Northern Ballet Theatre

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Christopher Gable (1940—1998) dancer, actor, and ballet director


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British dance company founded in 1969 in Manchester, but now based in Leeds in Yorkshire. Originally named Northern Dance Theatre, it was started by the Canadian choreographer Laverne Meyer to tour smaller theatres with a repertoire of new choreography by Meyer and others. He resigned in 1975 and Robert de Warren took over. He made fundamental alterations to the company, by hiring more dancers, adding more full-length ballets to the repertoire (including several of his own) and emphasizing its classical basis. At this point the name was changed. In 1987 the company underwent another dramatic change when Christopher Gable took over as artistic director. He gradually moved the repertoire away from the classics to original full-length productions, such as A Christmas Carol, The Brontës, Dracula, and Hunchback of Notre Dame, which brought dance and theatre ever closer together. Following Gable's death in 1998 the company faltered until David Nixon was appointed director in 2001. He has since maintained Gable's policies, choreographing his own narrative ballets for the company including Hamlet (2007) as well as commissioning new work such as Cathy Marston's A Tale of Two Cities (2008).

Subjects: Dance.

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