Northern Ballet – a brief history
1969 – 1976
Artistic Director: Laverne Meyer
Canadian-born dramatic dancer, Laverne Meyer, sets up Northern Dance Theatre in 1969. The Company has 11 dancers and quickly gains a strong identity and loyal audience. The emphasis is on small-scale classical and modern works. The Company builds a strong identity and a loyal audience in the North.
Artistic Director: Robert de Warren
A classically trained dancer, Robert de Warren renames the Company Northern Ballet Theatre. With over 20 dancers now in the Company, de Warren is able to stage scaled-down full-length classical ballets, rediscovered works and brand new creations. Under his leadership, Rudolf Nureyev regularly dances as a guest artist and HRH Princess Margaret becomes a patron.
Christopher Gable, a noted dancer with the Royal Ballet and stage, film and TV actor, attracts new audiences with an emphasis on theatrical and emotional dramatic narrative dance theatre. He successfully stages many full-length productions, a number of which win awards and are huge box office hits. Gable dies in 1998, leaving Northern Ballet Theatre with a growing worldwide reputation.
1999 – 2001
Artistic Director: Stefano Giannetti
Stefano Giannetti joins Northern Ballet Theatre following a distinguished career as a principal dancer and choreographer. His adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which he both choreographs and directs, is well-received. Giannetti leaves to pursue an international choreographic career.
2001 – present day
Artistic Director: David Nixon OBE
Under David Nixon’s leadership, the Company continues to go from strength to strength. Its name is changed to Northern Ballet, and the Company moves to a magnificent purpose-built building at Quarry Hill, Leeds. Nixon revitalises the Company’s training programme and continues to add new, exciting and challenging works to the repertoire. His thirteenth new work, Cinderella, will première in 2013, his twelth season as Artistic Director. Northern Ballet is now regarded as one of the world’s greatest ballet companies.