The romantic antics of a touring dance company are played out on one midsummer night as the company travels by sleeper train from London to Edinburgh. Dior inspired costumes and stylish black and white sets provide a dazzling contrast to the glorious Technicolor of the dream-world, whilst David Nixon's choreography brings out the comedy, romance and entanglements of this enchanting story.
Choreography: David Nixon Set Design: Duncan Hayler Music: Mendelssohn and Brahms
Premier Dancers Tobias Batley Martha Leebolt Pippa Moore Hironao Takahashi Kenneth Tindall Javier Torres
David Nixon Artistic Director David Nixon is in his tenth year as Artistic Director for Northern Ballet.
David trained as a dancer in the National Ballet School of Canada and his career began at the National Ballet of Canada where he progressed rapidly through the ranks to become a principal dancer, dancing lead roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire. In 1985 he joined the Deutsche Oper Ballet in Berlin as principal dancer where he won the Critics Award for Best Male Performance (1987) and continued to increase his own choreographic output. This included producing and directing a successful mixed programme - David Nixon's Liaisons - at the Hebbel Theatre, Berlin in 1990.
Nixon left Berlin for a series of principal guest artist positions with National Ballet of Canada, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich and Royal Winnipeg Ballet before returning to Deutsche Oper Ballet in 1994 as first ballet master. His guest artist credits also include: Birmingham Royal Ballet; Komische Oper; Deutsche Staatsoper; Hamburg Ballet and Sydney City Ballet.
In 1994 David became Artist Director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio USA, During his six-years with the company he added sixteen world and fifteen company premieres to the repertoire. Companies in Canada, the USA and South Africa have since staged David's productions.
David came to Northern Ballet in 2001 and has added an impressive array of new works into the repertoire including the hugely popular Madame Butterfly, Wuthering Heights, the Gershwin extravaganza, I Got Rhythm, Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Pan, Dracula, The Three Musketeers, A Sleeping Beauty Tale, The Nutcracker and Hamlet. His dark and exciting new production of Hamlet toured in Spring 2008.
His work has received recognition: A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Three Musketeers were nominated for an Olivier award; The Three Musketeers won a Manchester Evening News (MEN) Theatre Award and Madame Butterfly and A Midsummer Night's Dream were nominated for an MEN Award; David was voted Director of the Year by readers of Dance Europe in 2003 and 2006; and NBT received the audience award at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for three successive years (2004, 2005, 2006) and the Patron's Award in 2009. In January 2010 David was awarded an OBE for his services to dance in the Queen's New Year Honours list.
Northern Ballet Founded in Manchester in 1969 and based in Leeds since 1996, Northern Ballet has grown to become one of the UK's best loved companies and an important international cultural ambassador. Northern Ballet's productions mix classical dance and theatre, embracing popular culture and taking inspiration from literature (Dangerous Liaisons, A Christmas Carol, Wuthering Heights), opera (Carmen, Madame Butterfly, La Traviata), or giving a unique interpretation of classical ballets (Swan Lake, The Nutcracker).
Northern Ballet attracts talented dancers from all over the world, drawn to the Company's unique style of strong narrative work with popular appeal. Dancers hail from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and, of course, England. The Company tours throughout the UK, including to London, and regularly performs overseas, most recently in Thailand (2005 & 2010), China (2006 & 2007), USA (2008), Italy (2009) and Spain (2010).
In 2010 Northern Ballet's Artistic Director David Nixon was awarded an OBE for his services to dance in the Queen's New Years Honours list. Under David's leadership the Company has enjoyed acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The Company received the Audience Award at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for three successive years in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and the Patron's Award in 2008.
HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, KCVO is now the Royal Patron of Northern Ballet. He took the position after HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, the former Royal Patron of NBT passed away.
Ballet studio. Midsummer Day.
Class ends, and the company prepare for a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. The Artistic Director, Theseus, soon to be married to Hippolyta, his Principal Dancer, has decided it is time for her to bring her career to a close, and to remove her from her role as Juliet. He is encouraged by his Ballet Master, Robin Puck, to select his protégée Demetrius as Romeo to Hermia's Juliet. She wants to dance the role with Lysander as they are in love. Demetrius is also at the moment infatuated with Hermia and has jilted her best friend Helena. To complicate matters further, Nick Bottom, the company carpenter, is in love with Hippolyta. The rehearsal disintegrates and Theseus angrily calls it to a halt and the company disperses to prepare for the overnight train journey to their touring engagement in Edinburgh.
Left alone Hippolyta contemplates life without dance, and though Theseus attempts to persuade her towards her new life as his wife, she breaks from him in distress, leaving him alone in the studio.
Puck retrieves and pockets Hippolyta's discarded pointe shoes from the studio as the shadows darken.
Kings Cross Station, evening.
The dancers and crew board the sleeper, en route for Edinburgh.
The Flying Scotsman
On the train tempers and sleeping arrangements are affected by the day's events. The train enters the tunnel to begin its journey North into Midsummer Night.
Fairyland – Midsummer Night.
As Theseus sleeps, he dreams. His status alters and he is Oberon, King of Fairyland, warring with his Queen, Titania, mirroring the problems of real life. Everyone, including the audience, enters his dream. Initially Oberon is intent on punishing Titania and sends his henchman Puck to find the magical juice that will cause her to fall in love with the next living creature that she sees, preferably a wild animal!
Puck, discovering Nick Bottom in his dream rehearsing as Romeo with the crew, transforms him into a donkey and leads him to the sleeping Fairy Queen. The charm works and Titania takes the delighted donkey to her bower, deleriously in love.
Through the shortest night the young couples' confusions grow as Puck mistakenly places the love juice on Lysander's eyes who falls instantly in love with Helena. Puck and Oberon finally release them all from the spell and the Fairy King and his Queen move beyond anger and manipulation and are lovingly reconciled.
The train and Edinburgh Waverley Station – Morning
Arriving at their destination the next morning, the company awake to the new day, sleepily recalling their dreams and leave the train for the theatre in wonder, at their reconciliation and new found happiness.
The Theatre - Night
The audience enthusiastically applaud the end of Romeo and Juliet, danced by Hermia and Demetrius. The company congratulate them and happily celebrate the engagement of all three couples with a backstage party. As the evening ends, Puck gathers up the remnants of the dream.