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  1. Too far away for me, even as a northerner in exile. But toi toi toi! I hope it goes well.
  2. Kate_N

    What type of feet do I have? Help!

    Well, only when it's done well. I really cringe when I see (usually) adult ballet students on pointe badly - not over the box of their shoes, knees bent, not able to hold their turn out ... There is so much to learn and learn to execute well, without needing to go on pointe. Does it matter? You have the feet you have - there's not much you can do about an inherited condition such as EDS/hypermobility, or the basic skeletal structure of your body. What you can do is work your body carefully, in correct alignment, to make your body as good as it can be, on its own terms. I've got broad strong feet, not the 'banana feet' so famous in ballet. My feet never looked like that & never will - so instead of trying to fake them, I try to work with what I've got - strong stable feet, which can hold me in balance on demi-pointe for a long time. If you want to work on your feet, play extra special attention to the foot on the floor in tendus, glisses (jetes), rond de jambes a terre, and petit allegro. And do some of the exercises suggested by Lisa Howell, and your teacher. Your teacher was at the Aussie Ballet before DAvid McAllister introduced the ankle rises that they famously do: but have a look at the exercise online, and hear what AB physios & Mr McAllister himself have to say about the excellent long-term results of doing sets of rises in parallel - both feet & one foot - between barre and centre in the AB daily company class. I started to introduce this into my own practice in classes I take (I never stretch between barre & centre) and it is tough when you're on about the 10th one-footed rise in a row,
  3. Kate_N

    What type of feet do I have? Help!

    Hi PixyDust - I'm not sure if you're asking about pointe: I'd say 2 years of classes with a hypermobility condition isn't quite enough, but it sounds as though your teacher is being sensible here. As for your feet: it looks as though you have: * good ankle flexibility, although there are some experts who advocate that pointe readiness requires the ability to draw a straight line through the joints from knee to toe - here's the ballet-focused physiotherapist Lisa Howell on YOuTube, - listen to what she has to say. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35gPlaYOnm4&list=PLo8DXd6bv4b2vPUybFmuqUDqNVlq4qCkd * But you're sickling quite badly in the picture of you on demi-pointe in second position. So badly that you need to really pay attention to engaging your turnout rotators at the top of your legs & in your hips, & lower back. You might find Eric Franklin's books really helpful on visualising this, or read the "Alignment" thread in this forum, and see also the recommendation for Gretchen Warren's book on Classical Technique. * It looks as though your curling or crunching your big toes, rather than stretching them. People** do that in the mistaken attempt to point the foot. The action of pointing comes from stretching through the ankle, not crunching up the toes. My teacher has us work in bare feet at the start of some classes (eg Progressing Ballet Technique and pre-pointe) to try to spread our toes, and plant them on the floor. ** ha ha, who am I kidding! I do it ... * To strengthen feet, you can do some simple exercises: 'Doming" is the main one - it's amazing how that works the tiny muscles in the instep and toes. Here's a video presented at the IADMS conference a few years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WqR6wJFLQg
  4. Kate_N

    How to get a Distinction in ballet exams!

    Marks in a particular syllabus mean nothing at all when you're auditioning for a job. Nothing at all. Marks in an exam indicate where you are at this moment. Nothing more. The written feedback and verbal feedback are far more important than the marks. What areas were you given feedback about? How can you appy that 'outside eye' viewpoint to helpyou improve your technique, your dancing, your growing artistry? Please don't give the marks another thought, other than HUGE CONGRATULATIONS! Distinctions in 2 exams taken on the same day ... that is wonderful.
  5. Kate_N

    New ballet obsession

    You don't need to be a "girly girl" to do ballet. The technique is tough - to dance at even a reasonable level, you need to be aerobically fit as well as strong. And you don't have to wear a skirt! Have you seen these young women doing 'Hiplet'? They're not over the box of their pointe shoes enough for good classical technique (or my taste) but I think that's part of the style of Hiplet (and certainly a lot of teens & adults in training on pointe never get over the box correctly). But they're beautiful & accomplished dancers, and I really like the idea of fusing hip-hop & ballet. It all started from an Instagram post - you can find that, I'm sure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJqmS2nmYos
  6. I wish they would come to the UK. I first saw SDC at school in the 1970s, when they were a touring dance-in-education group, known as NSW Dance Company. When I went to university in Sydney, they'd just received State funding & changed their name to Sydney Dance Company. I think I saw almost every production while I still lived in Sydney, and took classes in their evening programme several nights a week. Graeme Murphy does extraordinary things with putting people's bodies together - I was always surprised by his inventiveness with pas de deux particularly. And the then (it may have changed) easy combination of classical and contemporary dance technique, together with the typical Australian athleticism, made for a unique and utterly luscious & beautiful dance style. The SDC were very cool and chic throughout the 80s. And also hugely moving - the piece choreographed to Tavener's The Protecting Veil always had me in tears.
  7. Kate_N

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Congratulations, Colman!
  8. Kate_N

    Alignment - can anyone explain it to a non-dancer?

    I find this post (on another & highly-respected ballet board) very useful: Alignment (from Ballet Talk for Dancers)
  9. Kate_N

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Horses for course really. Most good teachers teach at Central, Danceworks and Pineapple variously. I tend to go for particular teachers & levels, rather than the actual studio itself - as long as there are showers, a place to change, and a decent floor, I'm fine. So if I'm working in London Friday-Saturday-Sunday, I'll do Nina Thilas Mohs' class at Central on Friday night & at Danceworks on Sunday afternoon (but her classes are quite a way above Beginners) and Hannah Frost's Beginners at Danceworks on Saturday to keep me tuned up & working on the basics. If I'm in town on Monday, I don't like to miss Adam Pudney's class. I guess the 7pm start of Central's night programme is good for those tied to office hours - the 4:30 start of Danceworks ballet classes can be a bit of a push.
  10. Kate_N

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Well, the fact that he attracts that level of dancer tells you something! And yes, his technique uses a lot of work in tendu, retire, and ronde de jambe. It's usual in an advanced/professional class to do a slow tendu, a fast tendu, a glissé and and a jeté exercise (and those last 2 can be quite different in emphasis) - so this is not so unusual really. I like it - it gets your feet working & you get on your leg - a typical class from Renato or Nina will have a relatively simple barre - easy for an advanced dancer in terns of choreography and accessible to beginners. The centre can then go much faster & with more complexity. It's probably a shock if you're mostly used to set syllabus work, or conventional & non-professional level classes, but I do like this technique - I find it's also quite kind on an older body!
  11. Kate_N

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Mr Paroni is a master ballet teacher. He has taught in London for several decades - I used to do his classes at Danceworks, and he now teaches adults in the "Central Nights" programme at the Central School of Ballet (an excellent adult programme, by the way). Informally, he is known for teaching long-ish classes - generally running an hour & three quarters or two hours, and he's probably known familiarly, by those who have actually taken his classes, for his very funny metaphors in his coaching & corrections. Yes, he has a distinctive teaching persona. BUT - a big but - especially for serious dancers ... He's probably best known in the UK for his connection to the ENB. For a long time, he has been Tamaro Rojo's personal coach, and also works as a choreographer and personal coach for young ENB dancers and students at ENBS. Ms Rojo is a phenomenal turner, and I'd say (from my experience of Renato's teaching) that has been enhanced by her work with Renato. He is an extraordinary teacher. He works with a number of other eminent teachers, here and in the USA (Antonia Francheschi, Nina Thilas-Mohs), in teaching the "Equal Weight" method developed by Cristina Bernal (via Maggie Black) - legendary teachers in New York, which is probably the place which rivals London for its dance culture (apols to Paris!). Ms Francheschi danced with the NYCB - specially choreographed for by Balanchine no less! http://www.peridance.com/facprofile.cfm?fid=1415&name=Antonia_Franceschi The technique does a lot of work in first, and really works to get you thinking about your weight and turnout in a very functional way. My personal experience of Renato's teaching over about 15 years is his extraordinary ability to get adults really safely and securely turned out - I walk out of his classes - even if they're 2 hours long - feeling really well-oiled in my hips, turned out safely, no sore knees, and very lifted & centred. My turns are always good in his classes, and I love his commentaries! He has an absolute eagle eye for corrections. Unfortunuately, he doesn't do the level of hands on corrections that he used to (I suspect some adult dancers have reacted badly) but I can remember, still, the first time I did one of his classes, very nervously at Danceworks - we were still in the plie exercise - and he came up behind me and used practically his whole body to push - gently! -my spine and pelvis into alignment. I got the correction immediately because he was working with my whole body - there's something about the way he can place your body which is really very very good. I've not experienced that with many other teachers (Hannah Frost has tat ability as well, but teaches quite differently). I think he's one of those teachers who homes in on "teachable" students - luckily, I've always been one of those. But some people just don't like his style. And I imagine if all an adult has ever done is syllabus work or basic beginners ballet, his professional outlook (he really does treat adult students like professionals) is challenging. I get that people might not like him, but I think you always need to experience a teacher before dismissing them. I'd always encourage someone to take class with Renato. Even if you don't click with his methods, you won't get injured - at least not through his doing.
  12. Kate_N

    Simply Adult Ballet

    I did think about coming to London specially for that on Sunday, but I had a lot of work on down here. I'm sorry I missed it - is he teaching regularly back in London now?
  13. This bears repeating, and is the experience of the two professional ballet dancers in my immediate family. One had a very long career with no time out for injuries.
  14. I'd reiterate DrDance's point here: I think we should train ourselves to take anything we see on social media with a huge pinch (a cupful ) of salt. Social media are edited, curated & constructed glimpses of someone's life: the images & posts appear to be "authentic" but they are as edited as anything else. I know I might take a dozen photos of an event or a view, and post only one on my Instagram account. Also, re the "phenom" phenomenon - historically, there have always been prodigies who seem to race ahead of everyone else. I'm thinking of the way Charles Dickens sends this up in his novel, Nicholas Nickleby back in the 1840s with the "Infant Phenomenon" (a concert ballet dancer) kept "Infant" size by prodigious quantities of gin! It's a comic send up of something that he recognised then as a bit ridiculous ad not the usual way of the theatre. And I think that's still the case. Most dancers - by far the majority - train slow and steady and go on to have diverse careers. I'd hope we wouldn't be flustered into thinking "Everyone's doing X" or "Oh there's no hope for my DC when they (name of any prestigious school) are taking all these young prodigies." One 14 year old is unusual, not usual. For example, where are Miko Fogerty or Dusty Button now - to name two recent "phenoms" (ones I know about at any rate)? Ms Button (I follow her on Instagram) is making an interesting & diverse freelance career but what she's doing is no threat to young dancers aspiring to a classical career; and I've lost track of where Ms Fogarty is dancing. But she's not a soloist with the RB, ENB, or the BRB. I don't mean to focus on these two dancers as individuals, but just as examples of hot-housed & pushed dancers who are enjoying careers, but are on careers tracks that are not a "threat" or in competition with dancers trained in more traditional "slow & steady" ways.
  15. But who is doing the "expecting"? Are parents pushing children into every lesson or competition? If it is a school, then as others have said, pull back. But, please, can we be cautious here, rather than get wound up. To be frank, you say "I have heard" - so this could be second-hand or a misunderstanding of what people think children are doing ... We need evidence, rather than hearsay. Other posters' responses suggest that the norm is not 70 hours a week! And that in the main in the UK, there is more good sense and care, than the overuse you are claiming. The good sense and care would seem to be the norm, which is good. And if it's your children, then take control! No teacher is worth overworking a growing body, no matter they promise miracles.