About the Academy
Inspiring the dancers of tomorrow, the Northern Ballet Academy embodies a 21st Century approach to training. Under the direction of David Nixon OBE and Yoko Ichino, students receive the highest quality training that captures the talent and imagination of individuals and nurtures their passion for dance, creating balanced and healthy dancers who excel in technique and knowledge.
“We are committed to nurturing the physical and emotional wellbeing of each student in an atmosphere that centres on individual learning and professionalism. It is of optimum importance that young dancers become the best possible dancers they can be and leave us as healthy, grounded and well rounded individuals.”
Yoko Ichino, Ballet Mistress and Curriculum Manager
All training programmes follow a curriculum especially designed by Yoko Ichino, giving the students the foundations to develop the highest level of technical and artistic skill. The same teaching method is used on the Company’s professional dancers and in the Open Classes.
“Yoko’s teaching methods didn’t just develop my technique, they changed my way of thinking and prepared me both physically and mentally to face the challenges of a career in dance.”
2008 Northern Ballet Graduate, Dale Rhodes, English National Ballet School
“As a busy working mum of two, the Open Class gives me an hour and a half of sheer escapism.”
Rachel McGuire, Open Class student
In 2003 the government approached Northern Ballet and the Northern School for Contemporary Dance (NSCD) about becoming a Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) in dance. David and Yoko accepted the offer and began the process of developing the UK’s first CAT in classical dance. The first Northern Ballet students entered the training programme on 21st September 2004.
2008 saw the first of these students graduate from the training programme. Graduates have now gone on to full-time vocational dance training at top training schools including English National Ballet School, Central School of Ballet, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, The Royal Academy in Partnership with Scottish Ballet and the ballet school of the Hamberg Ballet.
With the move to the Company’s new home in central Leeds comes the hope that the Academy will move one step closer to the dream of a full-time school. The growth of the Academy has demonstrated the wealth of interest and talent in the North of England and has helped put Leeds on the map as a centre for excellence in dance training and cultural opportunities.
Be a part of the Company
Academy students are given the opportunity to audition to perform with the Company in some of Northern Ballet’s most treasured productions, including The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, A Christmas Carol and A Simple Man. This unique opportunity gives students an invaluable insight into life as a professional dancer and is the best possible preparation for a career as a professional dancer.
While performing at the theatre the students get to learn about all the different elements of a touring ballet company, from life at the theatre, to the work that goes on backstage to make a production successful.