Northern Ballet announces new digital season

David Mead

Northern Ballet is launching a new digital season of dance running through February and March including What Used To, No Longer Is, an new dance film by Olivier Award-winning choreographer Mthuthuzeli November. In addition, the Company will première two more original films; Northern Lights and Have Your Cake, by the company’s Artistic Director of Digital and Choreographer in Residence, Kenneth Tindall.

The season also includes Cathy Marston’s Victoria which will be released on-demand, whilst an excerpt of Kenneth Tindall’s States of Mind, part of the BBC and Sadler’s Wells’ Dancing Nation, now available to watch online.

Matthew Topliss and Sarah Chun in Northern LightsPhoto Emily Nuttall
Matthew Topliss and Sarah Chun in Northern Lights
Photo Emily Nuttall

Opening the season on February 5, 2021 is the premiere of Northern Lights, the second collaboration between Tindall and filmmaker Dan Lowenstein. It adds the beauty and art of ballet into the streets of Leeds, converting the city’s walls and landscapes into an imaginative playground of movement.

Available from February 19, Cathy Marston’s award-winning Victoria is a glimpse into the life of the monarch, whose diaries revealed a story so fascinating that her daughter Beatrice tried to rewrite history.

Partly inspired by how baking became big during the first lockdown, Tindall’s Have Your Cake is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek short film exploring the playfulness of a group of friends making the best of it. The film has its premiered on March 5.

Lorenzo Trossello, Minju Kang, Kevin Poeung, Sarah Chun and Harris Beattie in Have Your Cake. Photo Emily Nuttall
Lorenzo Trossello, Minju Kang, Kevin Poeung, Sarah Chun and Harris Beattie
in Have Your Cake
. Photo Emily Nuttall

The final premiere comes on March 19, when Olivier award-winning Ballet Black artist Mthuthuzeli November makes his choreographic debut with Northern Ballet with What Used To, No Longer Is. Choreographed and created entirely remotely, it explores the evolution of life, the passing of time and the human response to the beauty of an ever-growing life, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Already available via BBC iPlayer (UK) and the Sadler’s Wells website (overseas) as part of their Dancing Nation collaboration is an excerpt from Tindall’s States of Mind, an abstract response to a selection of experiences from the events of 2020.

Minju Kang with Ayami Miyata and Kyungka Kwak in States of MindPhoto Emma Kauldhar
Minju Kang with Ayami Miyata and Kyungka Kwak in States of Mind
Photo Emma Kauldhar

The films will be released on every two weeks from 5 Feb – 19 Mar 2021. All will be available to stream for free, but viewers are encouraged to pay what they can to help the Company on its mission to bring world-class dance to everyone, everywhere. Contributions can be made at

Kenneth Tindall said: “Northern Ballet has turned a challenging situation into an incredibly creative and inspired time. While we have not been to hold live performances due to Covid-19 restrictions, we have been able to establish a safe way to continue working to create new digital dance and experiment with filming away from the stage. I am especially excited that we commissioned the hugely talented Mthuthuzeli November to work with us for the first time. Developing and innovating with our digital offering is integral to the evolution of our artform and I am proud of what the Company has delivered.”

More good news for Northern Ballet comes with the award of £600,000 following a successful application to Garfield Weston Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund. The grant will be used primarily to finance the capture of the company’s new full-length ballet Merlin, and a brand-new children’s ballet, both set to première in the autumn.

Northern Ballet is presently reaching over 3.4m people a year via cinema, TV and online. The company explain that the award will significantly increase its digital output so that it can continue to reach audiences until it is able to return to normal touring activities

Mark Skipper, Chief Executive of Northern Ballet, said, “We are incredibly grateful to the Weston Culture Fund for awarding us this game-changing grant and for their continued confidence in the excellence of our performances on stage and screen. We have firm plans to return to touring this spring and autumn, and this grant will complement this activity and enable us to reach significantly more audiences so that we may continue to break down barriers to dance and ensure ballet is accessible to everyone, everywhere.”

For details of all Northern Ballet’s available and upcoming digital works see