Bringing the House Down!

July 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , , , )

Bringing the house down at Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts!

As part of the Learning team’s involvement with the nationwide ‘Find Your Talent’ project, a small group of dancers were involved in the Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts last week. Dance artist, Zoe Parker, and three young participants formed the ‘Inspired Youth Dance Co.’ to perform a duet and group piece at the 104th festival, held at the King’s Hall in Ilkley.

The Learning team at Northern Ballet Theatre is currently working hard to investigate the provision in Leeds and the surrounding area for inclusive dance activities for young people. Whilst one-off projects are relatively common, opportunities for those who are perhaps in a wheelchair or have special educational needs to get involved in dance on a regular basis is more limited. Through contacts at ‘Find Your Talent’ and Artforms, as well as support from the Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts, the chance to bring together a small group to perform at the festival arose. The opportunity was one not to be missed! After just four rehearsal sessions, the participants performed in the Music for a Summer’s Day concert alongside pupils from Bruntcliffe School, North Ridge School, Brooklands School and the ‘Off by Heart’ choir. The two dance pieces – ‘La Valse du Roue’ and ‘Deux’ – received an overwhelming response, including much cheering and clapping from the audience!

The Learning team are now looking to build on the success of this project in the future. If you would be interested in taking part in similar inclusive dance opportunities, then please do get in touch.

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Easter Course Update…

February 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm (Easter course, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , )

Places on this years Easter Course are starting to fill up and I’ve just had an exciting trip down to London to meet up with composer Philip Feeney. We met at Ballet Central where Philip is resident pianist and composer. He is currently working on a full length ballet score for Michael Pink, Artistic Director of Milwaukee Ballet.

We discussed some words that would describe the feeling of the piece and Philip is now going to come up with some short snippets of music. One thing he is going to try is creating a track digitally that will not have one of the parts (instruments) on it. That part will then be played over the track adding a live element to the music but still having the excitement of lots of instruments.

He took me down to his office, where there was an assortment of equipment. On one side of Philip was an electric piano, on the other side computers that he uses to orchestrate the music he creates on the piano. For example he can play something on the piano then let us hear what it will sound like played on strings. It’s really useful software as it can give us an idea what the music will sound like with a number of different instruments playing.

This will be very good for us once Philip has written the music. He will record the music on the computer so that when we are rehearsing we can hear what it will sound like when musicians from NBT’s orchestra play the piece. (At the opening of our new building)

I am not going to give away too much, but I left feeling inspired and excited! I will however share with you that Philip is able to come up to Leeds and play for the course on the 6th and 9th April. This means that you will be able to hear the music played live by the composer and we will be able to make any changes we need as we create our piece.

Don’t forget to book your place as this Easter Course is going to be very special.

Caroline

Dance Education Officer

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Touch of Dance at St Peter’s Primary School

February 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm (General Information, Learning & Access, Podcasts) (, , , , , , )

St Peter's Primary School students participating

St Peter's Primary School Student dancing

Pupils from St Peter’s Primary School in Leeds are currently enjoying after-school ballet classes with Dance Education Officer, Sophie Alder. Touch of Dance is a 6 week project introducing pupils to ballet through fun and accessible classes which are accompanied by live music. Here you can listen to feedback from the Headteacher and some of the pupils who are taking part.

To learn more about Northern Ballet Theatre Learning & Access projects visit our website.

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Children’s thoughts on their first ballet

December 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm (Events, General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , )

As it draws near to Christmas you might think that things are quieting down here at Northern Ballet Theatre but it’s as busy as ever for the Learning and Access team as our START project gets into full swing.

Last Thursday we had 400 school children come to Leeds Grand Theatre to watch a performance of A Christmas Carol and I have to say, it took a lot of organizing but it was an amazing day and well worth all the effort! From the moment they arrived in the foyer, the children started getting excited as they recognized Caroline and Sophie who had already been into their schools to teach a workshop, and there was an excited buzz around the theatre as children bought sweets and drinks for the show.

As they settled into their seats for the performance, which for some was their first time to a theatre, there were many wide eyes as they admired the ornate Victorian auditorium. David Nixon welcomed them and then the children were engrossed throughout the performance. The cheering and clapping at the end was incredible – I could hear it from out in the foyer! It wasn’t only the children who enjoyed the show, the teachers I spoke to afterwards were in raptures about the performance and one even said it was better than Disney’s new blockbuster film!!

After we had got some of the pupils on to their buses and on their way home, some of the schools stayed behind to see a half hour demonstration by NBT’s technical team about how the production is put together. The stage manager described how she runs the show to make sure all the scenery comes in at the right point and the lights change on time, and the technicians gave away the secret of how the snow is made. The pupils came up with some great questions about how the trap door works, how long it takes to put the show together, and how they made the set, which gave them a new understanding of the creation of the magical show.

The will all be back in the theatre in February to see As Time Goes By and I hope they are as excited second time round because when the auditorium was full of eager children, the atmosphere was electric and the theatre really came to life.

START is supported by The Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts and is in partnership with Leeds Grand Theatre.

Video photos by Brian Slater

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