Dancer back on stage after giving birth

An internationally-acclaimed dancer from Harrogate is bringing her new show to her hometown tomorrow just weeks after having her first child. Picture by Darren Goldsmith
An internationally-acclaimed dancer from Harrogate is bringing her new show to her hometown tomorrow just weeks after having her first child. Picture by Darren Goldsmith

An internationally-acclaimed dancer from Harrogate is bringing her new show to her hometown tomorrow just weeks after having her first child.

Azzurra Ardovini, who is married to Harrogate man Seb Contreras, organised the tour of A Matter Of Impression last year before she knew was pregnant.

The former member of Phoenix Dance Theatre was determined to go ahead after the birth of their baby boy Leonardo.

But she says she is a little nervous about performing at Harrogate Theatre tomorrow, Friday.

Azzurra said: “I gave birth to my first child 16 weeks ago and the Harrogate show will be my first time back on stage.

“It’s been quite difficult juggling motherhood, work and getting back to good fitness levels but I was keen to perform myself in Harrogate.

“The body feels different from what it used to, I have had to find new ways to move.

“I have had to find new ways to move and had to negotiate what I can and cannot do right now.

“The performance on June 2 will be an exciting and scary at the same time for me.

“It’ll be a great adventure, one that I’m excited to share with Harrogate as well as the friends I have made here.”

After being nominated in 2012 for a “Critics’ Circle National Dance Award” in the contemporary dance category, the industry’s equivalent to the BAFTAs, Azzura has been prospering with her company Sardoville, a collective, consisting of Azzurra and fellow dancers Phil Sanger and Josh Wille.

Born in Florence she moved to London in 2003 to train to be a professional dancer.

After living in Leeds for a spell during her tenure with the famous Phoenix Dance Theatre, she moved to Harrogate five years ago and fell in love with the town - and Seb, who is the brother of successful DJ Loz Contreras..

Azzurra said: “”What I like about Harrogate is the people. Everybody is very friendly and helpful. Being able to bring my show here is a way to give back to Harrogate all it’s given me.

“Hopefully, my art and my passion for contemporary dance will introduce something new into people’s lives.”

Described as a “thrilling combination of mundanity, virtuosity and satire”, the one hour show is the perfect advert for Az company’s trademark highly physical, intellectually endearing and emotionally charged performances.

Aided by acclaimed choreographer Luca Silvestrini, the tour began in Barnsley in February will also take in The Lowery in Manchester, finishing in London in mid-June.

Such is Azzurra’s devotion to Harrogate, she’s been working closely with 12 students from St John Fisher School to create a new piece which will open the evening.

Azzurra said: “I was very impressed with the group of girls, their energy and enthusiasm have been inspirational and I am absolutely over the moon that the school has allowed this activity.

“In a time when the arts are undergoing more and more cuts, it is a real joy to find a school that still supports the arts and is keen to offer their students extra curricular activities in such field.”

After making way for another dancer after giving birth, Azzurra was determined to complete the tour in person.

And she is full of praise for Harrogate Theatre.

She said: “I’ve been working with Emma McDowell. It’s been great to have her full support.

“What I like about Harrogate Theatre is that they are not afraid of taking risks and programming new, cutting edge performances.”

Azzurra Ardovini is bringing her new show to Harrogate. Picture above by Darren Goldsmith and below, by Brian Slater (s).