David Mead

Northern Ballet dancers Isaac Lee Baker and Nicola Gervasi in Concertante. Photo © Emma Kauldhar

Northern Ballet dancers Isaac Lee Baker and Nicola Gervasi in Hans van Manen’s ‘Concertante’.
Photo © Emma Kauldhar

Northern Ballet will make their first visit to the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre from 8-10 May with four performances of an interesting looking triple bill.

Although the company are best known for their full-length narrative ballets, triple bills are not entirely new for them. Balletgoers in their home city of Leeds will recall the excellent “Kingdom of the Shades”/“Angels in the Architecture”/”Simple Man” programme of 2009, amongst others. As Artistic Director David Nixon explained at the time, though, theatres around the UK, and even Sadler’s Wells in London, are reluctant to take a chance on such programmes, believing them hard to sell. Sadly, he is probably correct.

This inaugural visit to the Linbury will, though, give London audiences the opportunity to see the company in rather more diverse repertory for the first time.

The May programme will feature “Concertante” by Hans van Manen, who has created more than 100 short classical ballets during his illustrious 60 year career with Nederlands Dans Theatre and the Dutch National Ballet, among many others. Van Manen previously worked with Northern Ballet when the Company first staged the classical piece, set to Frank Martin’s Petite Symphonie Concertante, in their 2013 mixed programme performed in Leeds.

Lar Lubovitch’s “Concerto Six Twenty-Two”, meanwhile, marks Northern Ballet’s first venture with the leading American choreographer. Choreographed in 1986 and set to Mozart’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, the ballet is a stunningly beautiful portrayal of male dance duets in what has become one of Lubovitch’s most celebrated pieces.

Completing the programme is Kenneth Tindall’s “Luminous Junc·ture”, set to music by Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds and Hans Zimmer, with costumes designed by Manchester-based fashion designer, Emma Guilfoyle. This is his second commission for Northern Ballet, and which debuted in Leeds in 2013. to great acclaim.

Booking: www.roh.org.uk or 0207 304 4000.