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 Post subject: Northern Ballet Theatre - 2005-06 Season
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:21 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3373
Location: Canada
Northern Ballet Theatre begins it's Fall Season on Friday, September 2 with a new production of Dracula.

Roster Changes

New:

Kirill Burlov ( Latvian National Ballet)
Yi Song (Singapore Dance Theatre)
Benedick Mildesveit (Norwegian National Ballet)
David Webb (ENB School)

Departed:

Christian Broomhall: has gone back to BalletMet

Simon Kidd
Catherine Royce
Keira Schwartz

The company will be touring to Bangkok starting on September 12 to take part in the 7th International Festival of Dance and Music

Guest dancers include three Ballet Met dancers - Jimmy Orrante & Sonia Welker in Leeds' performances of Dracula and Christian Broomhall returing for December performances of Peter Pan in Bradford. (Not suprising since the original Peter Pans, Broomhall and Simon Kidd, have departed from the company)


The schedule:

AUTUMN/WINTER 2005

Fri 2 - Sat 10 Sept
LEEDS, WEST YORKSHIRE PLAYHOUSE
David Nixon's
DRACULA
– on sale now
Box Office: 0113 213 7700
click here to visit their website

Tues 27 Sept – Sat 1 Oct
MILTON KEYNES THEATRE
David Nixon's
DRACULA
– on sale now
Box Office: 01908 60 60 90
click here to visit their website

Tues 11 - Sat 15 Oct
SHEFFIELD, LYCEUM THEATRE
MADAME BUTTERFLY
– see venue for on sale date
Box Office: 0114 249 6000
click here to visit their website

Tues 18 - Sat 22 Oct
NOTTINGHAM THEATRE ROYAL
David Nixon's
DRACULA
– on sale now
Box Office: 0115 989 5555
click here to visit their website




Tues 25 - Sat 29 Oct
WOKING, NEW VICTORIA THEATRE
LA TRAVIATA
– on sale now
Box Office: 01483 545900
click here to visit their website

Tues 1 - Sat 5 Nov
NORWICH, THEATRE ROYAL
MADAME BUTTERFLY
– see venue for on sale date
Box Office: 01603 630 000
click here to visit their website

Tues 8 - Sat 12 Nov
HULL, NEW THEATRE
LA TRAVIATA
– on sale now
Box Office: 01482 226655
click here to visit their website

Tues 15 - Sat 19 Nov
CANTERBURY, MARLOWE THEATRE
MADAME BUTTERFLY
– on sale now
Box Office: 01227 787787
click here to visit their website

Weds 30 Nov - Sat 10 Dec
BRADFORD, ALHAMBRA
PETER PAN
– on sale now
Box Office: 01274 432000
click here to visit their website


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:25 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 6778
Location: Estonia
Quote:
Dracula
by SANJOY ROY for the Guardian

The ballet unfurls like a cinematic montage, scenes tumbling out in rapid succession, and the dance style - classical technique with lashings of exaggerated mime - has the melodramatic, even hammy feel of silent-film acting.

published: September 6, 2005
more...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 6:49 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 6778
Location: Estonia
Quote:
Dracula's teeth barely scratch the surface
by MARK MONAHAN for the Daily Telegraph

To be fair, it's not all Nixon's fault. Keiko Amemori has a soubrettish charm as Mina Harker, but is short on sexual charge, and Jimmy Orrante's Dracula completely lacks the requisite leanness, meanness and charisma.

published: August 5, 2005
more...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 710
Location: Rugby, UK / Taipei
‘Dracula’ - Northern Ballet Theatre
West Yorkshire Playhouse, 3rd September 2005


A little piece of Transylvania came to Yorkshire last Saturday evening in the form of Northern Ballet Theatre’s ‘Dracula’, not their previously successful Christopher Gable version, but a redesigned David Nixon production, originally made in 1999 for BalletMet.

Nixon keeps pretty much to the novel, which can be something of a problem. Act I is decidedly narrative with lots of mime. The scene changes come thick and fast, a bit like they might in a movie. I’m sure anyone unfamiliar with the book, or who hadn’t read the programme notes, would struggle to work out exactly who was who and what was going on. The acting is however very good, as one would expect from NBT, and there’s plenty to keep your interest.

Act II is much easier to follow, has much more dance and builds to a superb climax. The final scene, with its athletic dance for the leading men, danced to Michael Daugherty’s ‘Red Tango’, is definitely worth waiting for. Even if you have read the synopsis, the very last moment featuring Mina’s bloody death, has a very sudden, dramatic impact.

Nixon’s Dracula, at least as played by Jummy Orrnate, guesting from BalletMet, sweeps his cape around with great intent but does not come across as especially evil. Perhaps though that is intentional. Anyway, maybe we have become too familiar with the movie stereotypes rather than what is actually in the book. There are times when Dracula backs off, almost as if questioning what he is doing, even though he eventually does it anyway. Indeed there are lots of places in the ballet where you find yourself wondering if something is really happening or not. Does Dracula really exist or is he part of some horrible nightmare? Are things really what they seem?

‘Dracula’ is essentially a male ballet, with all the leading roles except Mina and Lucy being danced by men. It’s also sparsely populated with no huge crowd scenes. Patrick Howell (Jonathan Harker), Darren Goldsmith (Dr Jack Seward), Steven Wheeler (Van Helsing) and Hirano Takahashi (Arthur Holmwood) were all excellent, Takahashi’s turns and leaps being especially secure. Lucy (Geoegina May) and Mina (Keiko Amemori) danced the main female roles. Amemori came over as being a little cold, with not too much in the way of sexual charge, but then again, I suppose they were Victorians. Special mention must be made of the jucily awful three brides of Dracula danced by Natalie Leftwich, Hannah Bateman and Victoria Sibson. Definitely not the sort of ladies you would want to meet on a dark night!

The choreography itself owes a great deal to modern dance. Indeed, returning to the cinematic theme, at one point I found myself thinking how much looked like some of Kim Brandstrup’s work for Arc.

To get inspiration, set designer Ali Allen took a trip to Transylvania. I don’t know what she felt about being in Dracula’s homeland, but it certainly had the desired effect. The sets are simply stunning in a sort of Gothic cum Expressionist way, which parts of Act II are danced to a quite Turneresque Transylvanian mountain backdrop. Dracula’s castle, apparently close to ruin, the gnarled and twisted cemetery gates and the haunting mausoleum simply oozed atmosphere, helped along by John Bishop’s spooky lighting.

There is one gloriously awful exception to the designs. The ballet begins wonderfully spookily as Dracula’s coffin rises through the floor, the lid opens, he emerges (naked) and walks off. Then it happens! A coach appears pulled by two horses, or rather dancers dressed as such. It may have been gloomily lit and they may have been dressed in black but it looked for all the world like pantomime. If ever there was a time to simply use sound, or to take the cinema theme further and use projection, this was it.

For the music Nixon has mostly used a collection of various little-known Alfred Schnittke pieces, which work very effectively with his choreography and in adding to the mood. There is also a Rachmaninov waltz and two Part pieces, including the popular Spiegel im Spiegel for the Mina and Dracula duet, and of course that wonderful ‘Red Tango’ to finish.

Nixon has now been with Northern Ballet Theatre for almost five years. He may be a Canadian, but on the basis of this production, he is very much a choreographer in the English and NBT tradition, at ease mixing dance, drama and all those other elements that make an all-round good night at the theatre. He is certainly making sure we don’t forget the ‘theatre’ in NBT. Definitely worth seeing.

‘Dracula’ is at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds until 10th September; then at the Milton Keynes Theatre from 27th September to 1st October; and the Theatre Royal Nottingham from 18th to 22nd October.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:53 am 
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Posts: 710
Location: Rugby, UK / Taipei
‘Dracula’ – Northern Ballet Theatre
Milton Keynes Theatre, 27th September 2005


One test of how good a production is comes with second and subsequent viewings. In particular, does it still hold the interest? The good news for NBT is that David Nixon’s ‘Dracula’ most certainly does.

In Leeds, American guest Jimmy Orrante took the leading role and gave us a very dramatic, occasionally over the top, Dracula. Jonathan Olliver was very different indeed in, dare one say it, a very understated English interpretation. Indeed, the sense of normality Olliver brought to the character was in itself frightening. He succeeded in making him often seem ‘ordinary’, with human failings; something I believe Nixon was after.

The other big plus Olliver brought to the proceedings was more of a sense of relationship between Dracula and Mina, again danced by Keiko Amemori. These two regularly partner each other and it showed. Even Dracula’s undressing of Mina at the beginning of the pas de deux was very sensual. Olliver never took his eyes off her; Orrante seemed never to look at her.

Amemori had seemed ‘cold’ in Leeds, but here something really was happening between the two. Dracula had really got under her skin. So much so, that in the pas de deux it was really noticeable how much Mina was taking the lead. Of course, the choreography was the same previously but somehow it was not as noticeable.

The men again excelled, and again, especially Hironao Takahashi. Superb technique and while he may be Japanese, he succeeds in looking more quintessentially English than any of the others

Even the horses, or rather dancers dressed as horses, looked better in Milton Keynes. Probably because the stage is so much deeper and they were much more in the gloom.

The performance even survived more than a whiff of garlic that pervaded the theatre towards the end of Act I. It’s a regular problem at Milton Keynes (it comes from the restaurants next door), but fortunately this vampire wasn’t scared off and hung around for the still dramatic finale.

On the way out a teenage boy was talking about it being “brilliant” and how much he had enjoyed it. He wasn’t the only one.

NBT’s ‘Dracula’ next plays at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham from 18th to 22nd October. However, I understand there are no further dates planned in 2005-6.


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