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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. As some of you may know, I run a small, amateur ballet company in the North of England. A friend in a leading company who holds a Russian passport but lives elsewhere has very kindly offered us a masterclass in Manchester. She will only be here for a day or two. If any subscriber to this website has ever done anything like this before could he or she advise: What paperwork needs to be done, How expensive will it be to process the dancer's application; and How long will it take?
  2. Thanks very much. Darlex. Marge's performance was a shortcut to a very special part of my youth. I took my first ballet lessons when I was an undergraduate and I developed a love and appreciation of dance that has never diminished. It was while I was at St Andrews that I read with pride in Dance and Dancers about a new company called Northern Dance Theatre which had performed three short ballets at the university theatre in my birthplace. on 26 Nov 1969. One of those dancers was Terence Etheridge who created the first ballet for Powerhouse Ballet, an amateur company that I founded in the North of England just under 2 years ago.
  3. While I enjoyed the whole show, my personal highlights were Five Rückert Songs danced by Marge Hendrick and A Simple Man with Jeremy Kerridge as the painter and his mother. The reason why the first of those works was a personal highlight is that Western Theatre Ballet moved to Glasgow in my second year at St Andrews. John Steer who later chaired the company was our Professor of Fine Arts. He had got to know them at Bristol and he may well have been instrumental in their move to Glasgow. He introduced me and other members of the St Andrews Dance Society to their director Peter Darrell and the dancers. They toured Scotland quite a lot in those days and we watched them whenever they came anywhere near St Andrews. On the day the 15 Feb 1971 the day the UK adopted decimal currency they actually performed in our Buchanan Theatre. To see Marge Hendrick dance a work that Darrell had created for Elaine McDonald who was one of my favourite ballerinas many decades later brought tears to my eyes. Scottish Theatre Ballet was the first company that I got to know and love and Scottish Ballet still has a special place in my affection. Northern Ballet, like Scottish Ballet, traced its roots to Bristol and Christopher Hampson who followed David Nixon at the start of the show reminded the audience of the two companies' shared heritage. The reason why A Simple Man is special is that it was the first work by Northern Ballet that I ever saw. Christopher Gable and Moira Shearer were in the leading roles and it was the last time I ever saw them. I saw the show shortly after I had accepted a tenancy at a good set of Chancery chambers in Manchester. I was born in Manchester though I had attended school in London, university in Scotland and graduate school in Los Angeles and was happy to come home but my late spouse was a Londoner and had serious misgivings about living in the North. We were both keen regular ballet goers and feared that remoteness from the House and the Wells would be unbearable. There was of course the Halle and Nick Hytner's Royal Exchange but that hardly made up for it. Watching Lynne's brilliant choreography performed by two of our favourite artists reassured us that there was a dance company in Manchester that was every bit as good in ballet as the Halle was in music and the Royal Exchange in plays. I have followed and supported all three institutions ever since.
  4. Just a couple of thoughts about Coppelia. It is said that drill lyrics encourage street crime. Well in this ballet the local toughs (what we might have called Teddy boys in my youth) rough up an old geezer on his way to the pub. Franz climbs a ladder to break into his workshop. Swanilda and the ladettes enter the workshop using Dr Coppelius's key. When they are discovered they set off the robots and Swanilda tears out pages from one of his text books to me. At the very least it is elder abuse if not assault and battery or even ABH, burglary, criminal damage .............. What's the difference between that and drill? Also, whenever I watch Franz flirting with Coppelia I think of the Turing test and human robotic intervention. This is really a ballet for our times in more senses than one don't you think..
  5. I should be surprised if I was the only one to have caught the English National Ballet while it was in Liverpool at the end of November but, as I can't find any other reviews or mentions on this website, I thought I would just say a few words before The Nutcracker opens in London later this week. I attended the evening performance at the Empire on 30 Nov 2019. This was Wayne Eagling's version of "The Nutcracker" that I had seen before in :London. I enjoyed it a lot though not perhaps as much as Peter Wright's for the Birmingham Royal Ballet or Peter Darrell's for Scottish Ballet but I prefer it to Wright's for the London Royal Ballet and David Nixon's for Northern. I like Farmer's designs which seem a little different from Toer van Schayk's for HNB. In this version Clara becomes the Sugar Plum Fairy. She was danced appealingly by Shiori Kase. Brooklyn Mack was her prince, Junor Souza the Nutcracker, Fabian Reimair and James Streeter was the Mouse King. All the divertissements were performed well but if I had to single out any particular artist for commendation it would be Precious Adams who led the snowflakes and flowers with grace, This was not the first time I had attended a show at the Liverpool Empire. As on previous occasions the audience were demonstrative in their appreciation. For that reason alone it was good yo watch that ballet in their company.
  6. We had a lot of Balanchine on Tuesday but no Ballet Imperial, However, I believe it is part of the "Best of Balanchine" programme for which I am thinking of returning.(see https://www.operaballet.nl/en/ballet/2019-2020/show/best-balanchine-iii)
  7. As in previous years I attended the opening night gala of the Dutch National Ballet on Tuesday night at the Music Theatre in Amsterdam. The gala is not just a ballet performance. It is also a party. Unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks and nibbles are included in the ticket price. They are on offer from the moment the theatre opens until well after midnight It is a very grand occasion with the gentlemen in dinner jackets and in at least one case shoes that resembled Delft china and the ladies in the most gorgeous evening attire. The gala which takes place during the first few days of September follows a pattern. The evening opens with a Grand Défilé, a march of the whole company to the polonaise from the Sleeping Beauty starting with the youngest students at the National Ballet Academy and finishing with the principals. The women sre in dazzling white classical tutus and the men in dashing tunics. Next, Ted Brandsen, the director, makes a speech which in previous years has been delivered partly in English. There then follows extracts from the current repertoire or works staged specially for the occasion. There is always a work by Hans van Manen, usually works by Rudi van Dantzig and Toer van Schayk and often ballets by the company's resident choreographers such as David Dawson, Jianjo Arques or Ernst Meisner. Also at the gala, the Alexandra Radius prize is presented by the great ballerina herself to the dancer of the year, This year's gala seemed to be shorter than previous years' with only 6 pieces all but one of which had some connection with George Balanchine. Guest artists Xander Parish and Maria Khoreva danced the Diamonds pas de deux from Balanchine's Jewels which was my favourite of the evening. Other works included a pas de deux for Conrad and Medora from which had been created by Balanchine's teacher for his students , van Manen's Trois Gnossiennes, and Balanchine's Symphony in Three Movements and Who Cares? Edo Wijnen won this year's Radius prize. A video of his work over the year shows that he was a very worthy winner. The party was excellent, especially after the dancers joined the audience in the celebrations. The company's press officer, Richard Heideman, has sent me some lovely photos of the evening which he has licensed me to post to my blog. Unfortunately he has not licensed me to upload them anywhere else. Over the next week or so I plan to exhibit them all. I start today with a glorious photo of Xander Parish and Maria Khoreva.
  8. Just a quick update! We danced in our first public performance at the Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester on 4 May as guests of KNT at its 10th anniversary gala. Our ballet "Aria" was choreographed by the well known choreographer and teacher, Terry Etheridge. We celebrated our first anniversary on 26 May 26 May with a great company class at Yorkshire Dance in Leeds with Jane Tucker of Northern Ballet and David Plumpton on the piano. David played for us again at the Dancehouse studios with Karen Sant as our guest ballet mistress on 29 June which turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year. It was also one of our happiest classes ever. Tomorrow, Annemarie Donoghue of Northern Ballet will put us through our paces at the Dance Studio Leeds between 13:30 and 15:00. Alena Panasenka, one of the top pianists at Northern Ballet, will play for us. We are now rehearsing our second piece which has been created to "Morning Mood" from Grieg's Peer Gynt by the Dutch choreographer and teacher, Yvonne Charlton. Our ballet mistress for this work is Fiona Noonan and her next rehearsal will take place at Huddersfield Leisure Centre on Saturday 3 Aug 2019 between 11:30 and 13:30. Yvonne will return to the UK on 21 and 22 Sept to give us another intensive workshop on this piece at the Dancehouse and we have engaged David to play for her again. We plan to dance "Morning" in Leeds on 12 Oct. We welcome anybody who wants to work with us of any age, ability, body shape or experience. We hold talks , workshops and visits as well as classes and performances. If anyone wan ts to take part in tomorrow's company class, contact us through our website at www.powerhouseballet.co.uk .
  9. Well Done Ireland! Although I have to support the land of my birth and heritage I am delighted that Ireland has been admitted to the top table of test playing nations and that it appeared to have command of the match several times. I am sure cricket will grow from strength to strength in the Emerald Isle and I shall cheer for Ireland against anyone but Englnd. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jul/26/england-beat-ireland-lords-test-match-cricket
  10. I was also in the audience on Sunday and enjoyed it. This is the third of ENB's ballets in the round and I think this is the best. Indeed, it is one of the best performances from that company that I have seen in almost 60 years of fairly regular ballet going. Having seen the Dutch National Ballet's performances at the Coliseum in 2015 and in the Stopera just before Christmas I am quite familiar with the choreography. libretto, designs and special effects. I think it scaled up very well. I enjoyed some of the projections - the horns, blushes and scowls of the portraits on the palace for example. I quite like being in the stalls. I was just a few seats from the gangway so it gave me a chance to admire the costumes, hair and makeup of the artists. I agree that Takahashi was excellent. Caley danced well though I preferred Goulding when I saw him in the prince#s role in London in 2015 and Wortmeyer when I saw him in Amsterdam last year. There was a lot of clowning by Kundi as the step mum when she got a little bit tight in the second act and even more when she appeared at the breakfast table with one almighty hangover. I like Kundi and have followed her ever since she was at Leeds. It is always a treat to see her. I have of course written a fuller review for my blog as I always do if anyone is interested..
  11. Thanks, Janet. Liverpool is a lot easier to reach from Huddersfield as there is a direct service which takes just over the hour. It's hard to take time off during office hours. Otherwise, I would have gone to Birmingham too. I like both the Royal Ballet and Birmingham's productions. I know the Royal Ballet's better than Birmingham's and did not notice very much difference between them until last October. I saw a great performance by BRB in Nottingham nearly 5 years ago. I don't remember a third act, though, and I think I would have done. I wasn't the only one who was surprised by two acts. My companion, Gita, mentioned it to our ballet teacher who also expressed surprise and suggested it might be a bit too long. Our teacher trained at Northern Ballet School in Manchester danced with Northern Ballet and teaches at the Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds. The Krasnoyarsk opera house production was far from bad and I look forward to seeing that company in "Swan Lake" or some other ballet that I know well.
  12. I saw the "Russian State Ballet of Siberia" for the first time at the Liverpool Empire on Friday. I have to say that I was attracted more by the ballet than the company. I was curious to see a version of La Fille mal gardée that had not been created by Ashton with a score that had not been written by Lanchbery and sets and costumes that had not been designed by Lancaster. The version that I saw on Friday had been created by Alexander Gorsky to music by Peter Hertel. In that respect, it was very much older version than the Ashton-Lanchbery-Lancaster version but maybe further removed in spirit from the show that was premiered at the Grand Theatre of Bordeaux a few days before the storming of the Bastille. For instance, Gorsky's version ends with a full-blown classical pas de deux with an introduction, man's solo, woman's solo and coda and Lise in a pretty classical tutu with flower motifs. That placed it slap bang in the last quarter of the 19th century, On the other hand, the story was very much the same. The big difference is that Colas inveigled his way into Simone's home dressed as a notaire rather than smuggled inside a bundle of wheat sheaves. There was a ribbon dance though it did not end in a love knot and even a clog dance of sorts though not the one we know. I missed the human scale poultry and Lancaster's designs though the Russians used some computer generated animations on a backdrop that reminded me faintly of Constable country. On the whole, I prefer the Ashton version though I was somewhat underwhelmed by BRB's the last time I saw it which was at the Lowry last October. It had somehow expanded into three acts and had begun to drag. The Russian version was the right length and it was still fresh and jolly even with Hertel's more ponderous score. There seem to be a lot of companies with the adjective "Russian" in their names that tour the market towns of this country with full-length works so I had never taken much notice of that company before. I think I have deprived myself of a pleasure because they turned out to be not too bad at all. In fact, they were rather good especially Elena Svinko who danced Lise in a coquettish feisty way and Marcello Pelizzoni who danced Colas. Because they were a lot better than I had expected I looked them up and found that they are based on the resident company of an opera house that opened in 1978 in a place called Krasnoyarsk. Krasnoyarsk is a city just slightly smaller than the combined populations of Bradford and Leeds on approximately the same latitude as Dundee east of the Ural mountains. According to Google Maps, its opera house is some 4,560 miles from the studios of Northern Ballet. Despite its remoteness and by world standards population Krasnoyarsk has produced some fine dancers including the Dutch National Ballet's principal ballerina Anna Ol and the Mariinsky's Viktoria Tereskina. Some of those folks had started their training at the city's ballet school and Ol seems to have toured with the Siberians so they have to be taken seriously. They are coming to Sheffield and Halifax before the end of their tour and I have tied an electronic knot in my digital hankie to see what they make of Swan Lake. If anyone is interested I have posted a review to Terpsichore this morning. Wishing all subscribers to this website a great weekend. If you are an amateur dancer in the North and fancy a great workshop in Leeds next Sunday check out Powerhouse Ballet's website and sign up for it now. My practice is sponsoring the event so it won't cost you a bean.
  13. Powerhouse Ballet has received a lot of help from a lot of teachers, schools and companies all around the country and beyond but nobody has done more for us than Yvonne Charlton of the Jos Dolstra Dance Institute in the Netherlands. Yvonne trained at what is now the National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam and works very closely with the Dutch National Ballet. Twice a year her adult ballet students get to learn a bit of the company's repertoire with some of its best dancers. I am a Friend of the Dutch National Ballet and I visit Amsterdam frequently. It was through my association with the company that I got to meet Yvonne. Last September I invited Yvonne to give us a repertoire class in Liverpool. Our ballet mistress, who is not known for lavishing praise, described that class as our best ever. Everyone who took that class agreed. Before I had even left the studio I was mobbed with requests to bring her back as soon as possible. As we don't yet know whether we will be able to hire teachers from EU countries after brexit, I had to hire her before 29 March. Yvonne is coming back on Sunday 24 Feb to give us a special repertoire class in two of her works: her own version of one of the dances from Don Quixote which we started to learn in Liverpool, and Morning Mood to the music of Edward Grieg from Peer Gynt. The workshop will take place at Dance Studio Leeds in Mabgate Mills between 09:00 and 14:00. I apologize for the early start but Yvonne has to catch a plane to Amsterdam at 18:00 and this is the way we can make the best use of her time. To give attendees the optimum experience we have hired Northern Ballet's accompaniest, Alena Panasenka, to play for Yvonne and Fiona Noonan to learn the pieces and coach us so that we can eventually include them in our own company's repertoire. Ladies who are trained and experienced in pointe work are encouraged to bring their pointe shoes to the workshop. We want to use this visit as an opportunity to welcome more dancers into our company and support networks. The whole workshop will be sponsored by my law practice so it will cost our guests nothing. We do hope to meet a lot of new people. If you want to attend the workshop you can register here. If you can't get to Leeds on Sunday you may like to come to our company class at the Dancehouse in Manchester which Yvonne will also give between 13:30 and 15:00 on Saturday 23 Feb. If you want to attend that you are welcome to register here. If you want to attend both events, feel free. We want to get to know and make friends with as many dancers as possible.
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