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Beneath the Surface

13 years with Kenneth Tindall

Premier Dancer Kenneth Tindall retires at the end of this season. Ahead of his farewell performance on Saturday, 2 May in Milton Keynes we’ve asked him about his best moments with the Company and plans for the future.

What's made you decide to retire now?

Deciding when to retire from dancing is a really hard decision to make and after you make it you still wonder if you’re doing the right thing. After all, it’s all I’ve known for so many years and after coming into the same place every day it’s like leaving behind your family. I’ve been lucky enough to have achieved everything that I wanted to achieve as a dancer and I feel that now is the right time to take the leap into the next phase of my career as Freelance Choreographer.

What kept you at Northern Ballet?

There is something really special about this Company and with the amount of touring you do together and the amount of time you spend together you develop such a strong bond, it’s a real family unit. I originally joined Northern Ballet in 2000 straight from school and then spent two years away in Israel and Japan before coming back to the Company in 2003. The variety in Northern Ballet’s repertoire and the amount of performing are two of the things that kept me at the Company for virtually my entire career but, more than this, I have been really nurtured throughout my time here. Both David and the ballet staff had a vision for me and wanted me to be the best that I could possibly be. 

Do you have a favourite role?

It’s so difficult to choose a favourite but two roles that I could do over and over again are Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and Wadjet (Cleopatra). Pinkerton (Madame Butterfly) is another favourite and I performed the pas de deux in the closing of the Beijing International Festival at a huge theatre and that was one of the highlights of my career.

What will you miss about life with the Company?

I will miss rehearsals and I will especially miss creating work. I’ll be creating work in a different way as a choreographer but there’s nothing like creating work with someone that’s about what you might achieve in your own body. I’ll miss pas de deux too as it’s a really close bond you have with your partner and it’s a special thing to have the trust and intimacy.

A dancer’s life is really intense so I always try and stay on the light side of things and I remember the funny stuff the most. I’m a real practical joker and some of the things we do to the Wardrobe staff are outrageous! I’m glad to say that this spirit is being passed on down the Company, we work tremendously hard but we have fun too! 

What are your plans for the future?

For a while I was terrified about the future and now I’m so excited to be staying in the dance world and looking forward to taking on new knowledge to make me look at dance differently. It’s been wonderful to have worked on both sides of the creative process at the same time and now that I’m crossing over I hope I never forget what it’s like to be on the dancers’ side. I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen but it’s going to be challenging and I’m excited to find out what will happen.

  • Kenny & Keiko Amemori in Swan Lake.
    Kenny Tindall and Keiko Amemori in Swan Lake. Photo Bill Cooper.
  • Kenny in Beauty & the Beast rehearsals.
    Kenny with Yi Song, Dreda Blow, Michela Paolacci and Lori Gilchrist in Beauty & the Beast rehearsals. Photo Martin Bell.
  • Kenny and Desiré Samaai in The Three Musketeers.
    Kenny and Desiré Samaai in The Three Musketeers. Photo Merlin Hendy.
  • Kenny and David Ward in Angels in the Architecture.
    Kenny and David Ward in Angels in the Architecture. Photo Bill Cooper.
  • Scene from Hamlet with Kenny, Michela Paolacci and Martin Bell as Polonius.
    Kenny, Michela Paolacci and Martin Bell in Hamlet. Photo Brian Slater.
  • Kenny and Nathalie Legér on the La Traviata poster.
    Kenny and Nathalie Legér on the La Traviata poster.
  • Kenneth Tindall on the poster for I Got Rhythm.
    Kenneth Tindall on the poster for I Got Rhythm. Photo Jason Tozer.
  • A hat wearing Kenny.
    Kenny at the London première of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo Brian Slater.