Monday, 7 December 2009

40 years of Northern Ballet Theatre

The evening of the 5th December 2009 will not be easily forgotten by Northern Ballet Theatre. Current and past dancers performed together in a one-off performance of A Christmas Carol with many more ex-Northern Ballet Theatre dancers in the audience. It was as emotional as it was spectacular, and celebrated 40 years of Northern Ballet Theatre.

Stars past and present were greeted by rapturous applause by those who knew and love their dancing. The joie de vivre which naturally emanates from this talented and fun company was overflowing. Jeremy Kerridge in the title role brought home the very essence of Dickens’ important little tale.

As a northerner myself I was quite overcome by the brilliance of what they pulled off on Saturday. They are polished and professional, but also humorous and original; this is a company that never fails to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Northern Ballet Theatre has gained a loyal and admiring audience by understanding their strengths and weaknesses. They play to their strengths and minimize their weaknesses to great effect. Their repertoire does not try to emulate the big ballet companies – The Nutracker is replaced by A Christmas Carol and Peter Pan. Swan Lake is somewhat different from the classic version. Sleeping Beauty is absent, making room for the less obvious Dracula or Wuthering Heights. Instead of going head to head with the competition, they change the rules. They have fun with their strategy as well as their ballet.

Understanding strengths and weaknesses is a foundation stone for success, whoever you are. It is wonderful to see the dry SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) put to use in such an entertaining way. It reminded me that whatever our talents, everyone has a role to play.

It is up to all of us to figure out our own individual strengths and weaknesses, as well the teams we work in and the organisations we represent. That clarity will help lift our individual and team performance, and build better organisations. Even if we didn’t get to be a ballet dancer when we grew up.

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