Ballet dancer jumping across stage
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Dance tour introduces ballet to thousands of UK children

Posted on 08 May 2015

Northern Ballet’s Short Ballets for Small People has reached more than 63,000 children and been adapted for CBeebies. Many children never get introduced to ballet. But with our funding, the dance company has been able to develop and tour their programme, engaging the next generation with the art form.

Northern Ballet created a pioneering series of original ballets to introduce families and young children to live dance, music and theatre. The shows are performed in small and informal settings with affordable tickets for those who would not ordinarily enjoy the arts or go to ballet.

In the North, venues have included Hull Truck Theatre, Barnsley Civic, Harrogate Theatre, the Kala Sangam Arts Centre and St George's Hall in Bradford, the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, The Spa Bridlington and CAST in Doncaster.

"The children's ballets are classic tales beautifully retold through dance and are a perfect introduction to ballet,” says Selina McGonagle, Director of Learning at Northern Ballet. “We hope to inspire children and their families through these entertaining and enchanting performances to develop a love for dance, music and theatre.”

How our funding helped

We initially supported this project in 2012 through our Strategic Touring funding. Following the huge success of the ballet tour, we’ve been able to grant them a further £600,000 towards the schemes expansion in 2015. This investment allows Northern Ballet, a National Portfolio organisation, to continue to tour and develop new performances until 2018.

Over the next three years, Northern Ballet will put on 324 performances of three new children's ballets. The first of these will be Tortoise & the Hare, set to tour the UK in spring 2016.

63,000 new ballet fans

More than 63,000 people have attended live performances of the Short Ballets for Small People over the last three years. These dance performances have included magical fairy tales such as Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs and Elves & the Shoemaker. 

Over 1.4 million people have watched the TV adaptations made for CBeebies. The adaption of Ugly Duckling, the first of Northern Ballet's works especially for children, even received a BAFTA.