Aerys Merrill and Julie Nunès in "Casanova". Photo Riku Ito

Steps have to tell the story

Kenneth Tindall about the process of creating and filming ballets

By Deborah Weiss

Kenneth Tindall, former principal dancer, Resident Choreographer and Director of Digital for Northern Ballet, is considered to be one of the most outstanding dance-creators of his generation. The recipient of many accolades, awards and in demand internationally as well as in the UK, when we speak, he is preparing a new full-length version of Carmen which will premiere at the beginning of November with

Tulsa Ballet. But he wasn’t always keen to choreograph and needed some persuasion.

Kenneth Tindall, Joseph Taylor and Christelle Horna in rehearsal for Casanova. Photo Emily Nuttall How did it all start?

I was still dancing at the time. Northern Ballet were moving into its new building with 7 studios. For the first time they had the space to do a choreographic lab. It was 2011 and I had done about 180 shows that year and I saw a two week gap at the end of the season where I could rest and recover. David Nixon, my director, asked me if I would like to try and create something for the lab. I said, ‘No thank you, I’d like to take a rest!’ Less than 24 hours later he came back to me saying he thought I should definitely try and if I didn’t, he would put me in everybody else’s pieces. He would tell this story differently but my account is definitely the right one! So I found myself in a studio with 3 dancers, a piece of music I’d chosen and 6 minutes to choreograph. I didn’t know what I was doing. But it changed everything because my wife entered the piece for the International Choreographic Competition in Hanover where it won the Production Prize. That catapulted my choreographic career…

Read the  whole interview in our issue 105

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