CriticalDance Forum

New English Contemporary Ballet
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Author:  David [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:07 am ]
Post subject:  New English Contemporary Ballet

A new ballet company has been launched called the New English Contemporary Ballet. Based in Nottingham, they will shortly be touring across their home East Midlands region. I'm not sure how 'contemporary' or how 'ballet' their repertory might be, but the details I have from them read as follows (their words):

New English Contemporary Ballet presents a mixed bill of works both by established European choreographers and home grown talent. Under the artistic direction of Niall McMahon, these vibrant young dancers will thrill with their virtuosity, touch the emotions with their lyricism and amuse with their quirky, athletic humour.

The programme includes the critically acclaimed "Sidewinding" choreographed by internationally renowned Richard Wherlock, director of Ballett Basel. Derek Williams creates his first piece for UK audiences since his celebrated Jazz Concerto for Northern Ballet Theatre. Sharon Watson of Phoenix Dance Theatre has been invited to complete the bill with a commission that will bring a truly contemporary edge to the programme.

Tour details:

Thursday April 25: Melton Theatre, Melton Mowbray (8.00).
Saturday May 27: Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield (7.30).
Thursday June 1: Djanogly Theatre, Nottingham (8.00).
Saturday June 10: Riverhead Theatre, Louth (7.30).
Tuesday June 13: Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston (7.30).
Thursday June 15: Palace Theatre, Newark (7.30).
Sunday June 18: Cripps Hall, Northampton (7.30).
Wednesday June 21: Willows Arts Centre, Corby (7.30).
Friday June 23: Civic Theatre, Rotherham (7.30).

The company does not appear to have a web site as yet.

They are also offering workshops to schools etc. I know of one open workshop, at the Willows Arts Centre Corby on Saturday June 17th, from 10.00 to 3.30. It's open to those aged 11-16, cost £20.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:27 am ]
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Thanks for this information, David. The Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield website mentions 5 dancers.

Very best wishes to all involved in the new venture: may your audiences be large and your problems bearable.

Author:  David [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:50 am ]
Post subject: 

A little more information. The company have given contracts to eight dancers and rehearsals begin on 17 April.

The boys are Cristophe Carpentier (Belgium), Alastair Postlethwaite (UK) Jonathan Barker (UK) and Igor Goyena (Spain) and the girls, Lila Mae Talbot (Canada), Caroline Lynn (Germany), Stephanie Elstob (UK) and Laura Beth Bailey (UK).

Author:  David [ Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:29 am ]
Post subject:  NECB Tour Cancelled

NECB Spring Tour Cancelled

The New English Contemporary Ballet, formed only last year, has sadly been forced to cancel its Spring 2007 tour following the Arts Council’s decision not to support it. They had asked for £50,000 but it was not forthcoming and as is so often the case, the loss of one major funder quickly led to others declining to offer support.

The news is especially disappointing given the success of the company’s inaugural 2006 tour, which exceeded their most optimistic expectations in terms of audience, reception and education activities. They have a roster of talented young performers and events do bring into focus questions about performance and work opportunities. While much public money is spent training young dancers vocationally in the UK, but it seems relatively little is being invested in creating viable employment opportunities for them, especially in ballet.

Plans for the tour had included significant advances on the achievements of 2006. The programme was to have featured new works by Patrick Delcroix (Nederlands Dans Theater) and Vanessa Fenton (The Royal Ballet), a UK premiere of a piece choreographed in 2006 by Richard Wherlock (Ballett Basel), and George Balanchine’s "Haieff Divertimento". Presenting a Balanchine work never before seen in Europe would have been a major event in itself and a major honour for such a young company.

However, McMahon remains optimistic and hopeful that the company will be able to tour again in the autumn. He said, “We have several sponsors now in place and having postponed the spring tour we plan now to carry this support over to show an autumn tour instead. We are exploring several other independent funding stream opportunities and we will make this succeed!”

He added that it is not all bad news and that their education programme is going from strength to strength. The company now has a highly successful and very active Nottingham Youth Dance Company and an associate programme with some 75 students from across the East Midlands working with them monthly. They also have a successful initiative supporting dance in mainstream schools across the region and a strong relationship developing with private dance schools. They will be holding both Easter and Summer Schools and will continue their programme or regular workshops and days of dance.

New companies are extremely rare in ballet, and ones that promote young dancers, new works and place so much importance on education are rarer still. We can only hope that McMahon’s optimism is well founded and that the company does indeed reappear on the stage later this year.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:40 pm ]
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That's disappointing news, especially as Independent Ballet Wales (winner of a Critics' Circle audience award in Jan 2007) also failed to get an Arts Council England touring grant for this year. However their tour will go ahead as they have other sources of funds, but I bet it will be tough.

I wonder if these two decisions represent a change of policy at ACE?

Author:  David [ Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:28 am ]
Post subject: 

Up and running again!

Good news! The New English Contemporary Ballet is up and running again with funding in place for an autumn 2007 tour.

The tour programme aims to fuse classical virtuosity with a contemporary edge with a mixed bill of new works inlcuding the UK premiere of "S(c)ent" by choreographer and Director of Ballett Basel, Richard Wherlock. Also, a new commission from French choreographer Patrick Delcroix, who has recently had success with a new work for Nederlands Dans Theater. David Fielding (previously resident choreographer – National Ballet of Portugal) completes the programme with a new more classically inspired piece.

NECB will also be staging a new version of The Nutcracker choreographed by Jamie Thomson in which they will be supported by members of their Associates programme and Nottingham Youth Dance. The collaboration is taking place with the support of Nottingham Trent University, Djanogly City Academy Nottingham, Skillset (Creative & Media Diploma) and Nottingham City Council (College Street).

Throughout the forthcoming season NECB dancers will be supported by apprentices from two of the UK's leading vocational dance training institutions: Marina Sanchez Garrigos and Michael Munoz from the Central School of Ballet and Simon Lindsay and Clare Billington from the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

Finally, Nottingham Youth Dance in association with New English Contemporary Ballet (NECB's youth dance company) will make its performance debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. appearing from 5 - 11 August at the C venue 34, Adam House, Chambers Street, Edinburgh. The company will perform works by Jamie Thomson, Morgann Runacre Temple, David Fielding, Jodie Johnson, Jeremy King and Nicky Burt.

Autumn mixed programme tour schedule as follows:
18 Oct - Ludlow Assembly Rooms
20 Oct - Cambridge Mumford Theatre
23 Oct - Rotherham Civic Theatre
24 Oct - Nottingham Playhouse Theatre
27 Oct - Aylesbury Civic Centre
30 Oct - Melton Mowbray Theatre
1 Nov - Buxton Opera House
2 Nov - Corby Willows Arts Centre
14 Nov - Louth Riverhead Theatre
19 Nov - Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre
27 Nov - Derby Assembly Rooms
3 Dec - Newark Palace Theatre

Performances of the Nutcracker will take place between the 21 November and 5 December at the Sandfield Theatre, Nottingham and the Palace Theatre, Newark.

Great new website too:

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:44 am ]
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Yay! Great news. Thanks for posting an update, David!

Author:  David [ Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:49 am ]
Post subject: 

I will be writing a feature on NECB for the November issue of the magazine, but if you get the chance the see the company, go!!

Having spent yesterday watching rehearsals, they really do seem to be offering something a little bit different. The words 'contemporary ballet' pretty much say it all. The style is classically based but very much ballet with a modern European (French/Swiss) aesthetic. Two of the works on the programme are abstract, while David Fielding's "Blood and Flesh", which tells of a child turning from her family and gang culture, was incredidbly powerful (helped along by Shostokovitch's evocative music).

The autumn tour dates are above, and a Spring 2008 tour is already being planned. Go see!!

Author:  David [ Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Spring 2008 tour dates

Spring 2008 tour dates

NECB have released details of their Spring 2008 tour.

The repertory includes Richard Wherlock’s S(c)ent (programme 1), previoulsy seen last autumn, a lyrical work full of fluid duets and trios; and Sidewinding (programme 2), which focuses on technical clarity, sharpness and musicality. Alongside these are a new neo-classical work commissioned from Italian choreographer Davide Bombana, and works by two young British choreographers, Jamie Thomson and Vanessa Fenton.

Tour dates as follows:

Saturday 3 May, 7.30pm (programme 1)
Harrogate Theatre

Monday 5 May, 7.30pm (programme 1)
Elmhurst Theatre, Elmhurst School for Dance, Birmingham

Wednesday 7 May, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
The Castle, Wellingborough

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 May, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
The Peepul Centre, Leicester

Thursday 15 May, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Saturday 17 May, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
Theatre Mwldan, Cardigan

Sunday 18 May, 4.00 pm (programme 1)
Theatr Harlech, Harlech

Monday 19 May, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

Thursday 22 May, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
Palace Theatre, Newark

Monday 2 June, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
Theatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay

Tuesday 3 June, 7.30 pm (programme 2)
Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Thursday 5 June, 7.30 pm (programme 2)
Nottingham Playhouse

Friday 6 June, 7.30pm (programme 2)
Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell

Monday 9 June, 7.30 pm (programme 2)
Riverhead Theatre, Louth

Wednesday 11 June, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
The Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham

Saturday 14 June, 7.30 pm (programme 1)
The Brindley, Runcorn

Monday 16 June, 7.30 pm (programme 2)
Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield

Monday 18 June, 7.15 pm (programme 2)
Rotherham Civic Theatre

Author:  David [ Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New English Contemporary Ballet

New English Contemporary Ballet folds

The adventure is over.

After just over 3 years of excellent programming and performances despite always difficult financial circumstances, Nottingham-based New English Contemporary Ballet has folded. A statement says it is due to “changing business circumstances which makes it impractical to continue”.

The company and its full time dance school ceased trading on January 22, following the resignation of the company’s artistic director and co-founder Niall McMahon on January 20. McMahon had been on long-term sick leave since November 2009.

In a statement, McMahon said: “I am saddened for the impact the closure will have on staff, students and supporters of the company, there are many people who have worked very hard indeed for the benefit of NECB.

“But in circumstances such as these, health, well-being and family responsibilities ultimately left me with a personal decision which could only resolve itself in one way, and I would thank the many people who have expressed their personal support and warm wishes to me and to my family at this difficult time.”

The company brought somthing new to the English ballet scene with programmes rooted in the classical tradition but with a very modern edge. They also introduced English audiences to European choreographers whose works are rarely seen in the UK such as Richard Wherlock and Davide Bombana. They were always a delight to watch. The company will be sadly missed.

At the time of the announcement, NECB had 12 staff and 69 pupils from across Britain and Europe.

Author:  SteVenMArTIn [ Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New English Contemporary Ballet

They also introduced English audiences to European choreographers whose works are rarely seen in the UK such as Richard Wherlock and Davide Bombana. They were always a delight to watch. The company will be sadly missed.

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