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Michelle_Richer

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About Michelle_Richer

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location:
    Spalding, South Lincolnshire, England
  • Interests
    Social Dancing and Ballet

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  1. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    I managed to combine a Northern Ballet Nutcracker workshop on Leeds Grand Theatre stage, with a visit to Liz Atha, physio at Northern Ballet. The workshop was real fun as usual and its always nice to meet many of the ladies that I have either done similar workshops with or class in Northern Ballets studios. I was surprised when our workshop teacher said she thought it must have been a couple of years since I was last there. Like most workshops provided by professional ballet companies there is an opportunity to stay a watch company class take place on the stage. I left before that for my physio appointment at Northern Ballet. I had pre-empted the appointment by submitting a 3 page detailed report that had led to my injury and the resulting history, my physio meticulously went through it, then became lots of tests and exercises which I of cause I didn’t do the exercises exactly as instructed , and was told not to think ballet, but to do exactly as she has said, and of course she would demonstrate it to make it clear, especially with no turnout, and no stacking of hips, grrrr that's not natural. It seams I have a suspected detached muscle at the top left side of my right knee, as I developpe the thigh quickly cramps and the muscle looks like a localised knotted protruding lump, and of course soon begins hurts like hell. What I didn’t notice when contrasting developpe between the two legs, the left leg above the top of the knee remains smooth. However the right on the left inside has a depression as if something is missing (the possible detached muscle which has retracted back) . She also felt that the Glutes that side were showing signs of muscle wastage too. The outcome of the meeting has two courses of action for me. The first is to see my GP to get a referral to a Musculoskeletal Specialist for an Ultra-scan, even if the detachment is confirmed my physio seams to think its probably been left too long (18 months) for them to recommend operating, also if they do operate it likely to result in a lot of scare tissue. But essentially we will not know for certain without the Ultra-scan conformation. The other course of action is a series of 6 different types of exercise to be done up to the point of fatigue in order to strengthen what is left, that I am doing. The exercise program has been documented and emailed to me together with a short video of each of the exercises for clarity. On a lighter note, after I left Northern Ballet I called in to the indoor market and found a supply of white strait feathers, rather than the more common fluffy ones, in fact I bought the lot all 6 packets. These are needed for our Silver Swans head dresses for their Swan Lake piece, I also managed to find a nice tiara in the main shopping marl for my Odette head dress as I will be dancing Odette’s solo for them.
  2. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    I assume the 50minutes is to allow smooth changeover between classes. I must confess 50minutes does ring a distant bell of when I used to do the old Wednesday drop in class and Stretch and Tone in the same evening, at least one of them was I think was 50mins. I checked the Sleaford timetable but that only states the start time, however Adult Ballet has in brackets 1.5hrs. This class was lengthened a year or so ago as a request from some of the dancers taking the UKA exams, all the dancers within the class were then asked if they wanted the extended class and of course it would cost more and everyone agreed. I guess there was no conflict of studio space as Sleaford has 3 studios. Another interesting point is the Sleaford Adult Ballet class has no grade / level marker associated with it
  3. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Although I attend GoDance at Sleaford, Lincoln and Sleaford Ballet classes operate quite differently, so I took the opportunity of speaking to Lincoln. Lincoln has two ballet classes: Beginner/ beginner plus on Thursdays 8-8.50pm with approximately 8 dancers. Intermediate on Tuesdays 7-7.50pm with approximately 18 dancers No mention of pointe class and I didn’t ask, however they did mention a Cardio ballet barre fitness class at 3pm on Mondays. Payment: It possible to trial the first class and pay for that as a drop in for either the beginners or intermediate. Payment is otherwise monthly. Sleaford differs in there is only one class, but there is talk of raising it to Intermediate after the Christmas break and starting a new beginners. The existing class is Thursdays 7-8.30pm, payment is half termly, although Adult ballet doesn’t usually have an half term break where the regular children’s classes do. For those dancer who wish to follow a recognised award scheme, the UKA is offered as an option but it’s not in any way compulsory. The two classes a Lincoln are taught by different teacher, neither of which I know. Contact details; GoDance 21 Carlton Mews The Carlton Centre Lincoln LN2 4FJ Tel 01522 524875 Hope that helps
  4. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Although this is a long shot, you might try Kat Anderson-Hendy, I think now has dropped her former (Anderson) name, to Kat Hendy. Kat used to run Adult Ballet in Lincoln under the name “Classes with Kat”, that was around 2013/14, I used to attend them and for a short period after that used Kat as one-to-one at GoDance in Sleaford, as the venue was half way between each of us. I see Kat is Owner and Teacher at Elev8 Dance Academy and Principal of Hykeham School at Stagecoach Performing Arts Schools.
  5. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Finally last Friday I got the Air Conditioning installed, however returning the studio back to normal did take a little longer than anticipated with repositioning the mirror that had to be removed and fitting new uPVC cladding etc. However although it was unplanned I did get an additional day in the Sunday which is normally our ballet rehearsal in London, but it had unexpectedly been cancelled late last week, so that helped enormously. Now the studio is the warmest room in the house and a delight to use. Now I can do some real catching up of rep which seams to have slipped in recent months. The real downside for me of loosing Sunday in London, is our stretch class that follows rehearsal, the previous week we did partner assisted extension to seconde, even in my injured leg the extension looked quite good. However I almost pushed it too far with my left (good leg), although it wasn’t a 180, it wasn’t that far off until something gave a little “eek” at the back of my knee, and my partner let go. I tried a few developpe’s immediately afterwards as my teacher was somewhat concerned that I may have injured it, but it was fine. For the moment I’m being just a little bit gentle with that leg as it’s a little bit stiff and not all studio’s this time of year are particularly warm. At least with our London stretch class the sweat is usually pouring off us before we attempt such things, I just love it as it extends ones horizon of what is possible.
  6. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Last Sunday’s BBT rehearsal and its stretch class that follows, I had a couple of very pleasant surprises for me. Firstly during rehearsal the guys were learning a piece from La Sylphides, I and some of the other girls were marking it at the back of the studio, to my surprise it had a couple of Cabriole’s derriere in it using both leg combinations. The last class I did those in must be at least 5years ago, possibly 6, on the odd occasion I have attempted them very unsuccessfully, but last Sunday night they just fell into place, which is really lucky for me as I know I will need these for the second part of the Le Corsaire Odalisques piece which contains three solo’s and the ending Pas de Trios. I just need to consolidate these now. The second surprise was the front splits exercise in the stretch class. This consisted of standing with the legs in fourth open and squeezing a ball as hard as we could between our legs for approximately half a minute, then going down into front splits, for a similar period of time, this sequence was repeated 3 times. I did these three iterations with my right leg in front first, by the third iteration there was less than 2 inches between me and the floor, that is the lowest I have ever been by along way. However when I repeated the three iterations with my left leg in front, the gap was a little disappointing at about 4 inches. I tried to repeat this in my own studio, first the ball was different, it was one of Adrian’s old footballs, the surface was circled and hard, it seamed to stick into my thigh and was very uncomfortable, when I went down into front splits with the right leg in front, I was about 9 inches off the floor. I think the essential difference was, I wasn’t properly warmed up, as on Sunday the sweat was literally poring off me as the class is quite energetic. At least it has given me some insight as to what is possible. Unfortunately my home studio is temporarily out of action as we have had to take a large mirror down from what was the house wall and disconnect the main supply that ran round it, to make way for the installation of the Air Conditioning next Friday (16th) whoopee. That should be the last of the big spends on the studio.
  7. Michelle_Richer

    Adult Ballet: The Ballet Retreat 2019

    Hi Developped Best add City Academy to your list, possibly a little expensive at £80 a month, follow the link for further details, scroll down as it also has a video example of one of there showcase ballet performances at Sadlers. Follow the Link https://www.city-academy.com/ballet-dance-company
  8. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Phew, I’m really glad Half term is finally over and I can get back into some form of normality and actually know what day it is. Although it wasn’t organised that way, it was really useful for moving Adrian in, however on the down side I lost the studio for all practical purposes until today (Friday). Another downside of the move was, a beautiful base containing 3 ballerina figurines got accidentally damaged, one of them lost its head. Unfortunately we don’t know exactly when so its head was never found, sadly it was something I really treasured. At least last Sunday the normal weekly schedule was restored with BBT rehearsal in London, however initially over half of the dancers were absent, so we couldn’t properly rehears the PDT we had be learning, especially as we had no guy’s. Instead we learnt a new solo, The first Shades variation from La Bayadere, not ever so difficult, but very fast. Later that evening two of our guys arrive back from the Ballet Retreat, so we also ran through the Bayadere PDT and the PDT from Raymonda to keep it fresh in our bodies. The icing on the cake for me was our stretch class which some of us attend after rehearsal, we did the partner assisted leg raises devant. This consists of your partner supporting your leg at 90 degree while you try and push down as hard and consistently as you can (contracting your muscles) this last for several seconds, then your partner list your foot as far as its comfortable for you, while you try and keep both the extended and supporting leg strait. We repeat this procedure 3 times trying to take it progressively higher, my partner was lifting my leg for the third time and my teacher Sander came along and ask me if that was my good leg, to which I replied “yes”, he looked at my partner and said, I think Michelle could go a little high, and Sander helped my partner to get another inch. I’m really not sure what happened next, as the leg felt relaxed but strait, I took hold of the leg and pulled it even further in, it must have been another couple of inches. I have never ever had it that close to my face before. The right leg is another story its range devant isn’t quite so good and to be fair Im quite protective of it since my injury over a year ago. The right leg extended derrier and partner stretched in a similar fashion is seriously restricted in comparison to the left, also I can feel the numbness left after the injury in the side of my lower calf. The only thing that shows up in dance class after the injury to my right leg, is a developpe devant, especially if its done slowly, it ok until near to 90 degrees then it cramps and the thigh muscle appears to swell into a solid lump, I showed this to my local rep coach who is also one of my body conditioning teachers, she was a little shocked as not only could she feel it by touch, bit it was quite noticeable to the eye, and needless to say when its like that it hurts like hell. She offered to make arrangements to see a sports physio that she uses, but I have used similar physios before and I’m never really sure that their experience is appropriate. As its been well over a year now, its unlikely that this will fix itself naturally, for that reason I have now made an appointment with Liz Atha a chartered physiotherapist that runs the specialist dance, sports and spinal clinic based within the new home of Northern Ballet in Leeds City Centre. Hopefully I should get some meaningful advise from her. Although most things was back to normal this week, my Monday classes were still on half term break which included my one-to-one Le Corsaire rep, so we switched that to Thursday instead of strengthening for pointe. I guess next week it time to play catch-up. At least the studio is back, the electricians have been in today, Air Conditioning is being installed on the 16th so everything is good to go, only a large mirror to take down and reinstall slightly lower when the Air-Con is in place.
  9. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    It seams ages since I last posted on this forum, its not that I’ve lost interest in ballet, I seam to have very little time now ballet has been stretched to 7 days a week, also what little time I have has been spent moving furniture and things around to accommodate Adrian and his possessions into my home. Although it was really nice but hard work with the major move this Friday, at least we had his son helping us. I guess I also learnt a new skill too and Adrian reminded me of my favourite catch phase “I’m a ballerina and could do anything”, I had to drive the Luton removal van we had hired and had to do quite a lot of reversing in narrow openings, something I wasn’t accustomed to. I’m really sad that the Alive Ballet Company to which I was a dancer is unlikely to be reformed in the near future. Initially due to falling dancer numbers it was necessary to move out of the Danceworks largest studio in Central London to something more affordable, unfortunately some of our dancers were not happy to travel outside Central London for rehearsal even though a couple of years before we were based at CBAT near Holloway Road tube station. We did have the opportunity to keep rehearsals going with a sustainable studio at Finsbury Park, but that support and commitment from some of our dancers just wasn’t there, so it failed. It seamed such a shame when most of us had leant quite a lot of chorography for our next show from Act 1 of Giselle, Act 2 from Swan lake and a Neo-classical piece too, which all went to down the drain. As it was, everything was contained in the one day (Tuesdays) for me, Hair appointment at 9am, 10.30- 11.30am pre-rehearsal run thru at my local hall (before my studio), leave home for London 2pm, and return home just before 1am Wednesday morning, also with the time I was travelling by train in both direction, seats were always available, so I could do additional ballet study / documentation during the journey. Now I’m with BBT, hair and pre-rehearsal takes place on Saturdays, rehearsal takes place on Sundays, but there are a couple of major drawbacks, firstly the trains are busy in both directions and often there is no seat. Also once I arrive in London at Kings Cross station, it still takes me another hour to get to the BBO studio’s at Battersea Reach, I just wish those Alive Ballet Company dancers who were reluctant to travel outside of Central London had this level of commitment. Rehearsals at BBT are brilliant but quite fast moving, so far we have done the Pas de Trios from Raymonda and most of the Pas de Trios from La Bayadere, when everyone is there we have 4 guys in the company and at least 2 girls per guy, so an awful lot of partnering. The Christmas show with BBT is not now taking place but will go into the summer show some time in June. I ask if I could perform my Le Corsaire piece I have for Ballet West in the BBT show and our Artistic Director said yes, whoopee. Our Artistic Director is Sander Bloomhaert an ex Royal Ballet first soloist and a really nice guy and fantastic teacher. After rehearsal on Sunday evenings there is a stretch and tone class with some quite extreme partner stretching, just love it. However on Sunday we did a progressive splits type of stretch with our legs akimbo up the wall, where our teach went round to each of us in turn and adjusted the opening position by another half an inch or so, I think I counted about 4 iterations, before he closed our position. Although I have done this before I could feel it in the hamstring of my left leg, it didn’t hurt as such but a dull presents of something especially when moving into certain positions. On the journey I was just a bit worried it might develop further as I had a UKA ballet exam the following morning. Although the exam wasn’t important to me, it arose as a couple of dancers from one of my local classes ask if they could sit some form of ballet exam, I guess the class would be rated as improver level. The reason I started to attend it in the first place was I used their studios at one time several times a week for my own practice and of course they let me run my rep group “Glen Ballet” there. That was about 18 months ago, and as a thank you I always attended their adult ballet class. I guess there was no way I could retain my street cred as a dancer if I didn’t take the exam with those of my class, however in reality for me it was quite different. Initially there were 6 other girls taking the exam as a group but 2 dropped. The four remaining did the exam together as a group; I guess they took confidence from each other. I did it on my own, but that was my preference, it also allowed me to approach my teacher about allowing me to change bits of her choreography, she was happy with that providing I kept the key movement for that grade, and of course she see me dance the finished version before she gave me her final ok. I also ask her if I could perform it in a tutu as it had to be formal ballet wear, she oked that too, however one of our girls ask me if it sparkled because of the restrictions of wearing jewellery, that cast dought in my mind so I took 2 tutu’s on the day. My first choice was my Blue bird highly decorated professional tutu, the second another professional tutu by Just Ballet in White but quite plain other than some black decoration around the outer circumference of the skirt. I think on the day most were probably in shock at me turning up in my Bluebird tutu, but for me it was just another performance. I was first to go in to see the examiner, I think she was just a little bit shocked too, but in a nice way. She said “Gosh just look at you”, “give us a twirl then” , I did a pirouette into a full down curtsy. She was really nice, but my favourite bit of the exam was the reverence which of course carries no marks, again I did my own thing as I really didn’t like the set piece, but that was very much last minute, so I looked on you tube for inspiration but didn’t really find anything that stood out. Finally I remember a beautiful reverence from David Howard’s “Ballet Class for Beginners DVD”, but the music contained David’s commentary. I found a lovely piece of music from one of Craig Wingrove CD’s (Variation IV La Neige from The Seasons), however the music lasted a little longer that David Howard’s example which allowed me to do a Rond de Jambe into an elegant full down curtsy and on the rise open right arm acknowledging my examiner and then opening my left arm to my teacher, just loved it. I even got to use the same version of Reverence at a different class the next day, this was at the Silver Swans at Bourne-to-Dance, in Bourne in Lincolnshire. This was another ballet school that I hired the studio for a couple of hours a week and then attended their ballet class as a little thank you. I stopped attending that school when I had my injury in the summer of 2017, so I contacted the school about going back about a month ago. Sadly adult ballet and adult tap has for this year been replace by exam classes for youngster, however I was offered Silver Swans, at first I was a bit reluctant to go as it really isn’t my thing, however its turned out to be quite fun. Needless to say I am a bit of a miss fit there as I am the only on in proper ballet gear and also an active ballet dancer. The class itself is quite large around 17 or 18. At the end of class this week we did a sort of basic reverence with two at a time coming down the centre of the room. The music sounded like the opening of Swan Lake Act2, it ran out before the last two ladies did there reverence, after they went I just couldn’t help myself, I just had to do my version, I started it off as the classes set piece, when I got to the from our teacher knew I was up to mischief and said “go for it girl”, I did my version of the reverence this time ending in open arm, my teacher opened her arms too and I got a wonderful applause from our Silver Swans, that was a lovely end to class that day.
  10. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Last week was the first week back after the summer break or in my case a couple of weeks break after our week at Ballet West ( most classes but not all). It has been a good start as I have started my next piece for Ballet West for the summer of 2019, Le Corsaire’s scene containing the three Odalisques. I will be dancing the entire eight and a half minutes of choreography which consists of several solo’s duets and pas de trios which is normally shared between 3 dancers. Not only are some of the movements quite challenging, but the stamina I need to carry this off will be quite demanding too. Four years ago I created a solo for one of my visits to Ballet West based on the first couple of minutes of choreography from the three Odalisques. One observation my teacher made was, the beginning was boring as nothing was happening over the long introduction, but that’s how it is in the ballet. Then we introduced a walk round then chassis into prep with the music and almost immediately followed into the active rep. With that in mind I have included Adrian as the Slave Master who through a fairly elaborate introduction, introduces me to our imaginary sheik, I guess what we have done is more akin to introducing Medora with the removal of her veil. At the moment it works extremely well with the music, but I guess it will still get a tweak or two before we regard it as finished. Just need to find Adrian a suitable Arabian costume now. The piece is likely to be a little longer as Adrian intervenes with introductions and reverence endings where possible, this has been particularly useful for Adrian as I have grounded him from actively dancing until after his shoulder tear operation. I’m must confess, I’m really exited by this piece. The other significant thing that has happened this week as for the moment I’m injury free, I have started pointe work, or at least strengthening for pointe. Although this had been on the cards for some time, but something always got in the way, usually injuries as I have what one might call a self inflicted hazardous life style, still climbing roofs and trees. One of the recommendation from this years session at Ballet West “I should try Freed pointe shoes” as opposed to my old Bloch Serenades which I used for a short period some years ago. Needless to say I have been and had various pointe shoes tried during fitting and they finally selected Freed too. Thursday morning my one-to-one coaching session is now been focused on pointe prep, I have come away with a daily work to list of pre-pointe exercises, however my coach has rained in the number of reps I was expecting to do. Sunday the 16th I will be attending The Alive Ballet Companies Pointe Worksop at The Place, however its likely I may still be on demi, although it would be nice to at least make a start on the barre work, but I’m in no hurry, as I really need to follow this though this time. Although The Alive Ballet Company is not doing a Christmas performance this year as we are on an extended break until January 2019 when we get our Artistic Director back. I am starting rehearsal with BBT next Sunday, who have been asked to showcase as part of the London Performance Company’s Christmas show, really looking forward to it. I guess from January I will be performing with both companies. Although my studio has become a place I can start to do ballet in now the excessive hot weather has gone. I have finally placed the order this week for Air Conditioning to be installed around end of October/ beginning of November. The electrics have been left to me. Unfortunately my qualified electrician friend is still convalescing after a back operation, so I will be left with the donkey work of digging trenches for the armoured cable and boring holes through walls, which is no problem after the studio build, anyway it helps keep my street cred of my catch phase alive “I’m a ballerina and can do anything “
  11. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    Another wonderful week at Ballet West this year again making it the 5th for me (well only 4 days this year) , however it had its ups and downs. The journey this year was extremely tiring especially the first leg up to Dumbarton where we stayed Saturday night. This year we didn’t have our own car, its in for repair, we had a smaller courtesy car with restricted leg room for Adrian’s long legs. Adrian is a 6ft 3 guy and needs a lot of room for comfort so consequently we had too keep stopping for breaks to allow him to have a walk around and stretch his legs. For me it just seamed to take forever to get to our destination. Sunday was a much nicer day with a relatively short second leg to Oban, we arrived at the hotel full of eager anticipation for the following morning at Ballet West. We have stayed at the hotel before so we knew the morning drill, breakfast at 8 usually we are on the road by 8.30 for Ballet West at just before 9.00am , at least we have been in previous years. This year there seamed to be a lot more people for breakfast, it had gone 8.30 before our order was taken, we text Gillian at Ballet West to say we would be late, that really annoyed me, so we ceased to have breakfast at the hotel for the rest of the week. About a mile or two just outside Oban we found a petrol station that provided cooked breakfast rolls while you wait and hot drinks too, so we used them instead, at least we were at Ballet West the rest of the week on time. Day 1 was my first two solo’s, the easy ones I thought, the first Sleeping beauty’s Blue Bird female solo, I had a full A4 sheet of corrections. For corrections we both get together and I document them as its not always possible to implement each and everyone at normal music tempo, first you have to break that old memory, I find it better to run the music slower at about 80% of its normal rate to allow a little additional thinking time to override that old memory and burn in the new one. Many can be done strait away, but there is always one that resists. The second solo was Sleeping Beauty’s Lilac Fairy from the prologue. Fewer corrections from this one but it was just as challenging. Firstly I guess I don’t help my self by insisting it has the full opening port de bras which is mostly done before the commencement of the orchestra. Where I just cheat it a bit, by trying to fit the port de bras into the short preamble missing timing on count 1 but being back on time by count 2, in other words a bit of a compromise. I did find some music used by one of the Vaganova dancers that was a little slower, but it just felt too slow for the main phases. The most challenging piece in this variation is the pirouettes following the attitude to arabesque steps into brush down tendu wit the gesturing leg. At my coaches studio in Lincolnshire which uses a slippy wood floor, these are no problem. In my own studio where there is a significant amount of grip, these pirouettes for me seam very inconsistent. The floor slippyness at Ballet West seams to be between the two. When I first arrived at Ballet West I did sneakily try one of these pirouettes and it worked first time, but when repeating it in the solo it just seamed to be getting worse, I guess I was just getting tired. Day 2 only one solo for this day as this had been quite a tricky piece to dance particularly the retire passé section of 3 sets of 8 counts with different fan arm head positions. This was a piece our teacher Gillian liked and said it suited me, but I guess it was the one that got the most amount of preparation put into it. My choreography for this piece was inspired from two completely different dancers, the first has beautiful port de bras with the fan, the second was lively with intricate port de bras positions through the retire passes, the music was taken initially from the first. However the week before Ballet West I became uneasy about inappropriate noises in the music, firstly after the pull-up into Spanish pose for want of a better word on count two, there is an abrupt sound of the fan being flicked open, the music is not dissimilar to a harp being strummed slowing, for me after pull-up I simply let the fan fall open in sympathy with the musical strum, that fitted beautifully. Later there is a small pause followed by a short abrupt strum where it is appropriate for the dancer to flick the fan open, however on the sound track the dancer flicks it open before the music which is really off putting Grrr. In the end I found some clean music free of fan and pointe shoe noise, it had similar tempo but it was sadly 16 counts short, so I had to adapt the ending. The only really tricky piece in this variation at Ballet West, was remembering to limit the travel of the retire passes otherwise I was inclined to run out of space travelling backwards; the distance available in studio 2 was about 6.5metres. Tuesday evening I also attended Ballet West’s Adult Fitness Class, in previous years Gillian has run this class, but now a Senior Adult Ballet West student called ( I think) Ragu (sorry if its incorrect). There were only two others in the class, a young Ballet West student, I think she would be around 20, and a middle aged lady. I was warned this class was not like Gillian’s, they were right. I can’t remember all that we did but the intensity against the high number of reps. What I can remember at the barre, we did a rise in first and pulled the feet further together, then we went into progressive plies whilst remaining in pull-up, we must have gone through 5 or 6 different levels in the plie, it wasn’t just going through them, each level was held for a sustained period of time, it could have been 10 seconds or so, I certainly felt it in the inner thighs. In the centre we stood balanced on one leg, and made small movements on the other to the side, the number of reps exceeded 100, we also tried to do this on releve of the supporting leg, but I think we all failed miserably after a few reps. Another one was laying on our side, with the top leg turn over with its foot on the floor. Every thing below the hip is off the floor, that leg is made to move up and down in small movements for over 100 reps, before going on to the other leg. Day 3 Swan Lake Lakeside scene and Entrance of Odette PDD including the Mime scene. Although Gillian knew of the mime scene she was no longer familiar with the gestures, so Adrian and I added commentary in as we danced through them. It commenced with our entry of Siegfried , I edit the music to capture something that reflected a happy walk, as this was supposed to be Siegfried’s birthday, Adrian started from the up-stage right corner and walked to the up-stage left corner, as it was a happy piece I had his left hand on his hip and the right wafting about in sympathy with his walk (leg position), however Gillian didn’t think it looked regal enough and suggested a change which Adrian liked so we implemented it. When he finally sees his crossbow in the centre of stage, he briskly walks over to too it and round behind it. Initially I had him checking to see if anyone was watching looking left and transferring his weight to the left leg whist brushing his right arm out as you would do with a breath, then repeating it on the other side. Gillian thought we were trying to be too balletic and suggested making it more natural , this too was changed to a skulking squat peering out to see if anyone was looking, probably not very regal but I must confess it would have conveyed more to the audience about what was going on. Siegfried pick up the bow, feels its weight, looks at it both sides then takes 2 steps forward and pretend to aim it skywards. Lowers it, turns to stage left corner with bow low follows the skyline with his eyes ( for Adrian the top of the studio mirrors) until facing centre ( Audience ) then raises his right arm to follow the imaginary swans he has seen, then we follow largely the choreography of the Royal Ballet including my entrance. There was only one piece I found naggingly difficult and that was recognising in the music where to step out in alarm as Siegfried crept up behind me which followed his mime for “YOU, FLY-A-WAY, NO”, Although I was seldom off time there, I was never comfortable with it as it’s a really poor signature. The piece that follows is Odette soutenu and swan arm burees repeated 4 times, Adrian has always found it difficult to get round me in the short time of this phase and has often been blocking my travel during practice. As it’s highly repetitive he has often forgotten to peel off on the 4th soutenu as my facing with swan arms are different on this one. Although the majority of the choreography is inspired by the Royal Ballet, the ending is quite different after Odette’s pleading with Von Rothbart both followed with a soutenu, mine follows that with a retire passé of the left leg to the front whilst hands palm down crossing around first position, then on the loud blast from the orchestra the arms move out firmly gesturing a very strongly “NO”,. Siegfried from his aiming position lets go of the bow with his left hand , turns CW to face away from me, head down looking very dejected because I wont allow him to shoot Von Rothbart, his left arm droops out at no more than 45 degrees. I run over to it and perch on his arm with my left leg extended in attitude, he turn his head towards me and our arms extend out to 90 degrees, I let go of his arm with my extended arm but I still hold the extension and shake my head slowly reinforcing the “NO”, then the long note appears from the Orchestra indicating the beginning of Odette’s walk off, Siegfried follows shortly after. Although we had borrowed some of the ending from another company, it was to quite different music at the end. The fit we had achieved with the Royal Ballet music was remarkable, I just loved it. At the end of day 3 Adrian was starting to complain about growing pain in his shoulders due to existing tears and said, he would only be dancing it once on his performance on day 4. Day 4 All pieces were danced in costume and videoed as we usually do at the end of our intensive training. As Adrian was videoing my solo’s, we forgot to record the first Swan Lake run through. Adrian bless him agreed to give it one more shot for the recording by Gillian this time. At the weekend Adrian and I went through the videos, I certainly wasn’t very happy with mine, they could have been far better. However I must pay tribute to Adrian I was really impressed with his performance of Swan Lake particularly his piece dancing with me on the 4 soutenu Swan arm buree section, the timing, and leg / arm positions were the best I had seen from him. As a thank you that weekend I took Adrian to Liverpool as he is an ardent supporter of Liverpool Football Club, apart from buying his birthday present as I had agreed too, I bought him a Liver Bird trophy with an LFC inscription on it as a special thank you for all his efforts and of course my nagging to make progress, very well done Adrian. Lessons learnt, we must make more use of more video recording for analysis and self correction, so I guess its more new toys for our studio, eg high speed digital camera and also a wide angled camera to allow operatorless recording.
  12. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    The practice run up to this year’s session at Ballet West to say the least has been tough going, mainly due to the lack of studio time in my own studio. This summers abnormally hot weather for around the last month has meant, even at 7am the studio temperature was around 20 ºC at that its very comfortable, by 9am its usually around 25ºC still ok but just starting to be uncomfortable, by 9.30 to 10am its hitting 30ºC, it then for me at least become too uncomfortable to concentrate. After about mid day temperatures inside the studio have been around 45 ºC and normally the temperature has held above 30ºC until after about 9pm at night. Well as it is, we have run out of practice time as Adrian and I are travelling up to Scotland tomorrow (Saturday), staying overnight at Dumbarton, then on up to Oban on Sunday for a 9am start at Ballet West Monday morning. Adrian bless him has done really well in spite of him protesting he’s not a ballet dancer and I expect too much of him, however I was quite impressed at our last session when we did Swan Lakes ending of the Lakeside scene into the Entrance of Odette incorporating the mime scene. Up to this point Adrian had always had the video running on the big scene to prompt with his timing etc, however he popped out to the loo and I had switch it for the sound track only with some minor editing. I was expecting moans about not having the video to follow, but he took all his stride after the third practice run he went all the way through, further more I had changed the very end by adding a couple of pieces of additional mime. I’m quietly confident now things will be fine by our presentation day (Thursday) when we perform all our piece in costume. So it’s up to Scotland with 4 different tutu, a bunch of fans for Don Q as I have broken 3 already, and Adrian of course with his Crossbow. Once we get back it down to installing air conditioning ASAP, unfortunately this isn’t something we can do by ourselves
  13. Hi Kate_N Whilst I don't have any knowledge of classes at Central, my only experience of their studios is we have held the occasional rehearsal there. However as for Desiree Ballentyne I have met here a couple of times, firstly at a Swan Lake Master Class held at ENB’s Markova House, at that time I didn’t know her name but enjoyed the class very much. During last summer I was asked by my companied AD to organise a studio for a one day Ballet Boot Camp, which was fine, but I had no intention of attending it myself. Initially I tried to place it in one of the studio’s in ROH but they were long winded in getting back to me, in the meantime I found one at Sadler’s, by this time I guess I was feeling a little bit guilty of not supporting the activities of my company, so I booked it. I was told Desiree Ballentyne would be conducting the workshop, which was also available for dancers outside the Alive Ballet Company; I was also informed it contained some rep. Rep for me changes everything, so I contacted Desiree by email, she was very open and extremely informative about the rep she was intending to teach, for me that was a big plus point. On the day of the workshop I was first in after Desiree, once I met her I realise we had met before, furthermore I had a photo of us both on my phone at her ENB Swan Lake Master class. The general standard of what was taught I guess was around intermediate, however what I do remember was the abundance of helpful tips that came from her. Desiree also teaches ENB’s Monday night Adult intermediate class, at the time I did check it out but the Monday night advance class was discontinued when Tom Linecar- Bolton left. I left there at the same time as it’s really not worth while in both time and travel to do a single ENB class. If Desiree was to cover both ENB classes (Int and Advance) in the same evening, no question, I would make a point of being there.
  14. Michelle_Richer

    Simply Adult Ballet

    About a month ago I attended a pointe workshop following a nasty swollen little toe type injury, I never thought I would make it, however I had to do it on demi with my soft ballet slippers. I tried to put my old pointe shoes on a couple of days before but there was no way as the pain was excruciating, a day before the workshop I did manage to at least get them on but it was still extremely painful and as Ballet West was coming up, the last thing I wanted to do was wreck all the work we had put in to our rep for that. Pointe work for me somehow seems to be fated, last Autumn I had booked and paid for a ballet and pointe work course held by our ballet company “Alive” at the Royal Ballet School, sadly I missed that too through injury. Although this time it was classified as a workshop, its likely to be repeated on a periodic basis providing there are sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile, I did ask that the next one be after I return back from Ballet West . I was hoping as each of my regular classes and coaching sessions closed for the summer break, I would get a good run of rep practice before Ballet West in a couple of weeks time, however the recent hot weather has rendered my studio unusable after about 9.30am as the inside temperature approaches 30 degrees C, some days by mid day its been around 45 degrees. For the next two weeks I’m back to hiring my local hall, otherwise we are likely to be less polished this year than previously. Once back we have to invest in air conditioning for the studio as we have tried the simple things like opening the doors and windows and using our large wind generator fan. We have already looked at the feasibility of where to install a split air conditioning unit. There is only one place, that is to lower the mirror attached to the house wall to floor level, that will create sufficient room above it for the internal air conditioning unit and access for the pipe work to the external compressor unit. At least it will also provided heating for the cold winter temperatures too. I never dreamt I would be doing all this for ballet when I started, but I guess its all a learning process.
  15. Michelle_Richer

    Powerhouse Ballet

    Hi Terpsichore Further to the conversation we had on the train a few weeks ago, about a low cost way to get you dancers performing stage, without incurring the substantial cost of a performing venue, by making use of the Ultimate Dance Showcase events. The only cost incurred is each dancers registration fee of £8.00 for large groups (10 -19 performers)and £10 for small groups(4 – 9 performers), there are other categories too. However your time on stage is limited, if you are competing as you will loose a quarter point for every 5 seconds over your time limit. Maximum time for small groups are 3:00 minutes and large groups 4 minutes. This shouldn’t be too demanding for your less experienced dancers, however there are provisions in the entry for two standards, Novice and Competitive , Novice is for beginning dancers (less than two years) ONLY who have little or no experience competing, the complexity of their dance routine should be based on this. Dates and venues that may interest you: BIRMINGHAM 3rd November 2018 LIVERPOOL 22 and 23 June 2019 One point worth noting, there is no provision on site for rehearsing and you will have to make you own arrangements at a local studio. Our UDSC was at their London venue The Greenwood Theatre, so I hired two studio’s within RAD HQ, one for ourselves and the other for our sister contemporary dance company. Although the event caters for all age groups, the organisers do tend to group similar age groups together, our UDSC was a two day event, adults and teens were on the second day. For further info go to the Ultimate Dance Showcase Website : https://udsuk.co.uk/ Hope that helps PS Do say hello to Annemarie for me when you next see her
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