The smell of a theatre, the lights, the floor everything came back as if I stopped yesterday. Somehow it felt like 221 days being away from it but once I was on the stage it just felt like my last show was yesterday.Filippo Di Vilio, Northern Ballet
Northern Ballet had its World premiere of ” Geisha ” in March. After the opening night, due to Covid-19 outbreak all of their performances got cancelled. Company has now finally returned to live show in Leeds Playhouse this week after seven months of absence. We are delighted to interview Northern Ballet Junior Soloist- Filippo Di Vilio to give us an insight of this present moment.
- How do you feel to finally return to stage after 221 days of absence?
The feeling of returning onto a stage after 7 months is unimaginable.
The smell of a theatre, the lights, the floor everything came back as if I stopped yesterday. Somehow it felt like 221 days being away from it but once I was on the stage it just felt like my last show was yesterday. I didn’t expect to have this feeling since it had been so long but somehow it all felt natural.
There were definitely more nerves than I usually have had before a performance but I guess it’s all part of being away for so long.
- What program did Northern Ballet bring to Leeds Playhouse ?
Northern Ballet has brought 4 different programmes within 2 weeks.
The first programme was “Iconic Classics”which includes pas de deux solos and codas from ballets like Don Q, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and Le Corsaire.
The second programme which was the night straight after “Iconic Classics” was a celebration of 20 years of the artistic director obe David Nixon, performing excerpts from many ballets he has made for the company. The Third and fourth night was a celebration of the contemporary work the company has done in the past, so we performed excerpts from many different pieces. Jumping into the next week where Dangerous Liaisons would be the first full length ballet to be performed again after 7 months. Unfortunately without a corps the ballet but with all the main characters.
- What measure did the theatre take for Covid?
At the theatre we need to wear face masks at all times except when you are on stage.
They have installed some ‘barriers’ made out of plastic between the seating areas in the changing rooms and we also have one way systems to go around the theatre with arrows pointing were you should be going or what side of the corridor. We need to measure our temperature when we get in and also sanitize our hands. Leeds Playhouse has made us feel very safe and we are very excited to work in a theatre again.
- What does it mean to you to perform in front of a live audience with live orchestra?
To be honest at the start of this pandemic it seemed an impossible task to reach, but somehow we have been able to arrive to live shows sooner than I would have ever thought and with great safety measures. Performing in a theatre is great but without an audience it just wouldn’t have the same feeling. I know we can do incredible things with technology now, but If we replace a live audience with computers theatre loses its special place to switch off from the world for few hours. If I go to the theatre as an audience member to watch a performance myself, I don’t want to be looking at my phone, I don’t want to have my mind thinking about work, I simply want to enjoy the present moment and switch off and relax to watch anything that is going to make me feel better afterwards and inspired.
Also with an audience I get an adrenaline rush that I wouldn’t be able to feel otherwise.
Audiences are special, hearing a clap for you it’s special and you feel like they are in it as much as you are in it and it’s such and indescribable feeling.
Northern Ballet’s Dangerous Liaisons will run from October 28th – 31st at Leeds Playhouse : https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk/events/dangerous-liaisons/
Photo: George Liang(1) , Riku Ito (2), Emma Khauldar (Front Cover / 3)
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