Aaron Kok (left) with his four dancers

Following the success of Northern Ballet in LBC’s 2024 Choreographic Award, members were invited to observe a rehearsal of a selection of works due to appear in their upcoming Sketches programme. Devised in 2023 by their artistic director Federico Bonelli, Sketches nurtures new talent in classical dance with emerging choreographers given space to experiment before presenting their work on stage at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, housed within Northern Ballet’s premises in Leeds.

This was LBC’s first ever visit to Northern Ballet and the first organised visit outside London since Covid. Federico Bonelli introduced the programme to the 18 members some of whom had travelled from London and others who lived more locally. His only brief to the choreographers was that the theme for their work should be ‘pas de deux’. 

The first piece by Aaron Kok, a new member of Northern Ballet, used two couples dancing in pairs and with each other’s partners; the second piece by Chun-Yen-Chia, a former dancer turned backstage technician, explored the relationship between a young couple; and the third piece, by Albert Gonzáles Orts, had started as an abstract work but quickly developed into something more narrative. All the choreographers receive support from a mentor and all the works, although different in style, showed immense promise.                                                                               

Following the rehearsals we were given a tour of the six-storey 2010 building which also houses the contemporary Phoenix Dance Theatre company and is situated close to the Leeds Conservatoire in the Quarry Hill cultural quarter in the city centre.

Understandably, tickets for the performances scheduled for next month are completely sold out but LBC members have been invited to watch a full technical rehearsal of their critically acclaimed Romeo & Juliet being performed at Sadler’s Wells in May/June. Federico said afterwards that he hopes to develop closer ties with the London Ballet Circle and who could say no to that!

Following this event a donation to Northern Ballet of £300 was made.

The London Ballet Circle is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1123258 © 2021 The London Ballet Circle. All rights reserved unless explicitly stated otherwise.
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