Doncaster audiences enjoy excellent performances from Northern Ballet at Cast

Northern Ballet gave a fabulous display of artistry and versatility when they performed Three Short Ballets at Cast in Doncaster.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 13:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 14:34 pm
Northern Ballet dancers Mlindi Kulashe, Javier Torres and Antoinette Brooks-Daw in The Kingdom of Back from Three Short Ballets

The performance marked the Leeds-based dance company’s 50th anniversary and showcased how high they have now set the bar (or barre, I guess).

The first piece, The Kingdom of Back, looked at the childhoods of brother and sister Wolfgang and Nannerl and the way that their father Leopold pushed their precocious musical talent.

The formida ly-talented player Nannerl was eventually pushed into her brother’s shadow after early performances together, relegated to the background as Wolfgang soared away and eventually even out of his father’s control.

Three Short Ballets from Northern Ballet, performed at Cast in Doncaster

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Antoinette Brooks-Daw brilliantly displayed how her dancing is allied to great acting skills and expressiveness.

She made the most of witty moments and was beautifully partnered by Mlindi Kulashe as her brother and Javier Torres as their father.

The music was a fascinating mix of Bach and Mozart given a modern twist and partly performed by the Swingle Singers, and a Leopold Mozart composition, with even a snatch of a smokily-sung cover of David Bowie's Life on Mars thrown in.

The beautiful Kimie Nakano costumes added to the sense of precision and clean lines that came from the dancers.

The entire piece, created by Morgann Runacre-Temple, was powerful, moving and absorbing.

The second work, Powerhouse Rhumba, was created by company artistic director David Nixon 10 years ago for an anniversary gala, to showcase the dancers’ energy and talents.

It certainly did that very well and the combination of the sportswear-influenced costumes and the expansive, soaring-sounding music from Graeme Koehne made me think of an international athletics competition, where everyone is striving to perform at their peak.

The finale, For An Instant, was intended by choreographer Amaury Lebrun to depict different, fleeting moments in life.

Like Powerhouse Rhumba, it was more abstract in content than The Kingdom of Back, which told a more clear story.

I found the piece moving and compelling, as larger and smaller groups came together and then moved on, constantly forming and re-forming.

One moment right at the end, when Sean Bates, who had danced wonderfully throughout the piece, briefly stepped out of a line to execute some swift movements, seemed to be suggestive of death.

The whole piece had such a lot of power, energy and rhythm, with exciting moments of sinuous movement.

The audience quite rightly showed their enthusiasm for the entire company, who were on peak form for the whole show.

For more Northern Ballet, head to the Lyceum in Sheffield on September 24-8 for a revival of their version of Cinderella.