10:50am Monday 13th February 2012
By Charles Hutchinson
THE Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre may be an unfamiliar name to you.
You will find it in the new home of Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance in the blossoming Quarry Hill arts and media quarter of Leeds.
It is a studio space, distinct from the larger expanses of the Leeds Grand Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse stages, where Northern Ballet will continue to perform full-scale works.
The studio will enable David Nixon’s company to present programmes of short dance pieces, introducing choreographic debuts and previews of Northern Ballet’s next premiere, as well as works that stretch bodies and range of dancing in different ways.
Perpetual Motion is the first such mixed programme of more intimate pieces, its title echoed by the opening Perpetuum Mobile, one of Christopher Hampson’s early works for English National Ballet.
Danced to JS Bach with elegance and multi-layered motion, the show’s most “classically classical” dance of spins and jumps is followed by a piano and saxophone interlude before the premiere of Kenneth Tindall’s Project # 1, surely the closest Northern Ballet has crossed into modern, sexier, black clothed, Phoenix Dance territory, twitchy Alvo Noto sampled soundtrack, lighting on the blink et al.
The best received piece is Northern Ballet ballet master Daniel de Andrade’s Glass Cannon, an Eastern European gipsy folk dance that is witty, mischievous, rhythmic and throws in playful, surprising role reversals in the interplay between male and female.
The programme is rounded off with Rhapsody In Blue, David Nixon’s aperitif for May’s I Got Rhythm show.
Two pianos, a clarinet, and five couples fuse ballet and jazz most elegantly: so romantic for the St Valentine’s season.
Northern Ballet, Perpetual Motion, Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds, until February 18. Box office: 0113 220 8008 or theatreleeds.com
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