Monday, 31 August 2015

1984 and All That - Northern Ballet's New Season

Sellar and Yeatman's 1066 and All That is one of the books that we all read at school.  George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is another. Jonathan Watkins's arrangement of Orwell's novel for Northern Ballet opens to a full house at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 5 Sept 2015 is the company's big ticket production for the new season. Northern Ballet has released this hour long video on YouTube with talks by Watkins, David Nixon, rehearsals, a pas de deux by Tobias Batley and Martha Leebolt and more.

After Leeds the production tours Nottingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Southampton culminating in a season at Sadler's Wells between 24 and 28 May 2016. My favourite venue for anything in Northern Ballet's repertoire is West Yorkshire Playhouse because it feels like the company's home. It is a stone's throw from Quarry Hill and the auditorium is so intimate. I have seen some lovely shows there in the past, notably A Midsummer Night's Dream on 14 Sept 2013 (see Realizing Another Dream 15 Sept 2013). Unfortunately, the West Yorkshire Playhouse season clashes with the Dutch National Ballet's opening gala in Amsterdam and professional commitments in London (see Triple Dutch 4 July 2015). If any of my readers would like to review the opening night I should be very grateful.  I will catch the ballet in Manchester or Sheffield with my Swiss friend who first dew it to my attention even though she does not go a bundle on ballet (see 1984 28 Feb 2015 and Für Andrea - more Information on 1984 26 July 2015).

Another new ballet in Northern Ballet's repertoire is the children's ballet Tortoise and the Hare which is choreographed by Dreda Blow and Sebastian Loe. Blow spoke briefly about her work for children in the panel discussion on narrative dance in ballet on 20 June 2015 (My Thoughts on Saturday Afternoon's Panel Discussion at Northern Ballet 21 June 2015). She told a delightful story about one child's reaction to one of her ballets. Although I had already admired her as a dancer I warmed to her ever more. Tortoise and the Hare opens at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds on 22 Oct 2015. It will also be performed in Southampton on 6 May 2015.

Elves and The Shoemaker another children's ballet choreographed by Daniel de Andrade to music by Philip Feeney is touring Hull, Nottingham, Canterbury, Manchester, Woking, Newcastle and Bradford. I saw it in Huddersfield on 11 April 2015 and reviewed it in The Ballet comes to me 12 April 2015.

Also coming to Hull is Madame Butterfly which I described as Nixon's Masterpiece in my review of the opening night in Doncaster. Another popular Nixon ballet Wuthering Heights which I saw in Sheffield on 18 March 2015 is coming to Canterbury in October and Bradford in November. Northern Ballet's take on The Nutcracker where the Stahlbaums become the Edwardses is coming to The Grand between 16 Dec 2015 and 2 Jan 2016 after touring Woking, Newcastle and Norwich. I saw it twice and sort of half reviewed it in my IP law blog for solicitors and patent agents in Manchester and Liverpool (Cracking Nuts - Copyright in Choreography 24 Nov 2011 IP North West). Even more liberties are taken with Swan Lake which is coming to Leeds, Norwich and Milton Keynes in the new year. I saw it in Leeds with my late spouse first time round. We both regarded it as interesting in the sense of "May you live in interesting times".

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