World Première: Geisha

Northern Ballet kicks of new 50th anniversary season with haunting tale of sisterhood and sacrifice

Coming in March 2020, Northern Ballet will première an evocative original ballet, Geisha, by choreographer Kenneth Tindall. The first new production of the Company’s 50th anniversary year, Geisha sees the lives of two young women torn painfully apart as encounters from beyond the grave unleash an unexpected vengeance on their world. Geisha premières at Leeds Grand Theatre in March 2020, followed by performances in four more cities until May 2020.

In Northern Ballet’s Geisha, Aiko and Okichi are inseparable until a collision between East and West begins to change their lives forever. Bound to be hospitable to their western visitors, the two young geishas find themselves irrevocably set on different paths. As Okichi falls into despair, she seeks freedom from dishonour in death. But, instead of finding peace, Okichi passes through the veil of the spirit world and returns to the world of the living as a ghostly apparition. Driven by hurt and rage, she takes her revenge and heedlessly shatters Aiko’s life. Now, only an act of true devotion will help Okichi find redemption.

Geisha is the second full-length ballet choreographed by Kenneth Tindall, Northern Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence, whose previous work for the Company includes the acclaimed Casanova. The original score is composed by Alexandra Harwood and will be played live at every performance by Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Sets and costumes are designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Alastair West. Dramatist Gwyneth Hughes, and Historical Consultant Lesley Downer complete the creative team.

Kenneth Tindall, said: ‘I am full of excitement and ambition for this new commission for Northern Ballet’s 50th anniversary and my second full-length ballet for this wonderful company. I am grateful to David Nixon and Mark Skipper for their confidence in my vision and for allowing me to create an original story with Gwyneth Hughes. I am thrilled that Christopher Oram is designing the sets and costumes and Alastair West is designing the lighting. Alexandra Harwood is composing a completely new score and has been a dream to work with so far and with historical consultation from Lesley Downer, we have what feels like the perfect creative bubble. The mysterious and intriguing world of the Geisha is the perfect palette with which to paint this ballet and I can’t wait to explore this world with the talented dancers at Northern Ballet.’

Tickets for Geisha are on sale now for all venues. For details and booking information visit northernballet.com/geisha

Age guidance 12+

Photo: Guy Farrow