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Welcoming new dancers

Press release date 
Wed 17 Jul 2013

Northern Ballet welcomes five new dancers to the Company for the autumn season and bids farewell to seven popular dancers, well-known to Northern Ballet audiences.

Lucia Solari will join the Company as a Soloist. Originally from Italy, Lucia is currently at Hamburg Ballet.  Northern Ballet also welcomes to its first year corps, Maria Beseghi (Zurich Ballet), Isadora Valero Meza (Hamburg Ballet), Mlindi Kulashe (English National Ballet School) and Matthew Koon (Northern Ballet Academy, English National Ballet School and finalist on So You Think You Can Dance SKY1). Also Katherine Minor (Joffrey Ballet) joined the Company at the end of the spring 2013 season and has already performed in our Mixed Programme.

Seven dancers have left the Company to pursue other careers.  First Soloist Julie Charlet danced with Northern Ballet for ten years and leaves to join Ballet Toulouse in her native France. Julie performed many leading and solo roles, her favourites of which were Odette in Swan Lake and Butterfly in Madame Butterfly, both choreographed by Northern Ballet Artistic Director David Nixon OBE.

Isabella Gasparini, who created the role of Ugly in Northern Ballet’s first Short Ballet for Small People, Ugly Duckling, left to perform in English National Ballet’s Swan Lake in the round.  Benjamin Mitchell, who won critical acclaim for his portrayal of mechanic George Wilson in David Nixon’s The Great Gatsby, has gone to join Deborah Colker in Rio de Janeiro.

Graham Kotowich joins Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures on their national tour with Swan Lake. Joshua Barwick joins New English Ballet Theatre. Mark Dennis and Shanti Mouget have also left the Company.

David Nixon said, ‘As always we are sad to say goodbye to dancers who have been with us for so long and who have been an integral part of Northern Ballet, not just to those who work here but to our audiences all around the country. I would like to thank all the dancers who have left us this year and wish them every success in the future. I am very excited to welcome some fantastic new talent to the Company and I hope our new dancers will enjoy working with us.’

Promotions within the Company include Dreda Blow to First Soloist, Antoinette Brooks-Daw and Giuliano Contadini to Soloist and Rachael Gillespie and Jessica Morgan to Coryphée.

Northern Ballet’s fundraising scheme, Sponsor a Dancer, was launched in 2011 in response to the Arts Council cuts to Northern Ballet. The campaign invites support from members of the public, private donors, companies, trusts and foundations to sponsor a dancer of their choice. To-date the campaign has raised £200,000 and has helped secure Northern Ballet’s full complement of 40 dancers

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