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Behind the scenes of Northern Ballet’s Christmas production of Cinderella

PUBLISHED: 11:03 12 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:03 12 December 2013

Dancers Tobias Batley and  Martha Le Bolt.

Dancers Tobias Batley and Martha Le Bolt.

Joan Russell Photography

We go behind the scenes of Northern Ballet’s Christmas production of Cinderella with plans to pamper the principal dancers

Dancers Tobias Batley and  Martha Le Bolt.Dancers Tobias Batley and Martha Le Bolt.

No one really appreciates the rigorous training dancers at one of the country’s leading ballet companies undertake as they get ready for their next production than perhaps another professional dancer. But we got a pretty good idea after catching up with two of the principal dancers from Northern Ballet and their artistic director at the company’s Leeds studios.

Tobias Batley who plays the Prince and Martha Le Bolt who is Cinderella in Northern Ballet’s touring Christmas show along with artistic director David Nixon were persuaded to interrupt their gruelling training and rehearsal schedules to be spoiled by beauty experts from Harvey Nichols, Leeds and allow Yorkshire Life to take some exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs.

Artistic Director David Nixon with dancers Tobias Batley and  Martha Le Bolt.Artistic Director David Nixon with dancers Tobias Batley and Martha Le Bolt.

And although Northern Ballet has its own gym, spa and physiotherapy experts to help them achieve and maintain their fitness, there’s nothing quite like a little therapy to help dancers unwind. ‘It was interesting to see that Toby as a dancer went for oils to relax his muscles while David as creative director chose ones to de-stress and soothe his mind,’ says Espa expert Sarah Herring. ‘They chose automatically the oils that would benefit them most just by smell.’

Make-up of course helps dancers get into character and they are adept at doing their own but Laura Johnson from YSL also reminded them to cleanse thoroughly and moisturise to prevent skin damage and dehydration. ‘They know and understand how to use make-up but it’s so important to remove it thoroughly and always moisturise,’ she adds.

Emergency hair style repair came from Aveda expert Carol Bradman who helped dancer Martha LeBolt get ready for the ball with some strategically placed clips and volumising hair product. ‘Lots of dancers scrape their hair back away from their face and there is a danger of hairline alopecia so I would recommend a treatment that helps to strengthen and improve hair elasticity.’ A gentle scalp massage didn’t go amiss either.

Amy Roystone from dermalogica spent time face mapping – that’s carrying out skin analysis – to determine any issues before giving the appropriate advice and choosing from a menu of treatments which included relief for tired, itchy eyes as well as making shaving problems history.

But the one area dancers say no one should try to beautify and that’s their feet. ‘They can’t be soft and beautiful, they’ve got to be tough and horrible to dance,’ says Toby with a knowing smile.

‘Everything we do is geared to our health and fitness; everything we do affects our training and performance so we have to take care of ourselves and that includes eating well ( I don’t eat rubbish, but I do eat chocolate) and not staying out to 2am. Today has been interesting,’ he adds.


Northern Ballet’s brand new production of Cinderella is set in Imperial Russia at a time when superstitious people believe in the possibility of magic. The new adaptation of this classic fairytale sees heartbreak turn to joy as the unstoppable power of young love conquers all. A beautiful summer’s day turns into tragedy. Devastated by the loss of her father, and excluded by her cruel stepmother and sisters, Cinderella finds solace on the frozen lake where she first sees her Prince Charming. A magical encounter in a market place changes Cinderella’s destiny.

Journey through elegant Russia, with breathtaking winter scenes and opulent ballrooms created by Duncan Hayler (Beauty & the Beast, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). With a new score from Phillip Feeney played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, don’t miss this unforgettable ballet.

Directed and choreographed by artistic director David Nixon

December 17th-January 4th

World Premiere of Cinderella

Leeds Grand Theatre

0844 848 2701


April 2nd-5th

Hull New Theatre

01482 300300

Special thanks to

Harvey Nichols, Leeds

Briggate, Leeds LS1 6AZ

0113 204 8888

ESPA – relaxing/sports oil

Aveda– hair care and condition

dermalogica – unisex skin care

YSL – performance make up


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