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Northern Ballet spring 2015

Posted on October 9, 2014

maillot romeo photo marie laure briane

maillot-romeo-photo-marie-laure-brianeNorthern Ballet has announced its spring 2015 season, including a new adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 by Jonathan Watkins, a season of iconic love stories, a new mixed bill and the company’s latest children’s ballet, The Elves and the Shoemaker.

The company, which recently won Best Company at the Taglioni European Ballet Awards, opens its spring 2015 season with the UK premiere of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo and Juliet (pictured) in Edinburgh in February. This will be the first time that a British company has danced a work by Maillot, who recently created a new version of The Taming of the Shrew for the Bolshoi Ballet. Romeo and Juliet will be danced in Edinburgh and Leeds in 2015, before returning to the repertoire for a national tour in 2016. In 2015, Romeo and Juliet will be followed by revivals of David Nixon’s ballets Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby.

Having received increased funding from Arts Council England from 2015 to 2018, Northern Ballet will also introduce a new strand of touring. It will perform Madame Butterfly and Christopher Hampson’s Perpetuum Mobile  at nine venues for the first time, with the potential to reach an extra 18,000 people.

The company will also mark its 45th anniversary with a Sapphire Gala at Leeds Grand Theatre on March 14, with Northern Ballet dancers and international guest artists. In May, Northern Ballet will perform a mixed programme in Leeds and at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre, including the London premiere of Kenneth Tindall’s latest ballet, The Architect.

As well as working with new choreographers Maillot and Watkins, the company will hold a choreographic laboratory in Leeds during May and June, inviting emerging dance-makers to work with the dancers on new narrative dance material.

In September 2015, Northern Ballet will dance the world premiere of 1984, based on George Orwell’s dystopian novel, in which Winston Smith battles against the 24-hour surveillance of “Big Brother”. The commissioned score for the ballet is by Tony-nominated composer Alex Baranowski, who worked with Watkins on his recent production of Kes. The ballet will be designed by Simon Daw, with lighting designs by Chris Davey.

David Nixon, Northern Ballet’s artistic director, said: “It’s an exciting time for Northern Ballet to be able to invest in the future of British dance… The increase in funding we received will allow us to further our objectives which include working with new choreographers, touring more widely and developing audiences, offering people everywhere more opportunities to experience captivating performances that are inspiring, emotional and intensely dramatic.”

For more details of the spring 2015 tour, see


Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Ballets de Monte Carlo production of Romeo and Juliet. Photograph: Marie-Laure Briane



Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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