Friday, 4 November 2016

Dance in Newcastle

Dance City Performances (with subtitles) from Northern Stars on Vimeo.

I first heard of DanceCity from BalletLORENT when they visited Huddersfield on 30 Sept 2016 (see BalletLORENT 3 Oct 2016). BalletLORENT are one of several dance companies that are based at a studio and theatre complex known as "DanceCity" which is located just north of the Tyne at Temple Street in Newcastle.

DanceCity is a member of the National Dance Network to which dance agencies around the country (including our own Yorkshire Dance) are also associated. DanceCity runs classes in many styles to students of all ages and abilities. These include ballet classes for beginners and improvers aged 55 or over which seem to be very similar to the classes that I attend at Northern Ballet Academy. For those contemplating a career in dance, DanceCity's Learning Academy offers formal, professional, dance training at all levels starting from children aged 10 to postgraduate level in conjunction with Northumbria and Teeside Universities and local schools and universities. That includes a Centre for Advanced Training similar to the CATs in Leeds and the Lowry. There are opportunities for local choreographers and companies to perform their own work and even a small fund for commissioning new work from local artists.

Equally impressive is the performance programme for the theatre. In November, for instance, there will be no less than 6 shows starting with James Wilton's Leviathan this evening which is described as a "blend of athletic dance, martial arts and capoeira." The plot is intriguing:
"LEVIATHAN follows Ahab, a ship captain hell-bent on capturing the white whale: Moby Dick, a beast as vast and dangerous as the sea itself, yet serene and beautiful beyond all imagining. Ahab’s crew is drawn into the unhinged charisma of their captain, blindly following him on his perilous adventure towards almost certain destruction."
The theatre is currently offering a very generous 2 performances  for £22 promotion which seems good value for live entertainment in the centre of a major city.

Although Newcastle does not yet appear to have its own professional classical ballet company (but please do correct me if I am wrong) it is on the circuit for visiting companies. For instance, Northern Ballet will perform Beauty and the Beast next week and Scottish Ballet will dance Hansel and Gretel  in the same theatre in February.

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