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Mark Skipper's blog

Xiamen – Performance 1 – 15 January

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Last night after a busy day of shopping, sightseeing and visits to a spa, many of the dancers dined in the Japanese restaurant in the hotel although, according to Hiro, it wasn't really Japanese food!

Today is our first performance in China for this tour.

Banlam Theatre

China - 14 January - Dancers' Day off and a bit of sightseeing

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Whilst the Technicians were busy putting the set together and focusing the lights, the dancers had the day off to explore Xiamen.

The two highlights are the famous Buddhist Nanputuo Temple founded in the Tang Dynasty. It is a very steep climb to get to the top with 100s of uneven steps but we did discover a small number of dancers up there.

Dancers at Temple

And a few others on their way up!

There is also a good view of the surrounding area.

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The Dancers arrive in Xiamen

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The 11 hour and 15 minute flight from Amsterdam to Xiamen was pretty uneventful other than the fact that none of the requested special meals materialised. I have now seen the movie of The Great Gatsby and am looking forward to seeing our version again in the Autumn... The Immigration line was pretty long so it took quite a while to get everybody through and on the bus to our hotel. Check in was relatively painless and then it was time to count the 265,000 Yuan and distribute the per diems to everyone.

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The long road to China – Sunday 12 January 2014

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China - The day is nearly upon us

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After nearly a year of planning, the tour to China is upon us. Tomorrow the Technicians set off followed by the rest of us on Sunday - 57 people in total plus a contingent from Leeds and Partners, Leeds City Council and sereval Leeds businesses. The planning for a tour of this scale is a major undertaking but we are now as well prepared as we can be.

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Mark Skipper's response to culture funding report

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Northern Ballet’s Chief Executive Mark Skipper responds to the report published yesterday that the Government spends £69 per head on arts and culture in London compared with £4.60 per person elsewhere in England.

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Planning a tour

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A question we are often asked is how do we choose the ballets which go on tour? Our Chief Executive, Mark Skipper DL, gives us an insight into the balancing act that is programming.

Final Performance of Romeo & Juliet

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A slightly later start today meant there was time for the Company to visit a few sights or do a little shopping before class. The Forbidden City and Summer Palace were popular destinations as well as the Silk Market where incredible bargains are said to be had! The NCPA is situated just off Tiananmen Square so we have had great views of the Great Hall of the People and the Forbidden City on our doorstep.

Second Performance of Romeo & Juliet

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Today, class was a little later but with more work to do to prepare a further cast of Romeo & Juliet plus two new casts for Madame Butterfly, the company were busy all day. This has been the busiest year in recent history for the Company with regards to the numbers of productions we have had in repertoire.

Opening Night in Beijing

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A brief spell of company partying last night was succeeded by a busy day of preparations for our opening night of Romeo & Juliet. The Technicians were back on stage at 9am finding ways to adapt the requirements of the production to the availability of local equipment. In the UK we tour our own lighting which is always in perfect working order but the logistics of overseas touring, particularly to the Far East, means that there is insufficient shipping time between the end of the UK tour and the date it is required overseas.

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