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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. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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 .
  4. 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
  5. 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..
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Yesterday's company class was given by Fiona Noonan of Leeds Centre of Advanced Training. She was the teacher who led me back to ballet nearly half a century after my last class. She is an exponent of Les Mills and a qualified progressive ballet technique instructor as well as an excellent classical ballet. She trained at the Queensland Ballet's School in Brisbane and danced with the company for a while. Fiona had attended Terry Etheridge's audition in September and danced with us in Ballet Cymru's workshop in November so she knew us very well. She advised me that we needed to work on strength, stamina and balance and recommended centre barre as a strengthening exercise. Dispensing with the barre was far from easy. Even simple exercises like plies and tendus were challenging and I struggled with the harder ones like frappes. But we had a great workout and I could see the benefit. Centre barre is more time consuming than wall mounted barre so we had to cram a lot of the conventional centre exercises into the remaining time. Next month we welcome back Yvonne Charlton of the Jos Dolstra Dance Institute in the Netherlands who gave us the best class to date in Liverpool last September. She will conduct the company class in Manchester on 23 Feb and a full day workshop on her own ballet in Leeds on 24 Feb. I shall post the registration page to both events on Eventbrite soon. Early booking is strongly recommended.
  10. Yesterday, Karen Sant, the principal of KNT Danceworks invited Powerhouse Ballet to dance in her 10th-anniversary show at the Dancehouse in Manchester on 4 May 2019. That is a great honour because KNT's reputation in Manchester is second to none. It will be a great opportunity to raise the company to a new level. Karen gave us our last company class and it was one of the best ever. Our next company class takes place at Dance Studio Leeds between 15:00 and 16:30 tomorrow. It will be given by Fiona Noonan who trained at the Queensland Ballet's school in Brisbane. Fiona is a good friend as well as a teacher. It was she who led me back to the barre many years after I first took up ballet as an undergraduate at St Andrews. Having sat in on Terence Etheridge's audition and participated in our workshop with Ballet Cymru she has a pretty shrewd idea of where we need to improve. She has already indicated that we shall do centre barre to build up strength, balance and stamina and she will be work on every kind of turn and jump. Her class is pretty full but we always have a few dropouts and no-shows. If you want to have a lot of fun and learn something you will be most welcome if you let me know by registering here, On 23 Feb 2019, we welcome Yvonne Charlton of the Jos Dolstra Dance Institute in IJsselstein in the Netherlands who will teach is her own piece, Morning from Grieg's Peer Gynt. She will hold a company class at the Dancehouse studios in Manchester on 23 Feb between 13:30 and 15:00 and then a workshop in Leeds from 09:00 to 14:00 the next day. In the longer term, we plan a workshop in Mold and of course, we shall be working on our piece for KNT's 10th-anniversary gala.
  11. I saw the show do and I have reviewed it in Terpsichore. I also enjoyed the show, I was going to mention it in the Performances forum but you beat me to it.
  12. Subscribers and visitors to this website will recall that I was very impressed with Ballet Cymru's performance of Ballet Cymru's Dylan Thomas programme at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds last Wednesday. Yesterday I attended their performance of those works at the Pontio Centre (Bangor University's arts and innovation centre) and was even more impressed. I think there are two reasons for that. The first is that Cerys Matthews and Arun Ghosh were on stage in the first ballet. The second is that they had a particularly appreciative and responsive audience which included several friends from Powerhouse Ballet who had attended our workshop or Ballet Cymru's company class. I have seen many good shows this year including the Dutch National Ballet's Don Quixote and Giselle, the Royal Ballet's Winter Tale, Swan Lake and Bernstein triple bill, Birmingham Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet, ENB's La Sylphide, Swan Lake and Manon, Scottish Ballet's Highland Fling, Phoenix's Windrush and Ballet Black's double bill but yesterday's show was one of the highlights of my year. I should say a word about the venue. I had heard a lot about the Centre when I attended the Anglesey Business Show in October. It was a major investment and was not without its critics. It is a fine modern building just below the main university buildings. Some excellent shows were advertised. There is ample parking just across the road and it is a stone's throw from the mainline railway station with direct trains to London and other major cities. It should do a lot for the economy and cultural life of Northwest Wales.
  13. I watched Ballet Cymru's "Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs " in Leeds last night and I think it is their best show yet. I have been one of their fans ever since I saw their Romeo a Juliet in 2013 and I was particularly impressed with its revival as well as their Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, TIR and Stuck in the Mud. I have not yet had time to review them in my blog - partly because I shall have to conjure up some fresh superlatives - but I can give an outline report of the show right now. Although it is styled as one ballet I think it would be fairer to describe it as a double bill. The first part consisted of readings by Cerys Matthews of some of Dylan Thomas's poems including "Do not go gentle into that good night". That prompted a head to head comparison with Christopher Bruce's work for Scottish Ballet which I reviewed in Terpsichore on 6 Oct 2014. I liked Bruce's work very much but I much prefer Darius James and Amy Doughty's. Those poems were interpreted beautifully by all but I was particularly impressed by Krystal Lowe and Beth Meadway. On Wednesday, Powerhouse Ballet (the amateur company that I am setting up in Yorkshire and the Northwest) hosted a workshop for Ballet Cymru at Yorkshire Dance as I mentioned in the "Doing Dance" section of this website yesterday. The score that we were invited to interpret was the poem that opened and closed the first act. The opening was a solo and the close as a group work. It was great to see it all on stage. The second act was very different. It began with a video of primary schoolchildren talking about Christmas and in the case of one child, Eid. The well known and well-loved sequences of the Child's Christmas were performed. I loved the cats' scene, the uncles in front of the fire and the arrangement of "Still the Night". As I tweeted last night, this was a work that showcased all the talents of the individual dancers to best advantage. The only desiranda in Leeds was Matthews herself though we heard a recording of her mellifluous voice. Tomorrow she will be on stage in Bangor and two of us who participated in the workshop will see her there. We shall post a full review in Terpsichore sometime after that. If you can't make Bangor your last opportunities will be Stroud on 4 Dec and Aberystwyth on 11 Dec.
  14. Last night's workshop with Ballet Cymru at Yorkshire Dance was a great success. It was one of the most challenging but also one of my most enjoyable experinces in ballet. The reason it was challenging is that we had to use our minds as well as our bodies. For me, and I am sure for others, it was a first experience of choreography. After the workshop, Darius James and his company were our guests for the launch of the Powerhouse Ballet Circle. We have tried to model this activity on the London Ballet Circle except that I did not use notes and kept the questions short and sweet. Darius told us about his childhood in Wales, his early training in Newport and at the Royal Ballet School, his work at Northern Ballet (or Northern Dance Theatre as it was then known)in Hulme where the only smenity was a chop shop that served chips with gravy, the formation of Ballet Cymru, its achievements and plans for the future. Ballet Cymru are performing at the Stan and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds this evening and at Bango University arts centre on Sturday. If you have not yet seen the company, cancel whatever plans you have for this evening or Sturday and get over to one or other of those theatres. These artists are good. Dame Nonette de Valois was the first president of the London Ballet Circle and was very proud of it. It has done much for dance in London and the South of England and we hope to be equally supportive in the North. Our next guest is likely to be Yoko Ichino who has accepted our invitation in priniple . I shall notify subscribers to this website of the date, time and venue as soon as we have arranged them. Powerhouse Ballet Circle's next event is a 90 minute class and 30 minute pointe class on Saturday at the Dancehouse Studios on Oxford Road in Manchester at 13:30 with Karen Sant of KNT. Karen is an excellent teacher but her classes are never easy. For more details, see our website at www.powerhouseballet.com. I have posted a report on last night's workshop and Powerhouse Ballet Circle launch to my blog.
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