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About Terpsichore

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  • Birthday 14/02/1949

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    In addition to ballet I am interested in books, arts, public affairs, economics, science and technology and cricket.

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  1. Tomorrow we shall know whether we have enough support in the North of England to establish an amateur ballet company in the North. I have received 20 registrations for Jane Tucker's class in Huddersfield Leisure Centre at 15:00 tomorrow though some have withdrawn. The studio will take another 5 dancers so if anyone else wants to attend please let me know. I look forward to seeing those who wish to attend the class at Kirklees Leisure Centre, Spring Grove Street, Huddersfield HD1 4BP at 15:00 tomorrow. I will be at the reception desk of the Leisure Centre from 14:30 to make sure that the staff let you all in. I have hired the dance studio from 14:15 to 16:45 if you wish to carry out your own stretches, warm up and cool down exercises in addition to those that our teacher will direct. I should like to thank everyone else who has expressed interest in the project. I acknowledge in particular the advice I have received from Marion Pettet of Chelmsford Ballet, Terence Etheridge of Duchy Ballet, Gillian Barton of Ballet West and Michelle Richer of Lincolnshire. After the class I shall invite those who attend the class to a short meeting in the canteen where we shall decide whether we want to form a company and, if so, elect a small steering committee to draw up a business plan and constitution for the company.
  2. Maybe I misunderstood but I am sure that O'Hare said that she made her debut in the role on Saturday. Be that as it may, the main thing is that she was good.
  3. Just a quickie to say that I am back from the Smoke and thoroughly enjoyed last night's performance of Scarlett's Swan Lake at Covent Garden. I have seen a lot of performances of Swan Lake in my time but IMHO yesterday's was one of the best ever and indeed one of the best performances of anything that I have seen at Covent Garden. I appreciated the upgrading of Rothbart's role from scary cape waving sorcerer on a rock to even more scary ambitious and scheming court insider. It added an extra dynamic to the story and for me made it more realistic. The enhanced role was danced convincingly by Bennet Gartside. From where I was sitting (row L1 in the stalls) he reminded me a little bit of Mr Putin. I had chosen the 22 for my foray south in order to see Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli. Kevin O'Hare came on stage just before the start to say that she had been injured. I do hope not seriously. Her place was taken by Akane Takada who had only danced the role once before on Saturday according to O'Hare. She was enchanting and I was not in the least disappointed by the casting change though I hope to see Cuthbertson in the role one day. Bonelli was still there and he was great. I appreciated all Macfarlane's set designs but particularly the last scene featuring the rock in monochrome. I also liked the costumes especially the uniforms of the men and Benno and Siegfried's outfits in particular. It was worth the astronomical ticket price and the tedious journey there and back relieved only by the pleasure of bumping into Michelle Richer in the buffet car. The train had been delayed by signalling problems just outside Donnie and had to wait at Newark and Grantham to make way for fast trains. At Peterborough it broke down altogether. So much for re-nationalization. Michelle and I had to stand for the last bit of the journey but we had a great chat so time passed quickly. I have written a longer review in my blog if anybody is interested.
  4. I could have attended every one of Northern Ballet's evening performances of Jane Eyre at The Lowry or two performances of Don Quixote by Dutch National Ballet from the best seats in the Stopera for the price of my ticket in the stalls for Tuesday's performance. I am also taking the whole afternoon off work to traipse down to the Smoke and my train home pulls into Donnie in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Will it be worth it? I think so. I am a big fan of Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli, But I will let you know on Wednesday.
  5. I had expected to be in London for a hearing yesterday but the judge ordered a telephone hearing instead. That left me free to see Ballet Black's double bill again at the Nottingham Playhouse. As soon as the hearing finished I called the box office and secured a ticket. The traffic on the M1 was horrendous and I needed every second of the two and a half hours that I had allowed for the 60 mile journey. I took my seat in the auditorium just as the curtain was about to rise. I had seen "The Suit" at the Barbican and a rehearsal at a Ballet Black Friends even in February so I knew what to expect. Even so, the site of Cira Robinson's beautiful young body hanging lifeless jolted my body like an electric shock though I knew she would spring back smiling for the reverence just second away. I think her performance as Tilly is her best yet I met Cassa Pancho in the interval and handed her a birthday card for Jose Alves on behalf of myself and all the other contributors to Terpsichore as I think we are all big fans of the company. Alves is now taking the male lead roles in place of Damian Johnson and doing so very well indeed. Yesterday must have been the 6th or 7th time that I had seen "A Dream within A Midsummer Night's Dream" but it never fails to delight me. Each of the dancers has his or her role. Isabela Coracy as Puck in her scouts uniform and green beard scattering her glitter, Alves and Robinson as Oberon and Titania, Mthuthuzeli November as Demtrius, Bottom and Salvador Dali, Ebony Thomas as Lysander, Sayaka Ichikawa as Helena and Marie-Astrid Mence as Helena. Ballet Black won a standing ovation which is rare in this country outside political party conferences. I will be interested to see whether Liam Scarlett gets one when I go down for "Swan Lake" next week. If anyone is interested I have written a much fuller review in Terpsichore.
  6. Terpsichore

    Are there any other Cricket Fans here?

    Although the match was won by Pakistan Ireland seems to have played very gallantly (see Ireland v Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq prevents an Irish win on Test debut on the BBC website). After being forced to follow on the Irish added 339 runs to their score in their second innings largely thanks to O'Brien who scored a century before he was caught by Sohail. Ireland's bowlers also did well dismissing Shafiq for 1, Azhar for 2, Sohail for 7 and Safraz for 8. It was only some solid batting from Imam and Babar that saved the match for Pakistan. By all accounts it seems to have been an entertaining and hard fought match for which both sides deserve congratulations. One day Ireland may face England in a test for which I think our players will need all their resources of skill, experience and determination.
  7. Terpsichore

    Are there any other Cricket Fans here?

    I am delighted to see that Ireland has become a first class cricketing nation. Although its batsmen have struggled at the crease today, the fact that they are playing Pakistan at all in an official test is a considerable achievement. It is encouraging that Cricket Ireland represents Northern Ireland as well as the Irish Republic. Several of Ireland's matches this year will be played in Northern Ireland. I understand that is also the case with rugby football though not association football. Any all Ireland institution must be a good thing if a soft border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland cannot be agreed. I see no reason why Scotland should not follow Ireland soon. Over the years many Scots have played at the highest level in England and other countries. Cricket was played to a high standard at St Andrews when I was there. As for Wales Glamorgan already plays first class county cricket. Looking to the Continent, several of Ireland's fixtures are against the Netherlands which is yet another emerging cricketing nation. Its great rival on the Continent is Denmark. And of course the national ballet companies of both those countries are highly regarded. That may be a coincidence but I have always seen parallels between my two passions.
  8. Thanks for your comments, Nicola. I agree with you about the corporate structure but we shall find out what others think. Chelmsford offers 10 classes a year on Sunday mornings. But you do make some good points.
  9. Less than three weeks to go before our inaugural class with Jane Tucker at Huddersfield Leisure Centre on 26 May 2018 at 15:00 and the studio is filling up. If you want to come then please register in advance because there is security at the entrance and the management may not let you in if you just turn up. If you have not yet registered, please click here. If you have registered but find you can't now make it, never mind. There will be other classes. Just let me know in good time so that I can release your place to another dancer. Whether you are coming to the class or not we need to think about how we are going to organize ourselves and there are two models for us to consider. Chelmsford Ballet is a members' club and I have put a link to their constitution from our website. Duchy is a company limited by guarantee. If you have any views one way or another do let me know, Also, while our main purpose is to stage shows once a year we should think what else we want to do for the rest of the year. Chelmsford has regular company classes with guest teachers - one of whom was our very own Cara O'Shea. I think we should do the same. Note there is a huge difference between company class and adult ballet class as I found out last Monday in Scotland. Company class is fast. You barely have time to think. Another thing I think we should do is hold the occasional workshop or outing. Chelsmford have organized a great one with Ballet Central. Let me know what you want folks.
  10. Terpsichore

    Visit to Ballet West

    No I didn't misunderstand you von Rothbart though there was a latent ambiguity in your observation. I was merely adding emphasis to my earlier remark that the training is effective. As I said in my first post, Ballet West does have its points but, then, so do the others. It would have suited me if I were a young man or woman with the necessary talent and ambition but I can quite see why others might prefer to train elsewhere. One question that Pas de Quatre raised which would concern me is whether there would be a job at the end of the training. One might expect companies to be queuing up for Genee medallists and other award winners but that does not appear to be happening. I discussed that point with Gillian Barton on Monday. In a very competitive field recruiters look to tried and trusted sources. They don't have the time or resources to scout the whole field. It's not fair but it is understandable. It happens in many other walks of life including my own. There are ways round it but it takes time. Ballet West are strengthening links with the major companies. Scottish Ballet, for example. held a workshop for the Ballet West students on their campus on Saturday. Ballet West has also established its own international touring company which will perform in Malaysia and China later in the year. That will provide work for some of the alumni. I would add that all the Ballet West alumni hat I know are very resourceful and enterprising and not afraid to travel. One of the teachers at my ballet school in Manchester who trained at Ballet West has recently found work with a company in the Balkans. As I say, every school has its merits and I have written about Ballet West's.
  11. Terpsichore

    Visit to Ballet West

    Ballet West must be doing something right judging by the medals and awards that their students have picked up over the years and I was impressed by the teaching and coaching I saw and indeed received.
  12. Terpsichore

    Visit to Ballet West

    Good luck with your studies at Ballet West and subsequent career.
  13. Terpsichore

    Visit to Ballet West

    Every so often there is a discussion in these forums about the training at Ballet West. It often goes along the lines that a subscriber's son or daughter has the opportunity to go to a number of ballet schools for professional training but he or she inclines towards Ballet West. The subscriber expresses concern because : (1) Ballet West is in Argyll which is a long way from just about every population centre in the United Kingdom; (2) It is located on the outskirts of a small village a long way from the shops; and (3) The nearest town of any size is Oban which is 12 miles away and has only so much to offer in the way of culture and entertainment. I have been writing about the performances of Ballet West's touring company in which Ballet West's students at all levels have an opportunity to perform in theatres and other auditoriums all over Scotland ever since I first saw them in 2013. I have made the acquaintance of Gillian Barton and her children Jonathan and Sara-Maria Barton, Daniel Job their choreographer, Natasha Watson and several other members of their staff over the years. Although I had never visited the school before 30 April I did know that bit of Argyll quite well as I pass through Oban from time to time on my way to Mull or Iona and have spent more than a few holidays in the area. When parents, guardians, friends or relations of students have agonized over Ballet West I have always tossed my 2p-worth into the discussion in the hope of reassuring them that Ballet West has its points and that their offspring are not going to the back of beyond. When I visited Greenock and Glasgow to see Giselle and Rossini Cocktail earlier this year I mentioned that I would be in Oban on 29 April to see Sottish Ballet's Highland Fling and Sr Andrews on 30 April to see the 50th anniversary gala of the St Andrews Dance Club (a society that I helped to found). Gillian invited me to call into Ichrachan House on the way. I had hoped to attend the beginners class at St Andrews again 50 years on but that proved impossible for timetabling and logistical reasons. I tweeted my disappointment at missing that class. Gillian picked up my tweet and invited me to one of hers. Even though I am 50 years older than any of the other class members, badly coordinated and overweight with no aptitude for ballet, her invitation was irresistible. I arrived at Ballet West half dead on Monday morning having been kept awake night by heavy lorries on the Oban road and after being misdirected by Google maps and my landlady but Jonathan Barton graciously allowed me into his class. This was the fastest and hardest class that I had ever attended but also the most exhilarating and most fun. I suffer from all sorts of aches and pains normally but miraculously I forgot about them and just got on with following the instructions as best I could. I attempted every exercise except the pointe work (which in retrospect included exercises I could have done on demi) and although I did not get much right I was able to do at least some of it. I recognized some of the students from their performances in Rossini Cocktail. It was very good to see them again. I only hope that I did not get in their way, distract them or hold up their training, They were very kind and courteous to me. I learned a lot from Jonathan and indeed the students which I tried to remember and put into practice in my own ballet class in Manchester last night. One tip that springs immediately to mind is never to look at yourself in the mirror when dancing. As Jonathan put it: "you can perform or you can watch a performance but you can't do both at the same time." I have got into that habit and I have to break it if I am ever to improve. After class which lasted from 08:00 to 10_00 Jonathan took me to another studio where he coached Joseph Wright and Uyo Hiromoto in the grand pas de deux from Paquita. I had seen them both in Giselle earlier this year and they had impressed me greatly. Uyu, in particular, has a certain je ne sais quoi that I had noticed in Xander Parish in York in 2007 and Michaela DePrince in Amsterdam in 2013. Jonathan thought they still had some work to do but from what I could see they were coming along just fine. Gillian showed me a contemporary class and then told me a little bit about the school, its achievements, its pastoral care and the placement opportunities for the students over a cup of tea in her home. It was a beautiful day in Scotland on Monday (unlike London where I understand from my clerk it was cold, wet and windy). I took a few photos which I shall publish in my blog shortly. I guess every ballet school has its good points and drawbacks. Yes, Oban is small and remote but it has a lot more to offer than most towns of its size. The performance by Scottish Ballet shows that it is not exactly a cultural backwater. There appears to be a good range of shops including a full size Tesco. The countryside around Taynuilt is outstandingly beautiful. The grounds are beautiful in themselves. The campus actually has its own loch or at least lochan. The medals that Ballet West's students have picked up in the Genee and other competitions over the years shows that the training is effective. I should imagine that if a student required advice on any kind of issue he or she would find it more easily on the Ballet West campus than in a big city. Ballet West may not suit everyone but if I were a young man or woman with an aptitude and vocation for dance it would probably have suited me. If I were the parent or guardian of a child who wanted to dance I would take him or her to Scotland and encourage him or her to consider Ballet West seriously.
  14. Last night's performance went very well. The cast danced brilliantly. I don't think I have ever seen them dance better. But the atmosphere was different from the opening night in Leeds. Then it had been almost like a party. The audience was more reflective last night. But how could it be anything else in the light of recent events? Phoenix will give one last performance in London tonight. After that they go to Birmingham, Newcastle and Barnsley. This show is well worth seeing. In my review I said it was more than just art, it was an education.
  15. I reviewed the premiere and the two previews I saw in Terpsichore if you are interested.