Dance fans will be seduced by the world’s greatest lover when Northern Ballet brings its sensual new production to Milton Keynes Theatre.

The much-anticipated Casanova is award-winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall’s first ever full-length ballet. Now hot property as a dancemaker, Tindall was a premier dancer with Northern Ballet for twelve years before he retired from performing in 2015. This means he completely understands the internationally-acclaimed company’s ambition to tell stories that audiences can immerse themselves in and connect with.

Giacomo Casanova’s story is so sensational that it is hard to believe it is true. History’s most notorious playboy lived a life full of sexual conquests, scandal and adventure – and he wrote about it all in vivid detail in his memoirs.

Tindall, in collaboration with Casanova’s biographer Ian Kelly, has devised a scenario for his two-act ballet that will unmask the 18th Century Italian stallion and expose Casanova’s humanity. Between them, they have condensed twelve volumes of Casanova’s memoirs into 100 minutes of narrative-driven dance theatre.

 

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As an English National Ballet Dance is the Word writer, I was asked to write an article describing my experience of meeting other journalists, bloggers and writers and watching this year’s nominated Emerging Dancer competitors in rehearsal and performance.

My piece, Dance is the Word: An Inside Perspective, was featured on English National Ballet’s website as a post on their blog.

 

pointe shoes dancing writing dancing notepad

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YOUNG, TALENTED AND EMERGING

 

It can be hard for junior members of a ballet company to leave a lasting impression. Most of the dancers who reach the top companies will spend their career in the corps de ballet. This term (which literally means ‘body of the ballet’) refers to the dancers who generally work in a disciplined group, undifferentiated from each other. The objective is to blend in – not stand out.

Companies tend to grade their dancers (artist, first artist, soloist and first soloist, principal, lead principal) and nineteenth century ballets (which are still the foundation for most companies’ repertoire) were created to showcase those at the top of the hierarchy. Of course, talent does pay off and the most talented dancers will eventually receive promotion. However, for the public, opportunities to really see what junior artists are capable of are limited.

This is why English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer competition is so warmly received by balletomanes. The competition is an annual opportunity for English National Ballet to nurture and showcase the talent of its up-and-coming dancers.

 

English National Ballet 'Emerging Dancers': Vitor Menezes,

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer participants for 2014: (l to r) Vitor Menezes, Junor Souza, Alison McWhinney, Senri Kou, Joan Sebastian Zamora and Madison Keesler (Photo by Laurent Liotardo)

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Time to shine as English National Ballet celebrates its Emerging Dancers…

 

Timing is everything – in life and in dance. This proved true for English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer 2014 as two past competitors were declared joint winners.

Judges Deborah Bull CBE, Clement Crisp OBE, Dame Gillian Lynne DBE, Arlene Phillips CBE, Tamara Rojo and Wayne Sleep OBE deemed it time for Alison McWhinney (previously 2013 participant) and Junor Souza (2012) to ‘emerge’.

Performing Perrot’s Esmeralda Pas de Deux, at London’s packed Lyceum Theatre, both dancers sparkled – and not just because their forest-green costumes were adorned with gold.

 

English National Ballet's 'Emerging Dancer' 2014 joint winners Junor Souza and Alison McWhinney (Photography by ASH)

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer 2014 joint winners Junor Souza and Alison McWhinney (Photography by ASH)

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