Ballet v Football – the Battle of Fittest

April 22, 2010 at 11:10 am (General Information) (, , , , , , )

Milton Keynes Theatre saw a battle of the fittest earlier this week between NBT dancer Toby Bately and Aaron Wilbraham star player for The MK Dons. Both at the top of their game The MK News took a look at their lifestyle and punishing training schedules to find out who wins the epic battle of tackle versus tutu!

Toby Batley with Aaron Wilbraham

6 ft Dancer Tobias tells us:

“I train 6 days a week with an hour and 15 minutes of Ballet and technique training, usually followed by 6 hours of rehearsal for the show. I also spend time in the gym or swimming. I guess it’s around 50 hours a week in training and I’m on stage for 7 two-hour shows a week. Health is extremely important as a dancer you can’t let anything slip as that could result in injury. We have to have a strong upper body to lift our partner and a strong core and sense of balance to do turns and complicated tricks, all this and we need to be pretty flexible too. Diet isn’t something I worry about too much but I do try to get my five-a-day and I have to say that I don’t really have any health vices apart from maybe knowing when to stop.”

Pro footballer Aaron, 6ft 3 also has a strict regime of four days training a week and a game on a Saturday with an occasional midweek game too and says:

“Training sessions usually last around 90 minutes, split into high tempo bursts. As well as football we will do weights programmes, core stability and yoga. I also work out in the gym. Health is massively important in my career. If you’re not fit and healthy you can’t perform to your optimum level, it’s really important for footballers to have good core strength for holding off defenders when you’re in possession. We work very hard at improving this. My diet is low-fat, high-carb with lots of fruit chicken and veg. I like to think that I’m pretty healthy.”

So what’s the verdict? Adam Rowland currently touring as a physiotherapist with NBT but no stranger to Rugby League said of our competitors:

“These young men are in their prime and in tip top condition and clearly work hard to maintain this level of fitness which is so important in their careers. Although training varies between the guys you will find Cardio anaerobic exercise which uses your body fats and sugars is critical for footballers who need to use their bodies more intensely over short periods of time whereas a a dancer needs a strong aerobic exercise which uses pure oxygen as they need a larger range of stamina and energy over a longer period of time. This is maybe why you see differences between the type of exercise used and diet. But I have to say it would be hard to decide who would win the battle of the fittest!”

Toby agreed: “I’m not sure I’d be able to beat Aaron on the pitch”, with Aaron adding “I certainly couldn’t do that with my leg!”

Toby and Aaron outside the theatre


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National Dance Awards

January 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm (General Information) (, , , , , , )

This year’s Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards have now been awarded in a ceremony at Royal Opera House in London.

Northern Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, presented the award for Best Classical Coreography to Wayne McGregor (collected by Monica Mason).

Unfortunately our First Soloist, Tobias Batley, didn’t win the award for Most Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) – which went to the deserving Sergei Polunin of The Royal Ballet.

A full list of winners are available on the National Dance Awards website.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

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Northern Ballet Theatre Soloist Nominated For Top Dance Accolade

November 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm (Artist's News) (, , , , , , )

Tobias Batley nominated for top dance accolade. Photo: Bill Cooper

Tobias Batley nominated for top dance accolade. Photo: Bill Cooper

Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) First Soloist Tobias Batley has been nominated for a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award in the category of Outstanding Male Performance (Classical).

Described by the Critics’ Circle as a “versatile dance-actor” and “an able comedian”, Tobias is nominated for his portrayal of Anthony, the leading male role in David Nixon’s Swan Lake, in which “he gave a performance of remarkable and poignant intensity”. He is nominated alongside Sergei Polunin from the Royal Ballet and Esteban Berlanga of English National Ballet.

Tobias joined NBT in 2004 and since then has risen rapidly through the ranks, distinguishing himself in many soloist roles for the Company. His favourite of these include the title role in Dracula, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“It’s very exciting to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” he says. “I’m flattered to be considered alongside dancers of such a high calibre. I’m particularly pleased to be nominated for this role as it is one I have really enjoyed performing.”

Ex-NBT dancer Sarah Kundi has also been nominated for an award in the Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) category. Sarah performed with NBT for four years and left to become a member of Ballet Black in November 2008. She has been noted by the Critics’ Circle for her “polished and confident” performances in Will Tuckett’s Depouillement and in Martin Lawrance’s duet Pendulum.

No strangers to the National Dance Awards, NBT received the Audience Award in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Last year the Company was awarded the coveted Patron’s Award which is given to an individual or organisation that has significantly furthered the cause of dance in the UK.

This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 21 January 2010.

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A Tale of Two Cities

September 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm (General Information, Marketing and PR News, Tour News) (, , , , , , , , , )

Here are some production images from A Tale of Two Cities. All photos are by Alastair Muir.

Keiko Amemori as Lucie and Tobias Batley as Charles 

Hironao Takahashi as Dr Manette and Keiko Amemori as Lucie

Kenneth Tindall as Charles and Keiko Amemori as Lucie

Tobias Batley as Charles and Victoria Sibson as Madam Defarge 

Kenneth Tindall as Sydney and Martha Leebolt as the girl at the docks

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