Last week we welcomed Choreographer and Royal Ballet Soloist Benjamin Ella to the studio to begin work on his new piece for Generations: Three Short Ballets. We caught up with him between rehearsals to find more about the ballet:
How has your first week at Northern Ballet been?
My first week at Northern Ballet has been a whirlwind! An incredible week with incredible dancers, staff and musicians.
We are all still getting to know each other but it’s been great working with such a supportive and constructive team that are all so ready to create something to the best of all of our abilities. I’m feeling very grateful.
What inspired your work for Generations: Three Short Ballets?
So far in my choreographic career the inspiration has always grown from the music. This ballet is inspired by some piano and violin pieces composed by Jean Sibelius which are very beautiful.
I’ve put eight different pieces together in my own order in a way that I feel gives a nice flow and journey to the piece as a whole, as well as giving lots of opportunity to show off the dancers. There is no story per se, but there is a soft narrative that charges throughout, a kind of poem or epigram of feelings, emotions and connections.
Have you had a chance to explore the city between rehearsals?
This wasn’t my first visit to Leeds, maybe my fifth I think? Although this is my longest visit to Leeds so I still feel like I’m getting to know it. I always love looking up some foodie gems in any city I visit and so far my favourite gem is the noodle house on Merrion Street. The char sui was so good there!
What do you hope audiences will take away from your piece at its UK première in September?
I hope audiences just enjoy my ballet and perhaps head home humming some of the beautiful tunes of Sibelius with a smile.
Benjamin Ella and Northern Ballet dancers in rehearsals for Generations: Three Short Ballets. Photos Ellis Dytrych.