the week.

Arriving in Beijing on Saturday after a long flight, we just had time to drop off our bags before we were ushered straight into the main hall to meet the young people and listen to their aims for the forum.  The afternoon was spent familiarising ourselves with the space we will be working in, which is an amazing hall, complete with a grand piano and selection of instrumentsfor Bill!

After an early dinner, everyone on the project was taken to the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.  The stadium is an incredible structure and the atmosphere inside was fantastic, particularly when the Chinese athletes were introduced! The ceremony involved some spectacular dances with many thousands of dancers, as well as music, aerial acrobats and fireworks, and much flag waving by the crowd. The President of China having officially opened the Games and the flame having been lit, we were struggling with jet lag and were very happy to get into our beds.

Today (Sunday) was the first day of workshops, so we finally got to meet the group we will be working with.  After introductions and the warm up, the participants were straight into learning a short sequence which they then, working in small groups, adapted and developed into a short piece.  Numerous photographers and members of the press have been in and out of the workshop today, all eager to see what the group is doing and find out how the able-bodied and disabled people are able work together in dance.  At the end of the workshops today there will be a party for all the young advocates, so it will be a chance for us to find out what everyone else has been doing in their first day of workshops.





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A Tale of Two Cities – Teacher’s Resource Pack

September 4, 2008 at 1:50 pm (Learning & Access) (, , , , , , , )

Teacher's Resource Packs

There is a new Teacher’s Resource Pack in the Learning & Access section of our website.

Click here to find out more

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‘Breathing Space’ Project

July 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm (Friends News, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , )

NBT & Pyramid of Arts on \'Breathing Space\'

Learning & Access continue partnership with Pyramid of Arts


We have once more been working with Leeds based  organisation Pyramid of Arts on ‘Breathing Space’, a project that is exploring the benefits of dance and physical movement with a group of adults with profound and multiple disabilities. So far four sessions have been held and participants have really enjoyed working with NBT Dance Education Officer Caroline Burn. The project finishes on  21 July.

Julia Piggott, Creative Director at Pyramid of Arts said, “Working with movement and live music will give these adults a chance to be creative and increase their movement skills in a safe environment.  It also provides everyone, with and without a disability, an opportunity to communicate and socialise.”

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L&A May Update

May 9, 2008 at 9:21 am (Learning & Access) (, , , )

The ‘Dancition’ Festival which took place on the 16th April at Park Lane High School was a huge success and everyone involved in the project thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Representatives from the project sponsor HBOS watched as the 4 primary schools and 1 secondary school performed the dance pieces that they had devised over the Spring term, ranging from a sports inspired piece to an alien invasion! Following the success of the event, we are delighted that HBOS will be sponsoring another project in the area in the Autumn.

Read whole update

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