The door is always open with Northern Ballet
Big Ballet may have seen their last curtain call but the stage door is always open with Northern Ballet
Filmed at Northern Ballet’s headquarters, Channel 4’s Big Ballet may have come to an end last night, but the door into dance remains open with Northern Ballet. The Company has been pioneering accessible ballet since it was founded nearly 45 years ago and works hard to ensure the joy of dance is available to everyone to experience.
The majority of the rehearsals for the 3-part programme took place at Northern Ballet’s world-class facilities in central Leeds, where Northern Ballet worked with the programme makers to ensure the participants had the most authentic experience possible. The Northern Ballet Sinfonia also played for the Big Ballet’s final performance at St. George’s Hall in Bradford where Northern Ballet Technical was commissioned to build the set. During their time at the Company’s Quarry Hill home, the Big Ballet dancers were able to rehearse in spaces purpose- built for dance and were invited to watch Company rehearsals. Towards the end of the project Northern Ballet also assisted in directing participants towards possible future opportunities in dance.
Northern Ballet was the first regional dance company to be based permanently outside of London and accessibility to dance across all platforms has been a part of the Company’s ethos since it started almost 45 years ago. Northern Ballet offers professional training and open classes for all ages and abilities, as well as audio described performances and open days. The Company is the widest touring ballet company in the UK and will tour to 35 venues during 2014 providing access to the highest standard of dance performance to audiences nationwide.
Northern Ballet's Director of Learning, Selina McGonagle, said: "Northern Ballet has a long-established reputation for offering high quality dance experiences for everybody. We offer open classes and courses in dance for everyone from very young children, to adults and older people and they are very popular. Our Ability and in motion courses are aimed at people with disabilities. We welcome everybody, no matter what size or shape, to come to Northern Ballet and try dance for themselves. I'm pleased to say that some of the Big Ballet dancers have chosen to stay on at Northern Ballet and join our adult ballet classes and we encourage other people to come and give it a try."
The Academy of Northern Ballet offers high quality dance training following the Ichino method, developed by renowned Ballet Mistress and ex-Prima Ballerina Yoko Ichino. The method, which benefits all open and Academy classes, takes a holistic approach to teaching, nurturing and inspiring students to become balanced and healthy dancers. The method is also adopted by the Company’s professional dancers.
Northern Ballet's Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, who was consulted by the programme makers and was involved in the filming, said: "Northern Ballet's dancers are highly trained, elite performers who have spent many years perfecting their craft. This is part of what our audiences pay to see. I absolutely support the idea that everyone should have the opportunity to dance if they wish to, and I hope the project has re-ignited a passion for one of the world’s greatest art forms in the people who took part.”