Northern Ballet Theatre & Phoenix Dance Theatre Summer School

July 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm (Learning & Access) (, , , )

It’s the start of the school holidays, but pupils at Cockburn College of Arts and the surrounding primary schools don’t get a rest as they are taking part in our summer school, in partnership with Phoenix Dance Theatre.

Leaping into action on Monday, the 34 young people aged 9 – 16 years old have been taking a daily class where they are improving their technique and, working with Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of Phoenix, they are developing movement that will form part of a final dance piece that they will perform to parents at the end of the week.

Today is the third day of the course, and with many of them not being used to dancing all day, there were a few sore bodies this morning that needed loosening off in an energetic class! The piece they are creating will also be performed at the launch of our new building in January, and so they have been creating sequences in pairs, inspired by Celebrations and First Meetings – drawing on how they feel when first meeting someone and welcoming them in.

They have all been very keen to learn and to have a go, even if what they are learning is more challenging than they are used to. And it is great to see them working together, helping each other and becoming a team. This will be a real benefit to the pupils from the primary schools that will be coming to Cockburn in September, as they will know familiar faces and will feel confident in their new school.

As choreographer of the final piece, Sharon has been taking the movements that the young people have come up with, and piecing them together into one piece that reflects the excitement of the opening of the new building and the opportunities this presents. This afternoon they have been developing travelling sequences, including supports and lifts, and working on the quality and precision of movement needed when performing.

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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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Don’t Just Sit There – Opening Weekend 2010

July 22, 2010 at 10:22 am (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , , )

iMove

To celebrate the Opening weekend of the 2012 London Olympics, imove’s Don’t Just Sit There project will be performing at Headingley Carnegie Cricket ground on Friday, 23rd July, 2010 (15:10 – 15:30 tea break) during the Australia vs Pakistan test match.

The performance consists of eleven Lishi practitioners of traditional Chinese movement dressed in full cricket attire positioned on the Headingley pitch as fielders surrounding two batsmen and a professional dancer from Phoenix Dance Theatre representing the ball!

The piece blurs the line between art, culture and sport, engaging the crowd’s imagination with the links between cricket, dance and traditional Chinese movement. As the Olympic torch is passed from Beijing to London, Yorkshire is getting involved and this thought provoking piece in the sporting heart of the county should inspire and excite.

The piece will be a springboard for further development with schools, youth cricket teams and dance groups across Yorkshire as part of the Don’t Just Sit There 3 year project.

Phoenix Dance Theatre

Phoenix Dance Theatre is a repertory dance company with a reputation for presenting a broad range of work. Over the last 29 years, from small beginnings in inner-city Leeds, the company has grown to be one of Britain’s leading contemporary dance companies and from its home in Leeds tours nationally and internationally, bringing inspiring and entertaining dance to the widest possible audience.

Lishi

Lishi has been delivering traditional Chinese movement and dance in the UK since 1930. Originating in China, Lishi has developed highly creative approaches to delivering traditional Chinese knowledge and movement so that anyone, from elite sports people to primary school children, can benefit. From the UK, Lishi has spread its success to many countries in Europe and the US.

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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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Leeds in Barcelona

March 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm (Events, General Information) (, , , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT), along with Opera North and Phoenix Dance Theatre are leading Live in Leeds – a cultural showcase as part of Leeds in Barcelona.

NBT’s Technical Director, Andy Waddington, has been leading on the organisation of Live in Leeds. His work began back in September 2009, when he battled uncharacteristic cold weather conditions to find a location for the event. Here he tells us a bit more:

NBT, Opera North & Phoenix Dance Theatre will be providing the entertainment for the Leeds in Barcelona delegation and VIPs.

This gives three artistic companies the opportunity to showcase their talents on an international stage.

We’re supplying the technical support and theming for the evening’s entertainment and dinner. It’s being held at the five-star Melina Barcelona Hotel where the business and artistic delegations are staying.

As we aren’t performing in a theatre it has been something of a logistical challenge. We’ve created a central stage which is surrounded by the delegation’s tables – effectively ‘Dancing & Opera in the Round.’

NBT are performing sections from ‘As Time Goes By’, the choreography has been tweaked by David Nixon to suit the different type of stage and ballet master, Daniel de Andrade, is carrying out the staging on location.

As the Company are currently performing Peter Pan in Woking technical is being provided by Events & Technology Ltd, Barcelona. Our contact, Nacho Murillo, has been invaluable helping with the infrastructure for the evening.

All is going to plan for the night – the truck containing costumes, leaflets and ballet barres left West Park on Saturday and is due to arrive Monday evening. The dancers and technical crew are travelling out on Tuesday giving them only a day to rehearse on the stage in the round.

Everybody’s really looking forward to taking part, to showing off the amazing skills from the heart of Leeds.

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British Ambassador to Italy enjoys the sites in Leeds

March 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm (General Information, momentum) (, , , , )

British Ambassador to Italy, Edward Chaplin, paid a visit to the site of the new home for Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre on Quarry Hill on Wednesday. He was accompanied by NBT’s Chief Executive, Mark Skipper, Deborah Green, Chief Executive of Marketing Leeds, and members of the NBT Board, Victoria Tomlinson and Denise Jagger.

Victoria Tomlinson, Deborah Green, Edward Chaplin, Denise Jagger and Mark Skipper

Victoria Tomlinson, Deborah Green, Edward Chaplin, Denise Jagger and Mark Skipper

Edward was on a visit to Leeds following the highly successful Leeds in Milan event last year, which saw leaders from the region’s financial, legal and creative sectors travel to Italy to forge relationships with their counterparts in Milan. He was very impressed with the scale of what was being delivered and plans to make a return visit to see the completed building. 

NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre are building a new powerhouse of dance in Leeds for dance artists, enthusiasts and audiences across the north of England. Their new purpose-built home, which is due for completion later this year, will be the largest purpose-built space for dance outside London.

Following the visit to Quarry Hill Edward also visited the newly refurbished Howard Assembly Room and took a tour of the Grand Theatre.

Mark Skipper says, “It is encouraging to know, especially ahead of the upcoming Leeds in Barcelona visit next week, that international trade missions such as these do help to raise awareness of the tremendous activity and growth in the region.”

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40th Anniversary Gala Update

November 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm (Artist's News, Events, Fundraising, momentum) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre is pleased to announce the artists for its 40th Anniversary Gala on 12 December at the Grand Theatre, Leeds. Artists from across the UK and Europe will perform in Leeds for one night only in recognition of NBT’s achievements and in celebration of its 40th anniversary. The following artists will join NBT and the NBT Orchestra for this unique event:

Eva Kolarova and Ramy Tadrous-Zaky from Ballet du Rhin will perform In the Mood For Love to music by Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Nao Sakuma and Joseph Caley from Birmingham Royal Ballet will perform Spring, a pas de deux from The Seasons, with choreography by David Bintley and music by Giuseppe Verdi.

English National Ballet’s Vadim Muntagirov and Shiori Kase will perform an extract from Le Corsaire.

Noelani Pantastico and Asier Uriagereka from Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo will perform the Act 1 Balcony pas de deux from Romeo & Juliet choreographed by Jean-Christophe Maillot to music by Sergei Prokofiev.

Phoenix Dance Theatre presents Fast Lane, Sharon Watson’s first choreographic work since becoming Artistic Director. Josh Wille, Azzurra Ardovini, Philip Sanger, Amanda Lewis and Judith Clijsters will perform to music by Peter S Jones.

Rambert Dance Company presents an excerpt from A Linha Curva which made its UK première as part of the Sadler’s Wells spring season in May 2009. Estela Merlos, Robin Gladwin, Miguel Altunaga, Jonathan Goddard, Thomasin Gulgec and Eryck Brahmania will dance Itzik Galili’s choreography.

The Royal Ballet’s Principal Dancers Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson will perform Manon Act 1, Scene 2 (Bedroom pas de deux) with choreography by Kenneth Macmillan to music by Jules Massenet.

Stuttgart Ballet’s First Soloists Sue Jin Kang and Filip Barankiewicz will perform the Taming of the Shrew (Kampf pas de deux, Act 1) to music by Kurt-Heinz Stolze after Domenico Scarlatti.

Arman Grigoryan, Principal Dancer with the Zurich Ballet will also perform at the Gala.

NBT presents two new works: On Such a Night choreographed especially for the Gala by Gillian Lynne to music by Stephen Sondheim; and Powerhouse Rhumba by NBT’s Artistic Director, David Nixon to music by Graham Koehne. NBT will also perform Ossein by Wayne McGregor, Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House and Artistic Director of Random Dance Company to music by JS Bach.

Tickets for the Gala are priced £25 – £60 to include a complimentary glass of champagne and a programme. Two fundraising dinners will take place after the Gala with tickets priced £150-£200 to include a champagne reception, the performance and a three course meal. First Direct, Harvey Nichols and City Inn (Leeds) are supporting the Gala event.

The 40th Anniversary Gala will raise funds for momentum, NBT’s capital campaign for a new purpose built headquarters in central Leeds with Phoenix Dance Theatre. The building is due for completion in August 2010.

Please note, whilst these are confirmed artists, the above is not the running order for the evening.

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NBT joins the Cultural Olympiad in Yorkshire

October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am (Friends News, General Information) (, , , , , , , , , )

NBT is delighted to announce that we are part of a second major Cultural Olympiad Yorkshire project.

Northern Ballet Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas

Northern Ballet Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas. (Photo: HANSON)

Northern Ballet Theatre has joined forces with Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas. Leeds Canvas has been selected as the Yorkshire region winner of a £500,000 commission for Artists taking the lead, one of the major projects for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Internationally acclaimed filmmakers and artists the Quay Brothers will use the entire city as the ‘canvas’ for a series of art interventions and installations, building up to a spectacular one-off event centred around Leeds’ Dark Arches.

Quay Brothers

Quay Brothers

Leeds Canvas is one of 12 commissions that will be realised across the UK over the next three years, each inspired by their location and celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

David Nixon, Artistic Director of NBT said:

“I am delighted that the proposal put together by the Leeds Creative Partnership team has been successful. This project has the possibility to transform Leeds and reach far beyond this city’s boundaries. Through collaboration our possibilities are magnified and our individual strengths personified and by inviting exceptional artists to work with us in Leeds we will create exceptional experiences and opportunities that we hope will have a lasting legacy. The 2012 Olympic games will be such a special time for the country and it will provide us with the opportunity to come together as one community and create some truly exciting work that touches many, many people.”

This is the second Cultural Olympiad project NBT is part of. Last week we announced that we were leading the ‘Don’t Just Sit There’ project.

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Ground Breaking Event Great Success

April 21, 2009 at 11:34 am (Company News, Events, Friends News, Fundraising, General Information, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , )

Yesterday’s ground breaking ceremony was a great success. Friends and Patrons of Northern Ballet Theatre, supporters of our building project as well as members of the Board, staff and dancers from NBT and Phoenix gathered together on Quarry Hill in central Leeds to witness the ground breaking ceremony.

As the sun shone down Andrew Carter, Leader of Leeds City Council got proceedings underway with the ceremonial shovel and both Andrew and Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire, gave speeches celebrating the partnerships coming together to make one of the most important cultural developments for Leeds a reality. Dancers David Ward and Rym Kechacha dressed in costumes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream enjoyed clambouring all over the JCB digger – I think everyone wanted to have a go at driving it but common sense prevailed. Mark Skipper spoke on behalf of everyone at NBT when he thanked all our partners and supporters who have given so generously to make our dream a reality. It does mean so much to us. You can add your support by donating through www.building-momentum.co.uk

Here’re some photos from the event taken by Lisa Stonehouse…

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Breaking Ground on New Project

April 20, 2009 at 8:12 am (Company News, Events, Fundraising) (, , , , )

Artists Impression of New Building

Artists Impression of New Building

We’re delighted to be able to share some exciting news about our new building project. The ground breaking ceremony to mark work starting on site takes place this afternoon with representatives from NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre joined by Andrew Carter, the leader of Leeds City Council, Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire, as well as partners from Leeds Metropolitan University, architects the Strategic Design Alliance and Wates Construction. Dancers dressed as fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream will also attend the ceremony. Photographs from the ground breaking ceremony will be on-line tomorrow.

We’re having a double celebration today because the momentum capital fundraising campaign has broken the £1million mark. We are now working hard to raise the remaining £500,000 of the £1.5million target. Help us reach our goal by donating on-line at building momentum

Read the full press release here [pdf].

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New building for dance given green light by planners

October 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm (Company News, Fundraising, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , , , , , , )

Planners at Leeds City Council have given the green light to plans for a new centre of excellence for dance in Leeds. The new building will be home to Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) and Phoenix Dance Theatre (Phoenix) and will be built on Quarry Hill next to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, the BBC and the Leeds College of Music. The designs by the Strategic Design Alliance, a partnership of Jacobs Architecture and Leeds City Council’s in-house architectural consultancy, were passed at a planning meeting earlier today.

 

The ambitious plans are for a six-storey building consisting of seven dance studios including a 200-seat studio theatre, office space, a health suite and a costume workshop. Alongside the two professional companies the building will eventually house a full-time classical dance school as well as Leeds Metropolitan University’s dance degree courses. The building will open in summer 2010.

 

In February NBT and Phoenix launched momentum, the campaign to raise the remaining £1.5million of the £12million building. To date the campaign has raised more than £800,000 from a number of trusts, foundations and individual donors. Mark Skipper, NBT’s Chief Executive is spearheading the momentum campaign:  “The planning decision means that we have reached a key milestone in this project’s progress. With building work due to start on site in four months time we are now looking for a number of businesses and individual donors to step forward and help us meet our fundraising target and achieve our ambitions.” Anyone wishing to support the momentum campaign should visit www.building-momentum.co.uk or contact Melanie Aram at NBT at melanie.aram@northernballettheatre.co.uk

 

The new building has received wide support from across the region with Leeds City Council investing £6.7million, including a contribution from Yorkshire Forward, and Arts Council England, Yorkshire investing £3.5million through the National Lottery.

 

Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire said: “It’s great news that this exciting project has reached such a significant milestone. ­Two of the country’s leading dance companies will have a state-of-the-art new home in Leeds, bringing great dance to many more people in Yorkshire and beyond.”

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