REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2022

 

Northern Ballet captivates theatregoers with vibrant parties and impassioned partnering in The Great Gatsby.

An invitation to this lavish narrative ballet, set in an era of dreaming and dancing, is the perfect way to welcome Northern Ballet back to the city. David Nixon’s stylish production captures the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel by gliding through scenes that fizz with razzmatazz, romance, reflection and rage.

Fitzgerald’s poetic, perceptive prose provides a sage social commentary on a particular age – the Roaring Twenties. Still, Gatsby’s story is as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1925. Why? Well, because it deftly explores universal themes, including love, loneliness and longing.

 

Northern Ballet dancers Abigail Prudames, Joseph Taylor and Sean Bates as Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. Daisy and Gatsby are dancing together while Nick observes from a distance.

 

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NEWS: Join the party when Northern Ballet returns with ‘The Great Gatsby’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2022

 

Everyone is invited to a sparkling revival of Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby at Milton Keynes Theatre this month.

This Jazz Age ballet swings through the Roaring Twenties, bringing the lavish lifestyle and complex relationships depicted in the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel to the stage. Ambition, passion and obsession drive his tragic story of wealth, excess and doomed love affairs.

Nick Carraway arrives on New York’s Long Island in 1922 in pursuit of the American dream. Here, he reconnects with his incredibly rich cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom. As an observant and inquisitive outsider, Nick is well placed to wonder whether their union was ever true love or has instead always been a marriage of convenience. When he is introduced to Jordan Baker, a no-nonsense professional golfer and socialite, he is immediately interested in her and they start casually dating.

Nick is most intrigued by his neighbour, Jay Gatsby – a mysterious millionaire who throws extravagant parties to escape reality and chase his past happiness. As Nick learns more about the self-made man behind the glitz and glamour, he realises that everything Gatsby does is in pursuit of an impossible dream.

 

Promotional photo of Northern Ballet dancers Nicola Gervasi and Antoinette Brooks-Daw in costume as Gatsby and Daisy from The Great Gatsby. The male dancer is holding the female dancer by the waist during a supported jump and fireworks are lighting up the night sky behind them.

 

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NEWS: Social Disdancing – The COVID-19 Pandemic, Spring 2020

 

Social Disdancing’ is just one of the many unusual expressions that have been added to our everyday vocabulary in recent weeks. Since efforts were intensified to curb the global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we have become familiar with countries being on lockdown, adhering to social distancing, and complying with requests to self-isolate or quarantine. The reality of a pandemic and the critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) is receiving unparalleled attention during the unprecedented outbreak.

This is new terminology for an unnerving new world.

Life under lockdown is predominantly characterised by the suspension of our normal routines, enforced by government guidance to “stay at home and away from others” (also known as social or physical distancing). It is a time of immense uncertainty for everybody and the repercussions on physical health, mental health, incomes, education, careers – indeed, the socio-economic status of entire countries – are undeniable.

Under normal circumstances, dance is part of who I am. I teach ballet students. I write about dance performances. I take class, thriving in a studio with like-minded individuals and time to dedicate to myself.

Whenever any aspect of my life feels uncertain, dance becomes increasingly important to me.

Under the current abnormal circumstances, schools, studios, gyms, theatres and countless other venues and businesses are closed indefinitely. But dance is still part of who I am. And times are categorically uncertain. So, I’m dancing through this crisis. At home. And I’m not alone because the wonderful world of dance has earnestly embraced social disdancing.

 

Social Disdancing. Illustration of Georgina Butler doing ballet at home by illustrator Gaia Leandri.

 

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NEWS: Northern Ballet’s ‘Dracula’ promises to be a ballet with bite – Cinemas nationwide, 31 October 2019

 

Be enthralled by the dark tale of an enduring horror figure at a live cinema screening of Northern Ballet’s Dracula this Halloween.

Tonight’s performance of the ballet at Leeds Playhouse will be broadcast in cinemas nationwide as an atmospheric alternative to the usual fright night films. Created and choreographed by Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon OBE, this production of Dracula promises to seduce audiences with sensuous dancing, gripping theatre and eerie music.

The gothic narrative follows a series of chilling events that occur when Count Dracula – an elegant and charismatic immortal of the night, who survives by drinking human blood – leaves his native Transylvania and travels to England. This brooding bloodsucker has become obsessed with his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray. Predictably, once the Count is on Mina’s home turf, he inflicts havoc by terrorising new victims to get close to her.

Amid passion and power struggles, Mina finds herself wavering between remaining virtuous and succumbing to eternity as a vampire. Could Count Dracula really be caught up in an intense search for legitimate love under the cover of darkness, or is he simply a perverted predator biding his time?

Dance lovers seeking a Halloween treat should expect sinister solos and hot-blooded pas de deux scenes as this ballet with bite unfolds.

 

Northern Ballet' Dracula. Javier Torres as Dracula and Abigail Prudames as Mina. Photo by Emma Kauldhar.

 

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘Victoria’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2019

 

Northern Ballet’s Victoria is an enthralling epic that intelligently and emotively chronicles Queen Victoria’s life as a monarch and mother.

Created to celebrate this year’s 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, the ambitious two-act ballet is the impressive handiwork of acclaimed British choreographer Cathy Marston. Her spirited exploration of Victoria as a passionate woman, emblematic queen, working mother and stricken widow inventively depicts some of the most significant events in this remarkable Royal’s life.

Working alongside dramaturg Uzma Hameed, Marston has managed to condense Victoria’s lengthy reign (she spent 63 of her 81 years on the throne) into two hours of absorbing dance.

 

Northern Ballet's 'Victoria'. Two dancers depict Victoria and Albert embracing. A third dancer, in the role of Princess Beatrice, watches them in delight.

 

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