Northern Ballet has released Ma Vie, an original dance film choreographed by the well-known hip-hop choreographer Dickson Mbi.
It features six Northern Ballet dancers together with guest artist Max Revell, the winner of BBC Young Dancer 2019. The film follows Northern Ballet’s national tour of Kenneth Tindall’s Casanova and is inspired by the same historical figure.
The Company chose to work with Dickson Mbi to produce an original contemporary piece that reimagines the legendary lothario’s story.
Dickson Mbi said:
My goal with Ma Vie was to revisit Casanova’s story and better understand who he was as a person. His story is often reduced to that of a ‘womaniser’ but he had an incredible life, full of suffering, conflicts and resilience, which is what I was interested in exploring in this work.
The process of collaborating with a team of freelance artists and Northern Ballet was incredibly rewarding. Directing, creating the concept and choreographing for film is different from stage and presented some challenges but we all worked together to create something I’m really proud of and excited to share.
Northern Ballet’s new Artistic Director, Federico Bonelli, said:
I am thrilled to see our work with Dickson Mbi produce such a powerful reinterpretation of the legend of Casanova.
Welcoming a diversity of styles and perspectives into our Company is hugely important and Dickson’s creative style, developed in the hip-hop dance community, has pushed the boundaries of ballet and brought new life to this fascinating story.
I am pleased that Dickson will go on to adapt this work for the stage ahead of our mixed programmes in Leeds and London later this year.
The ten-minute film is available to watch on Northern Ballet’s digital dance platform: https://northernballet.com/digital-dance/short-films/ma-vie
Work begins next week on the stage adaptation to be performed as part of Northern Ballet’s mixed programme Three Short Ballets, opening at Leeds Playhouse this September before its London première at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House in November.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.