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Vamping up the Dark Arches

Published on Wednesday 27 August, 2014

This week two sultry and mysterious characters were spotted in the atmospheric Dark Arches of Leeds as our dancers Alice Bayston and Isabelle Clough took to the tunnels to model the latest fashions in a vampire-inspired photo shoot with Harvey Nichols.

The day began at 8am at the DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds City Centre hotel where we'd set up our hair, make-up and dressing stations for the day. This shoot had a team of 10 people plus a whole lot of equipment and piles of clothes and accessories so thankfully the hotel kindly provided us with two rooms!

Isabelle began by getting her hair styled by Kelly and Chloe from Cheney Square salon. At first the sight of the crimping irons gave us all flashbacks to decades past but they were implemented to dramatic effect with Isabelle's hair styled into a ribbon clad voluminous ponytail complete with quiff and knot braiding at the side. 

Meanwhile, Alice was first in the make-up chair with services kindly provided by Brittany from the Harvey Nichols branch of YSL. Dramatic smokey eyes were the order of the day with a dash of deep purple eyeshadow for Alice finished off with a deep purple lipstick.

Swapping chairs, Alice was also treated to some crimping action with a pretty but edgy knot braid across the top of her hair whilst Isabelle's own smokey eye make-up was contrasted with a bright fiery red lipstick.


The clothes provided by Harvey Nichols are inspired by Dracula and included long sensual dresses, funky short skirts, skinny leather trousers and killer heels with brands including Alexander McQueen, Alice + Olivia, Sandro, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo.

The venue for the photo shoot was the Dark Arches of Leeds, a tunnel system running under the railway with the canal flowing between. The mixture of darkness and dampness was a perfect fit for a Dracula themed photo shoot and its easy to imagine that a vampire might choose a secluded archway down here to wait for the sun to go down. The photographer placed strategic lighting around the dancers to achieve an atmospheric effect to the photos framing the dancers who stared down the lense with a new-found intensity. 

However perfect the aesthetic of the venue, it did also provide certain challenges with regards to keeping the clothes clean around the dusty, gravel-strewn floors, moist, moss-covered walls and dripping, windy archways. On three occasions it was even necessary for Alice and Isabelle to get carried along the tunnels so they didn't scuff the bottoms of their expensive heels!

After an early start the shoot was wrapped by mid-afternoon and the whirlwind of people and activity dispersed. Still rocking their vampire hairstyles and gothic makeup, Alice, Isabelle and I walked back to Northern Ballet stopping for a late lunch of a sandwich en route. It certainly was the most glamorous company I've ever had in Greggs!

If you didn't manage to grab a copy of the Yorkshire Post magazine on Saturday 6 September, visit the Yorkshire Post website for some of the professional photos and a behind the scenes video.

We'd like to thank the Yorkshire Post, Harvey Nichols, YSL, Cheney Square and DoubleTree by Hilton for their support on making this shoot possible.

Tickets for Dracula at the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 5 - 13 September are available by visiting or calling the box office on 0113 213 7700.

Media & PR Manager

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.


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