Already into September and we have completed four weeks of the most jam packed rehearsal period ever! The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Dangerous Liaisons, A Christmas Carol and a pinch of Cleopatra. It's all go, go, go and pack, pack, pack!
For the dancers the move to the new building doesn't seem too daunting. We're used to living a somewhat nomadic lifestyle and packing light is a forte of ours, as we are, after all, a touring company. But even my organisational skills are being tested as we embark on the next six weeks where we will perform three different productions in Leeds, Bradford and Bangkok and spend a final two weeks rehearsing at West Park and then move to Quarry Hill all whilst we are on the road! Northern Ballet will make the move on the 4th of Oct and then when the dancers come back from swanning around in Bradford, Woking and Aylesbury we will move in.
We have five new dancers with us this season four men and one lovely young women. A South African, a Dutchman, a Brit, an Italian and a Cuban. Nicola from Italy joins his fellow compatriots Micky and Giuliano. They are wonderful to observe as they chatter along in their audibly delectable language. I am beginning to think we could run a very successful five-aside world cup football tournament. The mix of nationalities in a ballet company is I think unique to our world and something I have always enjoyed being part of. You simply never tire of hearing how other countries do life. Christmas, Easter Holidays, birthdays, weddings etc. Recently one of the new members to our family was shocked to hear I mowed my lawn myself. The differences between nationalities is what makes us all special.
I was looking around West Park the other day feeling somewhat nostalgic and actually found myself thinking I will miss this crumbling chaotic make shift home. I've seen some of the most beautiful moments at the dear old West Park Centre. Be it the creation of some magical ballets, the daily discipline of class, the growth of the Academy and the energy that children undoubtedly bring to a dance space, and seeing the development of Northern Ballet itself as a creative entity with choreographers such as Wayne McGregor and Cathy Marston coming to our shabby doorstep to work with us. So now it seems we will, with the move to our new headquarters, be suitably dressed to match our increasing reputation. No longer will we have to make excuses for our shabby exterior. Never judge a book by its cover they say and that couldn't be truer of West Park even if it has been a successful creative space for the past 12 years. So I will miss this funny old school-come-ballet studios, but as I take a freezing cold shower after rehearsals on Saturday as we all do every Saturday when the hot water doesn't work and I pull furiously on the toilet chain for the 100th time coxing it to flush I think to myself the move can't come soon enough.
There are many things to look forward to season, but the one thing that I simply can't get out of my immediate thoughts are that She is Coming! Cleopatra fever is upon us and it couldn't be more exciting. The dancers and our board members were treated to a pas de deux last week and as with all good ballet and David's work I felt physically involved in what I was watching and hearing and was left salivating for more. The foundations have been set and Chris Giles has been spotted around the studios as has Charlotte Schönberg and so the momentum begins to build for this awesome woman's journey to be told through the language of dance. She will of course come fully to life at Quarry Hill in a surrounding more fitting for a queen. I think it so poignant that we are creating a new ballet about this powerful woman in our new powerhouse building. I am so excited. But in the more immediate future you will get to see some fabulous dancing all over the country with some special debut performances in The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Just think, the next time I write I may well be sat on a sofa in one of our green rooms having just taken class in one of seven sprung floor studios sipping a fresh latte from the cafe in the foyer! Christmas will come early for all at Northern Ballet.
P.S all this couldn't have happened without public support, our Friends are dear to us and hopefully you are as excited as we are. This is a new adventure for Northern Ballet that we are all part of.
love Hannah xoxo