Aled Roberts's blog
Yet what an aura surrounds you;
Your evil little aura, prowling, and casting a numbness on my mind.
That is your trick, your bit of filthy magic:
Invisibility, and the anæsthetic power
To deaden my attention in your direction.
But I know your game now, streaky sorcerer.
From DH Lawrence, The Mosquito
Sometimes odd things happen in the day-to-day life of a ballet company, and some of it you just couldn't make up... Read on for Aled's tale from the dark side; not for the faint of heart...
“Could I speak to Robert Cordingley, please,” asked the cut, educated voice.
“Can I ask who’s … who’s calling, please?” the mechanism of my Receptionist’s response jarred slightly. We don’t get many calls for the Caretaker’s office.
“It’s Sarah,” she said, “from the British Museum,” then, to clarify, “regarding the disposal of human remains.”
If you weren’t there, you should have been. The Choreographic Showcase was a mesmeric delight. Dancers from Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre came together to choreograph eleven pieces of brand spanking new dance. The fledgling choreographers were each given the same mission statement – simply, create a piece of dance. Dance. No sets, no costumes and precious few props. The focus was pulled firmly on movement and each piece having a discrete kinetic language of its own.
Legends of mirth, Phil Cool and Richard Digance, are coming to the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre. I, like many who’ve bumbled through a university in the last ten years, first came across Digance on Countdown. I was always impressed and alarmed by his capacity to turn almost anything into a chipper limerick.
Bereft. That’s what we are. The Northern Ballet foyer no longer bristles with the wary fascination of bystanders as Levantes Theatre mixed cupcakes, made paper-chains, flew paper aeroplanes, and scattered confetti into the early gloaming. The car park is no longer fronted by Laura Mugridge’s deep yellow camper van – part performance, part squatter. Tea is no longer served four times a day, nor can one have an exclusive audience with one’s roads-not-travelled six times a day. In short, Mezze’s over and I’m miffed.
Northern Ballet plays host to Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery & Studio Theatre’s Festival of “bite-sized … intimate performances” tantalisingly called “Mezze”. What unites these productions is an intimacy between performer and audience. In each of the pieces the relationship between the watched and the watcher is challenged.
The crinolines have been bustling across the lacquered floor of Northern Ballet’s atrium. Sumptuous dress and contralto have quivered through the air and, for a short time at least, the vestiges of the Viennese court have run amongst the lithe shapes of the Company dancers and the flurries of children in tutus. Sitting to next to parents with panini’s and dotted amongst employees power-lunching the casual observer might spot Dr.