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Theatre Review: Perpetual Motion, Northern Ballet, Leeds

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NOTHING will prompt as varied a response as a mixed bill, and nothing could be more intriguing than one produced by Northern Ballet.

Known for their narrative works, any attempt by the company to collate choreography with such varied inspiration has to be a crowd-teaser.

And it couldn’t be more varied than Perpetual Motion.

The opening piece, Perpetuum Mobile, is a more conventional piece of ballet set against the sound of Bach. It is one which will please the purists but leave those looking for something modern disappointed.

But the second piece, Project#1, sees Northern Ballet dancer Kenneth Tindall produce a fantastic piece of contemporary dance alongside the emotive sounds of strings and haunting samples of Dinah Washington. This is a complete triumph.

After the interval comes Glass Cannon, a captivating and explosive piece of mystic dance set against a similar score. This won’t be to everyone’s taste but, strangely, it holds your attention throughout.

Finally, David Nixon produces Rhapsody in Blue, a fluid slab of old school choreography which is enchanting as it glides along to the sounds of Gershwin played live on the clarinet and piano.

Although every piece is unlikely to entirely win over every audience member, perhaps the greatest achievement here is in bringing together such a varied selection which has something which everyone can appreciate to some degree.

But perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of this show is being able to view it in the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre at Northern Ballet’s new headquarters on Quarry Hill. Although the stage is the same size as that of Leeds Grand Theatre it is so intimate that you often experience the dance a few feet from where you’re sitting, which is both sublime and, sadly, all too rare.

To Saturday, Northern Ballet, Quarry Hill, Leeds, £15, 7.30pm, Tel. 0113 2208008 www.northernballet.com

Rod McPhee

 

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