Raising the barre
Take a moment or tutu to contemplate Northern Ballet’s amazing achievements over the last 50 years as from the end of 2019 through 2020, the illustrious Leeds-based company celebrates its golden anniversary with a spectacular schedule of top-class productions and premieres.
Regarded as one of THE greatest ballet companies, the multi-award-winning, internationally renowned dance troupe continues its commitment to constantly create new and inspiring ballets, touring extensively and attracting the finest dancers from across the globe. Some of Northern Ballet’s cast share their highlights and ‘en pointes’ of view...
ABIGAIL PRUDAMES, PRINCIPAL SOLOIST, NORTH YORKSHIRE
In Dracula I performed as Mina, a challenging yet hugely rewarding part. My first title role was Cinderella and I played her again quite recently. It was lovely to be able to revisit that experience a second time but with much more knowledge, technique and strength. I joined Northern Ballet straight out of school as an apprentice, not knowing much about the company but now I couldn’t imagine having my career anywhere else. 2020 productions? Hopefully I’ll get the chance to appear in all of them! (laughs)
MINJU KANG, FIRST SOLOIST, SOUTH KOREA
My first lead role was in The Little Mermaid and was really special for me. The repertoire that Northern Ballet performs and the storytelling is all very attractive. Having communication with the audience is really important too. I love the traditional ballets produced by other companies but they’re not my favourite to perform. Northern Ballet’s work allows the audience and the dancers to connect more. Everyone works so hard for our achievements, it really is teamwork and we’re connected like a family, especially working so closely on tour.
AYAMI MIYATA, LEADING SOLOIST, JAPAN
Northern Ballet is my second home and its cast and crew are like family to me. I loved appearing in The Three Musketeers. The story, dancing and music are so beautiful with a mixture of magnificent sword fights and many moments for laughter, love and excitement. It’s certainly a fun ballet to perform! The productions at Northern Ballet are a perfect mix of acting and dance. Ideal as I enjoy playing someone else and telling stories.
ANDREW TOMLINSON, DANCER, WEST YORKSHIRE
Aged 10 years old I joined the Academy of Northern Ballet and it continues to be an incredible experience, receiving excellent and inspiring training alongside company dancers. Performing in The Great Gatsby was amazing, it has such a fun atmosphere on stage. I was born in Leeds and Leeds based Northern Ballet is a world-class company...so a perfect match! As a student I got to perform in The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol as Tiny Tim and in A Simple Man, all fantastic experiences. I enjoy being part of such a hard-working and supportive team. Performing in Leeds is a joy and our home crowd are always fabulous.
JAVIER TORRES, PREMIER DANCER, CUBA
The Great Gatsby has a special place for me because it took me right out of my comfort zone. I studied intensely for the role, to try and get all the layers of Gatsby’s character into my performance. Casanova was totally different, I was even more out of my comfort zone playing the lead but it gave me the realisation that I am more than just a classical dancer. I didn’t know anything about Northern Ballet at first! I was in the UK on holiday and I saw that the company was touring near me, so I asked if I could take a class with them to keep up my fitness. That was my first interaction and eventually led to me joining Northern Ballet. So, here I am 10 years later! My favourite thing is the people. There is a moment where, after 16 weeks of being on tour, you have a bond with absolutely everybody.
The incredible teamwork and support is what makes the tour easier for the dancers, everyone helps everybody else and we can all relate to one another.
THIS ARTICLE WAS TAKEN FROM THIS IS Y 2020 - YOU CAN VIEW THE FULL MAGAZINE HERE.