It is always sad to say goodbye to a dancer - especially a leading lady - but I for one will miss Dreda Blow prticularly. According to Northern Ballet's news item, Saying Farewell, she will dance with the company for the last time at the Lowry on 9 June 2018.
I have chosen a clip from Romeo and Juliet because it was the work in which I first appreciated her qualities. In Northern Ballet's Romeo and Juliet - different but in a good way 8 March 2015 I wrote:
"I also saw another side of Dreda Blow. I had last seen her as Mina in Dracula in which I had admired her dancing but did not warm to her. ......... Casting Blow for the role was an inspiration. She was a perfect Juliet. Playful and feisty. Loving but conflicted. Brave but fearful. Blow is elevated to my pantheon of favourites."I was of the same view when I saw her in that role a second time in Bradford 18 months later (see Romeo and Juliet after the Shrew 18 Oct 2016).
Dreda Blow is a joy to watch. She is of course a virtuoso but also so much more. She has a lovely face with wonderfully expressive features. Qualities that make her one of the finest dance actors that I know. Some roles she has made her own. I cannot imagine any other Jane Eyre but her. When I first saw her in that role in Richmond, I remarked:
"Hannah Bateman had tweeted that Blow was lovely in the title role and she was right. Blow is a fine dancer but I have never seen her dance better than she did tonight." (see Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre: the best new Ballet from the Company in 20 Years 2 June 2016)I said very much the same when I saw her again in Sheffield last month (see Jane Eyre Second Time Round 18 April 2018). I have tried to think of the work in which I have liked her best, The beautiful but vulnerable Bellino, perhaps, in Kenneth Tindall's Casanova perhaps or maybe her cheeky and playful role in Demis Volpi's Little Monsters (see Sapphire 15 March 2015).
The news bulletin does not say where she will go or what she will do after 9 June 2018 but I wish her all the best. I thank her for all the pleasure she has given her audiences in her 11 or so years with the company.
PS Dreda came to us from Amsterdam where she trained and began her career. Through the Junior Company I have made the acquaintance of several leading ballet teachers in the Netherlands. One of them added this lovely comment: