Tuesday, May 28

Northern Ballet release their first inclusive dance film

In a first for Northern Ballet performers from the company and dancers from their Ability course for adults with additional learning support needs have joined forces in a pioneering dance film created by director and choreographer Ben Wright.  

Every Little Thing is a Change was developed in a series of workshops at Northern Ballet’s headquarters in Leeds exploring how a touch, a look or a feeling can transport all of us into another world. The film premièred at Northern Ballet’s inclusive dance festival Expressions, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in July this year, and is now available online. An audio described version of the film will also be released.   

The short film is Northern Ballet’s next step in exploring how inclusive dance can be more closely linked with the core work of a professional ballet company. In March 2024 the Company will be exploring this further as two members of Ability will be part of one of the casts of Romeo & Juliet at Leeds Grand Theatre.   

“I am extremely proud to have been invited to make this short work with Northern Ballet, a company who are clearly centralising a rationale to make art to further equality, representation, and diversity as a primary objective,” says Ben Wright. “That is no mean feat, particularly for a ballet company. Ability and their team of astonishing support workers contributed constantly to the makeup of the project, and nothing is more gratifying for a director than to say ‘yes let’s do that’.”

Northern Ballet offers a range of dance activities to suit a variety of access needs. As well as Ability they run In Motion, for wheelchair users, and hold audio described performances with accompanying touch tours on their national tour.  

This year they will be providing audio described performances of their children’s ballet Tortoise & The Hare in Leeds. The Company is also a leader in the field of inclusive dance practice research having been the lead partner on the Shift Dance resource.  

“Every step we have taken so far towards integrating inclusive dance further into our Company has been such a joy, and it is part of my vision to continue to seek ways to do this,” pledges Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director Federico Bonelli.

“Being on set during the filming of Every Little Thing is a Change was a privilege, seeing these two groups of dancers come together was nothing short of magical, and I can’t wait for the wider world to share in just a bit of that joy. Up next, we’re getting ready to welcome Ability dancers on stage as villagers in Romeo & Juliet in Leeds next year,”

Every Little Thing is a Change can be watched in full for free on Northern Ballet’s digital dance platform at www.northernballet.com/digital-dance