Northern Ballet’s Autumn 2024 Season Opens With Triple Bill: Three Short Ballets

Northern Ballet has announced a new programme of works, Three Short Ballets, to be performed in Leeds at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre from 6 to 14 September and in London in early 2025.|

The programme includes two world premières by Mthuthuzeli November and Kristen McNally and a Northern première of Rudi van Dantzig’s Four Last Songs.

The mixed programme has become a staple of the Company’s repertoire since 2018, designed to challenge the boundaries of classical ballet and invite new choreographic voices to the fore.

TSB Generations. Photograph by Guy Farrow.

Opening the programme will be a previously announced original work from Olivier-award winning Mthuthuzeli November. Inspired by R.L. Peteni’s South African novel Hill of Fools and Shakespeare’s Romeo and JulietFools will tell a tale of bitter rivalry between two villages. Known for his unique fusion of dance styles, November’s third collaboration with Northern Ballet promises an emotionally stirring performance, complementing the talents of the Company’s dancers. 

The second world première will be an as yet untitled piece from Kristen McNally, Choreographer and Principal Character Artist at The Royal Ballet. This new ballet will see McNally work with two Northern Ballet dancers and Joe Powell-Main, an exceptional, disabled dancer who uses wheels and crutches. McNally and Powell-Main previously worked together on Sleepwalker for The Royal Ballet and will be expanding their exploration of fusing ballet and inclusive dance.  

“I am excited to be part of Three Short Ballets with Northern Ballet later on this year. I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to beginning the creation process in the summer. Having worked with Kristen previously, it is wonderful to have the chance to work with her again. I am looking forward to sharing this new work with audiences, both in Leeds and in London.”  Joe Powell-Main

Aaron Kok in Romeo & Juliet. Photograph by Emily Nuttall.

In the last year, Northern Ballet has championed inclusive dance through projects like Every Little is a Change, a ground-breaking dance film featuring Company dancers and participants from Ability, their programme for adults with additional learning support needs. This commitment extends to the stage, when two dancers from Ability joined the cast of Romeo & Juliet at Leeds Grand Theatre this March. McNally’s new commission promises to continue placing inclusive dance at the forefront, celebrating diversity and accessibility in the world of ballet.
The final piece in the lineup is Dutch classic Four Last Songs, choreographed by Rudi van Dantzig. Created in 1977 by the then Artistic Director of Dutch National Ballet, Four Last Songs is a breath-taking expression of love, loss and the beauty of the human experience. Performed to Richard Strauss’ composition by the same name, the ballet is danced by four couples with four segments beautifully mirroring the music.  Three Short Ballets will première at Leeds Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre on the 6 September.

Tickets are on sale and are available to book here.

Main image: Sarah Chung. Photograph by Guy Farrow.