China Report: First Performance in Hangzhou

December 16, 2007 at 5:09 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Keiko as Butterfly - Photo: Neil G Jarman

The Technicians had a tough day today but performed magnificently. In the UK, we would normally have 12 hours on the first day of the fit up and 4 hours the second day before class and Technical Rehearsal. In Hangzhou, they only had 6½ hours on the first day and 6 today but managed to pull things together to start the Technical rehearsal at 3pm and actually get through the whole ballet by 5.30pm. This was even though the local crew did not arrive at theatre until 12pm despite being called for 9am!

The Company arrived at the theatre for 12pm for class at 12.30pm but before that we had the entertaining job of getting the ballet barres up 12 flights of stairs to the studio. Mission accomplished of course and class started on time.
Tonight was Kenneth Tindall’s premiere in the role of Pinkerton dancing with Keiko Amemori as Butterfly and they gave a great performance in front of a large audience. The performance was well received by the audience and received good applause.

A Promoter from Jianxing came to see the performance tonight and enjoyed the performance but felt that it was probably too short notice to stage a performance in 9 days time and expect to get a reasonable audience. I am hoping that we will get to spend an extra day (Boxing Day) in Beijing before moving on to the next scheduled venue of Nanjing but watch this space!!

Georgina prepares David Ward's hair


Waiting in the wings

Darren and Keiko

Keiko as Butterfly - Photo: Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Wuxi to Hangzhou

December 15, 2007 at 3:18 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Waiting for ever - Photo: Neil G Jarman

Our fate was taken out of our hands today on the coach journey from Wuxi to Hangzhou. A journey that was scheduled to take 2 ½ hours became close to 6 hours! As soon as we left Wuxi, it became extremely foggy and the roads were incredibly bumpy and the driver seemed to have a death wish. We were on two coaches and there seemed to be an ongoing competition to see which could undertake the other in the most hazardous conditions. It was probably the worst and most scary driving we have ever experienced. Ultimately, it was miraculous that we made it without collision although we did see that aftermath of one or two mishaps on route.

The effects of the fog were brought to bear even more spectacularly when the highway was closed at the toll booth between Jiangsu Province (where Wuxi is situated) and Zhejiang Province (where Hangzhou is situated) due to the weather and we remained stationary for more than an hour. The lack of toilet facilities soon became an issue as we waited with no indication of how long we might be stuck -“sometimes it can be 10 minutes and sometimes 3 hours”

Eventually we did make it to the familiar territory of the New Century Hotel and the Company soon forgot the tedium of the journey and were out re-visiting the places they discovered in January 2006 – and particularly Starbucks.

Not such a good situation for the Technicians who were 2 hours late starting the fit up at the Grand Theatre. The schedule was already tight and this delay did not help. The situation was then further aggravated by the theatre staff deciding that we had to finish at 10pm. The Technicians returned to the hotel in a positive frame of mind and happy that they would be ready for tomorrow’s Technical Rehearsal.

The final piece of news from today is that the Promoter may have found another City for us to perform in on 27 December instead of Hefei. No further information yet but it is incredible that a performance can be agreed 10 days before the date and still get an audience (or not.)

Police blockade the road ahead

There’s always time for a company photo - Photo: Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Video from Wuxi 2 (Class)

December 13, 2007 at 4:50 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

NBT Dancers in Class today, Wuxi, China Tour:

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China Report: Another day in Wuxi

December 13, 2007 at 11:05 am (Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

NBT at Wuxi Hospital - Photo: Neil G Jarman

Well, it’s been a slightly bizarre day. We went to a local dance school to use a studio for class but they don’t tape the lino down here, which would have made it dangerous to dance on. Fortunately, we had tape so that was quickly resolved and we were joined by a group of budding young ballerinas keen to watch us and have photographs taken. After class 12 of us went to a hospital, which is sponsoring our performance in Wuxi. It seemed to be some sort of PR stunt with TV cameras and photographers and we were taken on a guided tour and all led into a room with an injured solider lying in bed with his family which was a little strange but he seemed to appreciate the visit! We were then taken to the Board Room and sat round the table and given fruit and water and then posed for photographs with the Director of the hospital. We were all given ceramic figures as gifts – Wuxi is renowned for these figures – and at least the dancers got to ride in the stretch limos. All seems to be progressing OK at the theatre but a cinema screen flying in an unhelpful position on stage means that the set will have to be quite far upstage. Wardrobe are having problems with the power tripping out when they plug in the steamer to prepare the costumes but this is all in a days work in China.

Mark Skipper

Chief Executive, NBT

Young Observers. Photo Neil G Jarman

Checking Wardrobe

First Class in China

Wuxi Hospital

Back in the Limo

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China Report: Video from Wuxi

December 13, 2007 at 10:22 am (Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

The Dancers arrive in Wuxi:

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China Tour Begins – 11th December 2007

December 12, 2007 at 4:01 pm (Artist's News, Company News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Yesterday the China Tour began at Manchester Airport…

Principal Artist Chiaki Nagao at Manchester Airport – Photo: Ian Howarth

The Company at Manchester Airport – Photo: Ian Howarth

From left to right: Principal Artists Chiaki Nagao and Keiko Anemori, Dancers Kenneth Tindall and Hannah Bateman and Principal Artist Hironao Takahashi wait for a flight – Photo: Ian Howarth. 

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First Letter from China

December 12, 2007 at 2:17 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre has just started a four-week tour to China performing Madame Butterfly in 7 cities.Two busloads of dancers, Stage Management, a Physiotherapist and a Pianist arrived at the Haiyue Star Hotel in Wuxi after a journey lasting more than 24 hours. From West Park, Leeds by coach to Manchester Airport, flight to Paris, 4 hour wait, 11 hour flight to Shanghai and then a 4 hour bus journey to Wuxi. All arrived looking a little the worse for wear but with only one missing bag belonging to Mikhaila Pye, Wardrobe Assistant.

I made the similar journey yesterday with the Technical Department although the journey from Shanghai to Wuxi only took 2½ hours! After checking into the hotel, we took a visit to the Wuxi People’s Great Auditorium to work out the logistics for the fit up on Thursday. We were slightly concerned to be told that 13 of us were going in 2 cars – it was true but not the sort of cars we were expecting (see photo)!

Andy Waddington, Technical Director has gone off on day trip to Nanjing and Yangzhou to check out theatres in those cities which we will play later in the tour.

The Haiyue Star is a nice enough hotel but the restaurant menu entirely in Chinese is more than a little challenging! What we can see of the City of Wuxi is a little gray and uninspiring. Tomorrow the dancers have an optional class followed by a visit to a local hospital, which is apparently sponsoring our performance in Wuxi.

Mark Skipper
Chief Executive NBT 

Tour Schedule
14 December People’s Great Auditorium, WUXI
16 December Grand Theatre, HANGZHOU
17 December Grand Theatre, HANGZHOU
21 December Poly Theatre, BEIJING
22 December Poly Theatre, BEIJING
23 December Poly Theatre, BEIJING
27 December Grand Theatre, HEFEI (May be cancelled)
29 December Zijin Theatre, NANJING
31 December Grand Theatre, YANGZHOU
3 January Grand Theatre, SHANGHAI
4 January Grand Theatre, SHANGHAI

Crew Car Wuxi - Photo by Neil Jarman

Peoples Great Auditorium Wuxi

Haiyue Hotel Wuxi

View over Wuxi - Photo: Neil Jarman

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