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RuthE

Adult absolute beginners courses in Central London

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I'm currently looking into enrolling in an adult absolute beginners' ballet course in the new year and was wondering if anyone has any feedback on these specific ones.

 

I'm based in inner London and work regular office hours.  The only evening I can be consistently free on a weekly basis is Tuesday, which as far as I can see means I have two options: the ENB class currently taught by Sarah Golightly (not yet taking bookings for January but I'm assuming it's likely to continue to its current schedule) or the City Lit class taught by Alexander Simpkins.  Each has its own advantages in practical terms.  (I am also almost always busy on Sunday mornings, so the drop-in class at Central isn't an option.)

 

I actually took the City Lit course for one term a decade or so ago, but it was a different instructor back then so I would assume it isn't directly comparable.  I quit after a term because I wasn't really into it, but back then I barely even had an interest in the art form, so I didn't really understand what it was "for".  Having attended ballet performances regularly for a few years I'm now approaching this possibility with new-found enthusiasm!

 

Any feedback on either of the above would be greatly appreciated, so I am armed with a decision about which to take before either of them gets booked up!  Thanks in advance.  Or indeed if there are any others on a Tuesday evening which I am not yet aware of...

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Looks like the decision may have been made for me, as I've just had a DM about a hiatus in classes at ENB next term while they move premises.

 

So... anyone currently doing the City Lit course on a Tuesday evening and have any particular things to say about it?

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I’ve not been taught by him, but I sometimes do a class at Danceworks taught by another teacher of which Mr Simpkins is a regular member. Watching him in class is a lesson in itselfand if I lived in London I’d definitely seek out classes he teaches. He’s a beautiful dancer to watch and seems a highly regarded teacher and colleague by my teacher. 

 

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I was taught by Alex when I was doing the adult Intermediate Foundation class at the Royal Academy of Dance. I enjoyed being taught by him. 

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Well it looks like you have found your class!

However some others may be .....if you can be free on any other night ...

David Kierce at Central from 7-8.30 on Monday and Wednesday's ......beginner/ improver level

David Kierce at Central from 7-8.30 on a Thursday evening .....absolute beginners.

 

Also on a Tuesday at the Place is a class by Jo Darvill Mills ....from 6.30 - 8pm.

The only problem is I have never taken class with her before ....but am looking for a Tuesday eve class myself from January so was thinking of trying this .....you just phone in on the day to book a place etc. 

Has anyone here attended any of her classes? She trained at the Royal Ballet School so must be reasonably okay! She is teaching at level one so a sort of Beginners / Improvers sort of class presumably. 

I would love to attend one of David's but he doesn't teach on a Tuesday anymore unfortunately. 

 

Many many years ago I attended very good classes at the City Lit taught by Bridget Kelly who had links with the Rambert I believe.

I think the facilities will  be better at the Place though than at City Lit ....eg: better floor etc. 

 

There used to to be a fab beginners level class at the Rambert studios last year on a Tuesday taught by Mark Kimmett .....great teacher and best studios in London!! However this has all changed this year ...I think his night is a Thursday now but it's all pay up front for a term no drop in any more 😥

Final place to look at might be RAD over in Battersea but a bit of a trek depending where you live and work etc .....they are bound to have something on a Tuesday but not sure what this year!!

Good luck with it all 😊

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18 minutes ago, LinMM said:

Well it looks like you have found your class!

However some others may be .....if you can be free on any other night ...

David Kierce at Central from 7-8.30 on Monday and Wednesday's ......beginner/ improver level

David Kierce at Central from 7-8.30 on a Thursday evening .....absolute beginners.

 

Also on a Tuesday at the Place is a class by Jo Darvill Mills ....from 6.30 - 8pm.

The only problem is I have never taken class with her before ....but am looking for a Tuesday eve class myself from January so was thinking of trying this .....you just phone in on the day to book a place etc. 

Has anyone here attended any of her classes? She trained at the Royal Ballet School so must be reasonably okay! She is teaching at level one so a sort of Beginners / Improvers sort of class presumably. 

I would love to attend one of David's but he doesn't teach on a Tuesday anymore unfortunately. 

 

Many many years ago I attended very good classes at the City Lit taught by Bridget Kelly who had links with the Rambert I believe.

I think the facilities will  be better at the Place though than at City Lit ....eg: better floor etc. 

 

There used to to be a fab beginners level class at the Rambert studios last year on a Tuesday taught by Mark Kimmett .....great teacher and best studios in London!! However this has all changed this year ...I think his night is a Thursday now but it's all pay up front for a term no drop in any more 😥

Final place to look at might be RAD over in Battersea but a bit of a trek depending where you live and work etc .....they are bound to have something on a Tuesday but not sure what this year!!

Good luck with it all 😊


one thing to  remember with  David's thursday class it that it's a subset of exercises ( no turning ) , what you do do  is taught to his  high standards and he  has a knack of teaching to the room  -   i know  people who take his thursday class who are  higher level than absolute beginners  - but they take it because they know David will work them hard and because his classes are great fun - a good class is a good class whatever the level... 

Hannah Frost's beginner class  at Central on friday is also  a good class  
 

Edited by Nicola H
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In case you are free on a Monday I can highly recommend Natalie Krapf's beginners class at The Place. I think it's a termly sign up, but she really gets you set up with the basics, making the class interesting enough but not overwhelming.

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Thanks everybody!  I haven't been on the forum over the weekend and I see you've all been talking amongst yourselves :)

 

Most of the classes mentioned are ones that I was already aware of from having searched this forum, though thanks MayKwok in particular because I didn't know there was one at The Place.

 

It's not that I'm *never* free on an evening other than a Tuesday, just that it's the only evening when I would be able to commit to a termly sign-up.  Basically, earlier this year when I started booking tickets for things in 2019, I noticed that I'd coincidentally kept all my Tuesdays free, so I decided to keep it that way on principle with a view to finding a new extracurricular activity to fit into it.  (On Mondays I sometimes do a singing thing; Wednesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Fridays are when I tend to book opera and ballet tickets, and are already quite booked up in early 2019.  And my singing teacher only teaches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I try to have a fortnightly lesson, so if I'm deliberately keeping Tuesdays free I need to make sure I fit them in on Wednesdays.)

 

So, drop-in classes are a possibility on Mondays and Thursdays (David Kierce's Thursday class at Central was definitely on my radar) but I figured as an absolute beginner I should start by getting into a regular routine.  And if I stick with it long enough to get out of the absolute beginner category, I realise I then have a much wider set of options re drop-in classes labeled "beginner".

 

In the meantime, I have booked and paid for the spring term at City Lit.

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2 hours ago, RuthE said:

Thanks everybody!  I haven't been on the forum over the weekend and I see you've all been talking amongst yourselves :)

 

Most of the classes mentioned are ones that I was already aware of from having searched this forum, though thanks MayKwok in particular because I didn't know there was one at The Place.

 

It's not that I'm *never* free on an evening other than a Tuesday, just that it's the only evening when I would be able to commit to a termly sign-up.  Basically, earlier this year when I started booking tickets for things in 2019, I noticed that I'd coincidentally kept all my Tuesdays free, so I decided to keep it that way on principle with a view to finding a new extracurricular activity to fit into it.  (On Mondays I sometimes do a singing thing; Wednesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Fridays are when I tend to book opera and ballet tickets, and are already quite booked up in early 2019.  And my singing teacher only teaches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I try to have a fortnightly lesson, so if I'm deliberately keeping Tuesdays free I need to make sure I fit them in on Wednesdays.)

 

So, drop-in classes are a possibility on Mondays and Thursdays (David Kierce's Thursday class at Central was definitely on my radar) but I figured as an absolute beginner I should start by getting into a regular routine.  And if I stick with it long enough to get out of the absolute beginner category, I realise I then have a much wider set of options re drop-in classes labeled "beginner".

 

In the meantime, I have booked and paid for the spring term at City Lit.

sounds like a good plan 

 

try David's Thursday;s class   and/or Hannah Frost's friday class as well  as both are good classes   taught by  fab teachers.    

as for 'if you get beyond absolute beginners ' ...    welcome  down the rabbit hole ...  

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13 minutes ago, Nicola H said:

as for 'if you get beyond absolute beginners ' ...    welcome  down the rabbit hole ...  

 

Ha!

 

As I said in my OP, I did briefly take the City Lit class several years ago and quit after one term.  But I wasn't into ballet in any other context at the time.  I've also recently become really health-conscious, and motivated about trying new things, in a way that in the past only ever materialised as a phase I was going through, but which weirdly seems to have "stuck" this time.

 

I was thinking today that there's no reason I shouldn't try some David Kierce classes between now and when term starts in the new year, when I have the odd Thursday evening or Sunday morning free.

 

Now to see if I still have the leotard I bought at the age of 29 and find out whether it still fits me at 40...

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Oh dear RuthE .....the leotard may turn out to be a problem.....If you haven't done little exercise in those years that is!!

I did keep my 20's figure until my early 40's but was dancing in that time.

I then had a twenty two year gap from ballet..... but was doing other forms of exercise intermittently in that time...but with a very lazy period between ages of 55 and when I took up ballet again around 62/63 .

In those lazy years I went up two sizes!!  So certainly could not fit in a leotard I dug out from the loft which had fit me in early 40's!

I did go back down a size fairly quickly but have never ( yet) got back to my original more youthful weight 😢

I also discovered that most over the counter leotards in most Dance shops just don't fit me......even their "extra large" size is slightly too small because they seem to use some sort of secret balletic sizes....but that for another thread.

 

I would say you that you can mix and match David's classes that you could do the absolute beginners and the beginners plus ( Improvers) and be okay as you have done some ballet before. 

The centre work in the beginners plus is not too complicated though you will work hard at the barre. 

If you are free on a Sunday there is also Franziska Rosenzweig at Danceworks who has a beginners class in the afternoon ( followed by more advanced ....but that class is more advanced than David's beginners plus ( Improvers) class) ......can't remember whether I mentioned her in my other post. 

They have a very different teaching style but are similar in building up the basics sequentially and methodically very well indeed and explaining things really well. David is just a little more crazy ( in a nice way) which is quite cheering on a dreary winter Sunday afternoon!! 

 

Ive recently attended workshops with both these teachers ( Franziska just this last weekend) and think they complement each other perfectly and love them both. 

By the way you mentioned Thursday's .....Franziska has the same classes on a Thursday evening too at Danceworks ....plus I think she does  beginners Pointework  on Thursdays too. 

 

Edited by LinMM
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18 minutes ago, LinMM said:

....plus I think she does  beginners Pointework  on Thursdays too. 

 

 

Bloody hell, LinMM... one thing at a time :D

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Well you know you can do pointework on Demi pointe ....to strengthen your ankles!! But yes I wouldn't be presuming you to start pointework.... just yet!! 

I don't do pointework any more but do join the odd class of teachers I know to strengthen ankles .....need all the help I can get at my age😬🙁😩😉

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I found the leotard and it fits! I’m on the hunt for a new one, though - the cut is awful for keeping a bra invisible underneath (this is a non-negotiable part of my attire).

 

And I seem to have been into Dancia this afternoon and acquired a pair of ballet shoes and some tights. So apparently I am now equipped to start doing drop-in classes at my earliest available opportunity...

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Hurrah! Have a great time.

 

If you find your way to drop-in classes other than a Tuesday, I'd really recommend Hannah Frost's 4:30pm classes at Danceworks on Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays. If you've done ballet before, her class will help your body remember; if you've not done it before, she gives lots of advice and hands-on corrections (a rarity nowadays!). As a fairly experienced ballet student, I find her classes are also a really useful tune-up and her corrections are really spot on & very helpful. She has an eagle eye & a great dry sense of humour.

Edited by Kate_N
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3 hours ago, Kate_N said:

Hurrah! Have a great time.

 

If you find your way to drop-in classes other than a Tuesday, I'd really recommend Hannah Frost's 4:30pm classes at Danceworks on Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays. If you've done ballet before, her class will help your body remember; if you've not done it before, she gives lots of advice and hands-on corrections (a rarity nowadays!). As a fairly experienced ballet student, I find her classes are also a really useful tune-up and her corrections are really spot on & very helpful. She has an eagle eye & a great dry sense of humour.



I Agree with @Kate_N Totally on this  point

I've not  taken  Hannah's class at Danceworks,  but  I have taken  it at Central (  friday evening  -  Hannah  makes a mad dash across London from Danceworks )   and Kate;s assessment is  spot on 
 

Edited by Nicola H
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I was unusually free this Sunday morning, so went to David Kierce’s class and really enjoyed it. Having not stepped inside a ballet studio for a decade (and not many times before that) I was pleasantly surprised by the basics I did actually remember. I am sure I will be back.

 

And thanks for that new recommendation, Swanprincess - that time slot is one that would often work for me.

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29 minutes ago, RuthE said:

I was unusually free this Sunday morning, so went to David Kierce’s class and really enjoyed it. Having not stepped inside a ballet studio for a decade (and not many times before that) I was pleasantly surprised by the basics I did actually remember. I am sure I will be back.

 

And thanks for that new recommendation, Swanprincess - that time slot is one that would often work for me.

Glad you  enjoyed it  ...  David's classes are something special  

if you  enjoy  David's teaching style    think about  www.theballetretreat.com when you've got   back into the swing of things  -  numerous thread on here about  it and  several  TBR 'usual suspects' are regularish  posters  on the board  ( i have no commercial  link to TBR, just a  satisfied  customer   and  part of the 'TBR Family' ) 

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Funny how the things I was always worst at came *instantly* back to me... like getting muddled about whether to close front or back (my brain is clear on the theory re preparing for the next step, but communicating that to my body is another matter!) and remembering not to sing along with the backing track...

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On ‎16‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 23:22, swanprincess said:

London Russian Ballet School have a brilliant Absolute Beginners class at 1.30pm on Sundays, I definitely recommend that :)

 

Hi swanprincess, I was just wondering if you could elaborate a bit on how these classes operate, as it isn't clear at all on their website.  I assume, from the fact that the price of a single class is given, that you don't have to sign up for a term, but is it drop-in or is there some kind of booking system?

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Thanks both.

 

Looks like I will be out of action for a few weeks, sadly, as I am currently sitting in the waiting room at my local minor injuries unit with a suspected broken toe :(

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Oh no RuthE I hope you didn't do it dancing but hope it gets better soon 

Depending on the toe I'm not sure they do too much about it ....if it's middle toes may just have to tie two together ....not sure if it's the big toe that's broken whether they put plaster on that one? 

Im sure I've had an undiagnosed broken toe .....one next to little one .....a heavy object fell on it but the doctor said it may be broken or maybe not did I want to go to A and E when they won't do anything anyway!! So I didn't! But when you look at it now it does look a bit crooked so perhaps it was broken.

it didn't take that long to mend anyway and doesn't bother me now inspite of its crookedness!!

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No, definitely didn’t do it dancing - my bare foot had an altercation with the open door of my dishwasher. And it’s now been confirmed broken. The dishwasher is, of course, fine; I am on crutches.

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Why not treat yourself to a weekend of Ballet ....via YouTube... and your favourite tipple!

what did they advise with the toe apart from keeping weight off of it? 

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Basically that; take paracetamol and ibuprofen together, elevate the foot and keep the toe strapped to its neighbour. They’ve also given me a rigid-soled sandal. Fortunately I am not currently booked solid with standing-tickets for things!

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On ‎07‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 13:08, RuthE said:

Looks like the decision may have been made for me, as I've just had a DM about a hiatus in classes at ENB next term while they move premises.

 

So... anyone currently doing the City Lit course on a Tuesday evening and have any particular things to say about it?

 

Contrary to the above advice, It appears ENB classes ARE running next term after all, as they have just Tweeted that they are open for booking.

 

And I'm now committed to City Lit.  Ah well, I can always switch to ENB in a subsequent term.

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Happy to report my broken toe was sufficiently recovered for my first class at the City Lit this evening (even though I can’t really point it properly!)

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