Case Study: Kenneth Tindall

Freelance Choreographer and Artistic Director of Digital / Choreographer in Residence at Northern Ballet

Kenneth Tindall has emerged as one of Britain’s most exciting independent choreographers. Born in Dundee, Kenneth trained at Central School of Ballet and first performed with Northern Ballet in 2001, having previously danced with The Israel Ballet and K Ballet in Japan. From 2003 to 2015 he remained at Northern Ballet, becoming a Premier Dancer under the directorship of Artistic Director David Nixon OBE.

Kenneth Tindall and Keiko Amemori in Swan Lake. Photo Bill Cooper.

During his time at Northern Ballet, Kenneth had numerous roles created on him by Nixon, including Wadjet in Cleopatra, Prince Orian in Beauty & the Beast and Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. These experiences sparked an interest in choreography for Kenneth and he showed a creative flair which Nixon was keen to nurture.

In 2011 Kenneth took part in a company choreographic workshop, designed to give Northern Ballet dancers their first opportunities to explore choreography and learn from experienced mentors including David Nixon. Out of this workshop Tindall’s first choreographic work was born: Project #1. Kenneth’s natural choreographic talent was clear to see, and an extended piece was commissioned for Northern Ballet’s Mixed Programme in 2012.

Northern Ballet in Dancers in Kenneth Tindall’s Project #1. Photo Brian Slater.

Kenneth’s progression since has been formidable. He has gone on to choreograph nationally and internationally, working with established artists such as Linder Sterling and Nick Mauss. He has been nominated for several high-profile awards including Best Young Choreographer at the Taglioni European Ballet Awards and Best Classical Choreographer and Emerging Artist at the National Dance Awards. In 2015 he retired from dancing to focus on his choreographic career full time. Kenneth took part in Northern Ballet’s inaugural Choreographic Laboratory Tell Tale Steps in 2015, which he described as a ‘challenging and wonderful learning curve full of curiosity and investigation’.

In 2017, after being highly impressed with the quality of his short works, David Nixon commissioned Kenneth to create his first full-length ballet, Casanova, for Northern Ballet. Casanova was a triumph, receiving critical and audience acclaim across the country. Kenneth became the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in a new Dance Production Award at the Broadway World UK Awards 2017 and was nominated for Best Classical Choreography at the National Dance Awards for the second time in his career. The popularity of the show led to its filming and broadcast on Sky Arts and Digital Theatre, the world’s leading digital platform for the arts.

Giuliano Contadini and Dreda Blow in Casanova, a ballet by Kenneth Tindall. Photo Emma Kauldhar.

In 2018 Kenneth became Artistic Director of Digital and Choreographer in Residence for Northern Ballet. He will play a key role in the expansion of the Company’s ‘Direct to Digital’ work and will support Nixon in the development of further opportunities to develop new and emerging choreographers, drawing on his own unique experiences.

‘David Nixon and Northern Ballet are an integral piece of my creative journey and success. Without the nurturing and opportunity afforded to me by both I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. From being able to start choreographing by participating in ground-breaking labs to making work for mixed programmes and the main stage. Having the ability to use world-class facilities and dancers as well as consult with technical, wardrobe and marketing departments for every little detail, I have learned invaluable knowledge about many aspects of creating and how a creative organisation runs. Northern Ballet have ensured that I have had the best possible start with guidance and nurturing every step of the way. David Nixon has been a true mentor for me from the very first steps of my new chapter as a choreographer. Not only has he provided me with many opportunities to create new work in various contexts and spaces, but he has guided me with a building block mentality to make sure I was exposed at the right times and safe to discover, play and practice my art at others. Possibly the things that mean the most to me are David’s belief and encouragement and always being there to listen to our sometimes seemingly never-ending chats about all things dance. The opportunities and facilities I have been provided are unique to Leeds and proof that you can build an international career outside of London.’

Praise for Tindall

‘Casanova is a handsome piece of work, and Tindall has every reason to be proud of it’

The Observer

‘Tindall’s choreography is impressively attuned to the ecstasies and agonies of the protagonist’s remarkable life’

The Telegraph (on Casanova)

‘Tindall is an expansive, experimental choreographer with an imagination to suit’


‘Even before retiring from Northern Ballet as a premier dancer in 2015 Kenneth Tindall became the choreographer to watch’

Big Issue North

‘Company member Kenneth Tindall recently retired from dancing but if he continues to create pieces like The Architect his future as a dance maker is pretty well secure’

Sunday Express

‘Tindall retired as a principal dancer earlier this month and he is fast emerging as a choreographer with a finely-tuned antenna to the fashions of modern culture’

London Dance

Career history

  • 2001 Joins Northern Ballet for the first time
  • 2003 Returns to Northern Ballet
  • 2011 Takes park in an internal choreographic workshop at Northern Ballet where he shows considerable choreographic project with his piece Project#1
  • 2012 An extended version of Project #1 is commissioned to form part of Northern Ballet’s 2012 Mixed Programme Perpetual Motion
  • 2012 Wins the Production Prize at the 26th International Choreography Competition, Hanover for his debut choreographic piece Project #1
  • 2013 Is commissioned by artist Linder Sterling to create The Ultimate Form on Northern Ballet for MOMA Paris. The piece goes on to be performed at Tate St Ives and The Hepworth Wakefield later the same year
  • 2013 Choreographs Luminous Junc·ture for Northern Ballet’s Mixed Programme which goes on to be performed at The Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House the following year
  • 2014 Nominated for Best Young Choreographer at the inaugural Taglioni European Ballet Awards
  • 2014 Choreographs The Architect for Northern Ballet’s Mixed Programme which also goes on to be performed at The Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House the following year
  • 2014 Collaborates with Nick Mauss to create 1NVERS1ONS a ‘living stage’ performed by Northern Ballet dancers at Frieze Art Fair
  • 2014/15 Is selected to participate in Dance UK Future Arts Cultural Leaders Mentoring Programme
  • 2015 Is nominated for the Emerging Artist Award at the 2015 National Dance Awards
  • 2015 Is nominated for Best Classical Choreography for The Architect at the 2015 National Dance Awards
  • 2015 Takes part in Northern Ballet’s inaugural Choreographic Laboratory Tell Tale Steps
  • 2015 Choreographs We Never Said for Northern Ballet’s 45th Anniversary Gala
  • 2015 Is commissioned by artist Linder Sterling to create Children of the Mantic Stain on Northern Ballet for the British Art Show
  • 2015 Retires as a Premier Dancer from Northern Ballet
  • 2017 Premières his first full length work for Northern Ballet – Casanova
  • 2017 Is nominated for Best Classical Choreography for Casanova at the 2017 National Dance Awards
  • 2017 Casanova wins the award for Achievement in a New Dance Production at the Broadway World Awards
  • 2018 Becomes Choreographer in Residence and Artistic Director of Digital for Northern Ballet
  • 2018 Choreographs The Shape of Sound for Northern Ballet’s Mixed Programme

Other credits

  • 2012 – Out of Mine and Into 4 for L-Universita ta Malta
  • 2013 – Folk Songs for Bundesjugendballett
  • 2013 – Signature 31/30 for Ballet Central
  • 2014 – Forbidden Fruit for National Draft Works in Association with The Royal Ballet
  • 2015 – Brotsjór for English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition
  • 2015 – Scents’ for Draft Works in Association with The Royal Ballet
  • 2016 – Four Seasons for Galician Choreography Centre
  • 2017 – False Gods for Delattre Dance Company