News

Northern Ballet’s Premier couple to become Resident Guest Artists

10 May 2016

Tobias Batley as Gatsby and Martha Leebolt as Daisy in The Great Gatsby. Photo Bill Cooper

Tobias Batley as Gatsby and Martha Leebolt as Daisy in The Great Gatsby. Photo Bill Cooper

Northern Ballet’s Premier Dancers Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley are to take a leave of absence from the Company to pursue new opportunities. The pair, who have formed a dynamic dance 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 – October 2016.

Californian Martha Leebolt joined Northern Ballet in 2001 and worked through the ranks to become a Premier Dancer in 2009. She has created many iconic roles including Daisy (The Great Gatsby), Cleopatra (Cleopatra), Cinderella (Cinderella) and Beauty (Beauty & the Beast) and in 2010 won a National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) for her performance as the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons.

Tobias Batley joined Northern Ballet in 2004 becoming a Premier Dancer in 2012. The British dancer, raised in Rivington, has created roles including Winston Smith (1984), Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby), Mark Antony (Cleopatra), and Prince Mikhail (Cinderella). He was nominated for National Dance Awards in 2010 and 2012 for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) and for Best Male Dancer in 2015.

Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director David Nixon OBE 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. We all wish them the very best.’

Martha and Tobias will perform in Wuthering Heights at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds in September 2016 followed by Romeo and Juliet which tours to Sheffield, Canterbury, Belfast, Woking and Bradford during September – October 2016. Casting will be announced at a later date, see website for updates. For tour dates and booking information see northernballet.com/whatson.