NEWS: Northern Ballet’s ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ just right for young visitors – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2017

 

Little ones are sure to love Northern Ballet’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  

The classic story is the latest offering in the company’s award-winning Short Ballets for Small People series. It follows the hugely successful tours of Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs, Elves and the Shoemaker and Tortoise and the Hare – all productions that have since been adapted for television by CBeebies.

With a running time of approximately forty minutes, these productions are specially created to introduce children and young families to the magic of live dance, music and theatre.

 

Northern Ballet's Golidlocks and the Three Bears. Jenny Hackwell as Goldilocks. Photography by Brian Slater.

 

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ – CBeebies, March 2016

 

Northern Ballet’s Tortoise and the Hare is a sunny, sporty, springtime delight.

Northern Ballet’s latest family-friendly production is a take on Aesop’s beloved fable Tortoise and the Hare. The show adds to the company’s growing repertoire of short story ballets, which have been carefully concocted with younger audience members in mind.

Previous successes Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs and Elves and the Shoemaker captivated theatregoers nationwide and were made into popular television adaptations. As a result, my expectations are high for Tortoise and the Hare (currently on tour) and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (recently announced as the fifth show in the series).

Fortunately, Tortoise and the Hare has also been filmed for the small screen and it made its television debut on CBeebies this morning. Unsurprisingly, it proved to be the perfect Easter Monday pick-me-up.

 

Northern Ballet's 'Tortoise and the Hare'.

 

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘1984’ – BBC Four, February 2016

 

Northern Ballet is renowned for taking inspiration from literature, classical dance, theatre, opera and popular culture to develop new and original productions. The latest masterwork to be put under observation and reimagined through dance by the company is the cult classic political philosophy novel, 1984. George Orwell’s dystopian drama follows the moves of one Winston Smith. Winston lives in a world of absolute conformity where his every action is scrutinised by Big Brother, a sinister surveillance squad. However, when Winston crosses paths with a woman named Julia he dares to rebel by falling in love.

The significance of the surveillance state in our society demonstrates the enduring relevance of Orwell’s perceptive predictions. We may not have gone as far as branding independent thinking as “thoughtcrime” but the persecution of individualism is something that threatens us all as homogeneity and fear of difference reign.

In 1984, darkness always looms and lives are joyless. However, transfixed by a special small-screen showing of choreographer Jonathan Watkin’s interpretation for Northern Ballet on BBC Four last night, I could find nothing but joy in the power of dance to tell this tale of tyranny.

 

Dancers Tobias Batley and Martha Leebolt as Winston Smith and Julia in Northern Ballet's 1984.

 

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘Elves and the Shoemaker’ – May 2015

 

A couple of cheeky elves conjure up magical shoes that are made for dancing in Northern Ballet’s latest captivating production for children, Elves and the Shoemaker.

Inspired by the 1806 Brothers Grimm fairytale, Elves and the Shoemaker tells the story of a poor, hard-working and benevolent shoemaker called Bertie and his caring wife, Bettina. Despite their own struggles to make ends meet, they are extremely generous souls who go out of their way to help others. They become the recipients of an act of kindness themselves when two elves, named Tap and Stitch, pay them a visit one night.

These sprightly creatures transform the shoemaker’s very last piece of leather into a pair of magnificent shoes. They are a perfect fit for the next customer who enters the store and the sale means the delighted shoemaker has enough money to restock his workbench. To his amazement, the industrious elves return on multiple occasions and produce footwear to entice an assortment of shoppers. How will the shoemaker and his wife ever repay these helpful visitors?

 

Northern Ballet's Elves and the Shoemaker.

 

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NEWS: ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Countdown, August 2011

 

TIME TO DUST OFF OUR DANCING SHOES AS THE STRICTLY COUNTDOWN BEGINS

 

Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screens next month and the internet is full of rumours about which celebrities are set to surrender to the sequins and grace the dance floor with their presence.

Last year I was lucky enough to be part of the audience for one of the shows after applying online and fox-trotting down to BBC Studios ridiculously early to claim my place. After a thoroughly entertaining evening, I then wrote a feature for the Milton Keynes Citizen to share my experience with readers …

 

The cast of BBC show Strictly Come Dancing 2010. Picture shows: Standing l-r: Felicity Kendal, Gavin Henson, Goldie, Kara Tointon, Matt Baker, Michelle Williams, Jimi Mistry, Peter Shilton, Scott Maslen. Seated l-r: Paul Daniels, Patsy Kensit, Tina O'Brien, Pamela Stephenson, The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe. Picture courtesy of the BBC.

 

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