Fans of Northern Ballet’s productions are used to seeing premier dancers Californian, Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley, taking centre stage but it has been announced that they are to take a leave of absence from the company to pursue new opportunities.
However, the pair, who have formed a partnership under the directorship of David Nixon OBE, will return as resident guest artists to perform in Northern Ballet’s Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet from September to October.
Mr Nixon said of the pair: “Martha and Tobias have had an extraordinary journey with Northern Ballet from very young dancers in the corps, to the leading artists they are today. Through their hard work and commitment they have made a significant contribution to both my work and the company as individuals and as a creative and inspirational partnership.
“There comes a time, especially when a dancer has been in the same place for a long time, that artists needs to go out and discover new things which will enrich them and take them to new heights. Both Martha and Tobias are at this place in their lives and I respect their decision to broaden their life experience.
“This is not about saying goodbye forever and I am therefore pleased that they will both still be doing some performances with the company next season,” Mr Nixon added yesterday.
Mr Batley, was born in Preston and raised in Rivington, and together the pair have performed in productions including Cinderella, Cleopatra and The Great Gatsby.
The pair will perform in Wuthering Heights at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, in September followed by Romeo and Juliet which tours to Sheffield, Canterbury, Belfast, Woking and Bradford during September and October.