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About Michelle_Richer

  • Birthday March 26

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

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  1. I see Sarah Lamb is involved with another rep workshop this Sunday at The Place, hosted by The London Performance Company, Sarah is teaching and coaching Cinderella solo Act 2. Unfortunately for me Sunday is rehearsal at BBT and we have only 2 rehearsals left before out summer show. I would have really liked to have done this one, as some years ago I attended a RAD rep workshop that was originally down to teach this solo, but on the day they changed it to something that was said to be more fun. That wasn’t why I was there. BBT are also hosting a rep workshop on the 24th and 25th of August with guest teacher Royal Ballet first soloist Tierney Heap who will be teaching and coaching the Queen of the Willis variation from Giselle. Sadly I will miss that one too as it the week after I return back from Ballet West, so no time to prep for it. Now with only 2 rehearsals left before the show, things feel they are getting a lot more serious, I have removed any unwanted clutter from the mirrors in my own studio and finally have the camera system working that give full floor coverage. One aspect that I never planned or foreseen was using my local Silver Swans as my Audience for serious dress rehearsal runs, I am now down to performing a solo in costume every other week, during the break between their ballet and tap class, I guess for me it does make me work that bit harder not only in front of the Silver Swans but their teacher too, at least I am performing in-front of friends, so it wouldn’t be all the world if it went a bit pair-shaped. Their applause is always very welcome. Another advantage is there studio is much larger than that of my own and better replicate the environment I will be performing in on Show day, also occasionally I will have to still consider hiring studio space for those pieces that travel a lot, in fact I’m having to hire the large GoDance studio in Sleaford this Monday for one of the solos I’m performing on show-day.
  2. Following on from my last post the week running up to Sunday the 7th April was extremely hectic as I had intended to focus mainly the Juliet solo in preparation fort the workshop with Sarah Lamb on the 13th and 14th, however I was told I needed to demonstrate my Le Corsaire solo on the 7th, it was a must. After Mondays one-to-one rep session which was split between Le Corsaire and Juliet, it was clear Le Corsaire still needed work, Thursdays rep session was extended to 2 hours and dedicated to Le Corsaire and I still wasn’t totally comfortable with. I danced it on the 7th at BBT, I guess as a bit of an audition and its been accepted for inclusion in the show, although it still needs some polishing running up to the show. From the rep we have learnt during rehearsal this has been split between the dancer and finally each of the dancers we asked if there was anything else they wanted to offer for the show. I added Odette’s solo from Act 2 of Swan Lake and The Russian Dance for older Russian versions of Swan Lake, I offered to dance these at our next rehearsal after Easter. Later that week the cast list came out and my 2 additional solo’s were not on it, my first thought was they had been rejected. The week up to the workshop was mostly dedicated to Juliet’s solo. During the meet and greet with my Artistic Director at the Workshop I took the opportunity of asking about my 2 additional solo’s, he thought I understood they were ok providing I demonstrated them on the 28th as previously arranged and the cast list wasn’t actually cast in stone as I thought. Odette’s solo I guess is most familiar of the two to me as I only danced it as a treat to the local Silver Swans on the week they broke up for Easter, it went down so well some of the Swans have asked me to bring and dance more of the solo’s I’ve been working on, and by agreement with the teacher it is to be one a month. The Russian Dance I'm a lot less familiar with, I think its been around 3 to 4 years since I last danced it and the muscle memory really has gone out of my body. So needless to say I have a heavy focus on relearning this one for the 28th. The BBT Repertoire workshop on Juliet’s solo turned out to be a really fabulous workshops one of the best I have ever attended. Firstly the advance information included the daily schedule and a youtube link as an example of the solo, but of course the choreography does differ between companies, as this did, but only in a few not too significant details, but challenging never the less. It allowed those that wanted too, to become familiar with the main structure of the choreography prior to the workshop, for me that worked particularly well as it gave me the confidence on the final day at our sharing performance to dance this solo alone. Although we were told we were to perform this solo in groups of no more than three at a time, I danced it on my own; furthermore I went first and loved it. But at the same time I can’t say it was easy. Although we all got lots of help and personal correction from Sarah Lamb during the teaching/rehearsal phase, when it came down to our performances Sarah only focussed on the positives with complements which was brilliant for those that didn't do quite so well. For me I got told off before I started (in a nice way of course). I started just left of centre stage, mainly because the rep travelled initially to the left, but Sarah indicated I should be at the up-stage left corner as all other solo’s start there. Firstly I knew that wasn’t true but was the most common starting point, also it would not allow me to travel left. I mentioned I had to have room to travel to the left. So Sarah came out and danced the first phrase in front of me, however she started about ¾ to stage left and about 2/3 upstage. My rational for starting close to centre stage, its necessary in small studios like my own and that of my local rep coach to have suffient room to travel to stage left for that choreography. I then took Sarah suggested prep point and proceeded to dance through the solo, but could help but to give Sarah a large flamboyant full down curtsy after my performance. The final icing on the cake came when we all got a certificate for the workshop presented by Sarah and our photo’s taken with her.
  3. A couple of weeks ago I managed to visit my physio at Northern Ballet, I think she was a little shocked at the way I had beefed her exercises up a bit, consequently I have come away with twice as many exercise routines as I started. While at Northern Ballet I also managed to take a class in, but unfortunately the train arrived too late for me to make the morning workshop (Victoria) on Leeds Grand Theatre stage. I have also increased my local body conditioning classes plus our Sunday BBT toning class after rehearsal is also back. Hopefully partner stretching will soon follow and my splits improvement. We are doing a couple of performances with BBT at the BBO studio on Saturday 1st June at 14:00 and 16:00, so not many weeks left, which means we shall still be doing a rehearsal on Easter Sunday, with a lot of rep to catch up on from September last year, some of which we haven’t danced for a very long time. One of the drawbacks of two new teachers I guess, but never the less we have to catch up. Initially I ask if I could perform some of my own solo’s which I will need to show my artistic director, there is an opportunity on the 7th April but I certainly will not be ready as my intention was to perform 4 solo’s. Apart from playing catch-up as I was away in Liverpool last weekend, my other focus at the moment is on prep for Juliet’s Solo Workshop on the 13-14 April with Sarah Lamb. It feels like rep is coming out my ears as I am still going through rep for Ballet West in August and organising costumes and props for both myself and Adrian. The only real difficulty I have is acquiring a replica “Lute” for Paris(Adrian) from Romeo and Juliet, I guess if push comes to shove we will have to make one.
  4. Dear May Thank you for your very informative reply and your good wishes . Ok about the comments on pointe work that makes a lot of sense. For me I have no great desire to dance en pointe for solo’s, however for Pas de deux’s that’s another story, I find pirouettes are extremely limited with a partner on demi, singles are ok but I usually have to do doubles without contact with my partner other that the grab-stop, the only truly successful one I have done, is in some versions of the Nutcracker GPDD where it’s a series of 5 assisted singles that never stops giving almost the illusion it a multi-turn pirouette. Also promenades are very much easier with far less floor contact resistance. I did initially start pointe work some years ago at a local school but it only lasted a few weeks as some temporary studio space became available, needless to say it didn’t really get very far. More recently about 18month or so ago, my old ballet company, the Alive Ballet Company started to run weekly pointe classes in studio’s of the Royal Ballet School Covent Garden, I booked and paid for the term, sadly my injury occurred just before the classes started and I never got to go. I remember the first few weeks offering my apologies and saying I expected to attend the following week, but it was never to be. At this present time I have developed a workout which has been built up on both strengthening for pointe and muscle strengthening exercises produced by my physio at Northern Ballet for my injury, I’ve also included various other pieces, I guess making more holistic. Unfortunately it’s too large and intense to do daily, its over 2 hours but likely to extend to 3, done 3 times a week. Most of this now is documented and set to music, I’ve also include where possible diagrams of the muscles engaged too. Hence my interest in EBAS. I do hope you run your intensive again next year so I can schedule it in. You take care Michelle x
  5. Hi May Yes that does make things a lot clearer, as I was thinking it would have been very ambitious of you to teach all 6 Fairy variation to each of your dancers during that course as well as your corps pieces and everything else. Strange as it may seam, we were only rehearsing the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain last Sunday evening for our performance in June. In your reply you make reference to “pointe” several times, do I take it is a pre-requisite of the intensive, that each dancer has to have the ability to dance on pointe. Is the EBAS DVD only available from the US on Merchandise link from doebas.com Sadly although the Intensive sounds really interesting, I cant make it as I need all the time I can get from after our June performance to my and my PDD partner’s one-to-one intensive with Ballet West in early August, we work all year on our own rep in preparation for that, this is our 6th year Many thanks
  6. Hi May Thank you for your prompt reply You mentioned you did the prologue fairies from Sleeping Beauty, do I take it that you taught everything from Candide the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain to the Lilac Fairy, did you also do a studio sharing performance at the end of last years Summer Intensive, if so did your dancers have a choice as which of the fairy variations to perform or did every one perform all 6 on the final day. I’m also curious as to which company the repertoire for the variations were taken from, as there are quite a lot of different versions for each of the fairies. What ballet attire was used for the Fairies studio sharing last year, normal practice gear, or Tutu’s, as that was the kind of thing we were encouraged to wear at a LAB intensive on Sleeping Beauty a few years ago.
  7. Hi May Could you be a little more specific in what your content includes: you mention “Variation(s)”, does this mean repertoire solo’s if so which do you intend to teach or adapt from, similarly you mention “group repertoire”, again that sounds like corps de ballet pieces, perhaps you could indicate what specific rep you have in mind. Many thanks
  8. The plot thickens; originally both my orthopaedic surgeon and my physio suggested too much time had passed since the injury for any clinical solution. Basically I had resigned myself to that providing the diagnosis was accurate, hence my insistence of the Ultra-scan to confirm the diagnosis. I now have the report and Ultra-scan images too The essential part of the report said: “Scanned over the anterior right thigh with leg both relaxed and extended reveals a small area of scar tissue measuring approximately 5mm by 11mm within the anterior medial aspect of the rectus femoralis muscle. On dynamic scan the muscle moves as a whole. I note the injury was 18months ago, appearances suggest a healing partial tear of the rectus femoralis muscle. Although I was unhappy with the way the scan with an extended leg took place, as far as I was concerned the matter was closed. However today I have a further appointment with the Orthopaedic surgeon on the 4th March which is totally unexpected. I guess if nothing else he can try and explain why full leg extension wasn’t used which produces the irrupted swelling, which takes time to recover when relaxed. Juliet’s Variation I’ve come across quite a challenging little turns piece that spans 1.08 to 1.19, however I am using a slightly more elegant clip to the one posted by Lily_883, its basically a gallop into a step over (for pivoting foot), for a one and a half turn en dehors pirouette where the arms are taken to fifth, but the end of the turn ends with the gesturing led extended en l air and the arms open to high “V” (palms down). My issue is controlling the stop without a sort of juddering finish which I guess is a little too much power to dissipate during breaking through the floor, needless to say too little and you simple don’t complete the turn. Any advice would be most welcome, as this piece is virtually done and is most likely to be incorporated in the rep I take up to Ballet West in the summer. This Saturday Adrian and I will be visiting Ballet West at there performance of Nutcracker in Edinburgh, at the same time we should get this years date set for our intensive week with them during the summer.
  9. I went to the Ultrasound department on Thursday and met the lady that was going to do the test, she said she needed to get at my knee, I said no problem I have my leotard on and went to remove my shoes, she said quite abruptly you don’t need to take those off just take your jeans down. I also informed her that my orthopaedic surgeon said the scan should be done after my leg had been lifted to highlight the muscle swelling/ irruption. She said I know what to do I have the orthopaedic surgeon instructions, which she waved in front of me, the only thing I thought I saw was a grade 5 rupture, but looking at the grades of muscle ruptures / tears there are only 3 grades which I found out later: Grade 1: Mild damage to individual muscle fibers (less than 5% of fibers) that causes minimal loss of strength and motion. These injuries generally take about 2-3 weeks to improve. Grade 2: More extensive damage with more muscle fibers involved. However, the muscle is not completely ruptured. These injuries present with significant loss of strength and motion. These injuries may require 2-3 months before a complete return to athletics. Grade 3: Complete rupture of a muscle or tendon. These can present with a palpable defect in the muscle or tendon. However, swelling in the area may make this difficult to appreciate. These injuries sometimes require surgery to reattach the damaged muscle and tendon. So I guess my interpretation from the brief glance at her guidance must have been incorrect. However there was a test that was carried out by my orthopaedic surgeon is a muscle strength test which he used by asking me to push my leg against the resistance of this hand and then also pull back on to it. This has a scale of 0 to 5 for muscle activation: That was the point at which I indicated that particular test didn’t illustrate the problem I had and that’s where I showed my orthopaedic surgeon the irruption of the muscle swelling with extension. The Ultrasound lady ask me to sit on the side of this examination bed with my jeans around my ankles and my shoes still on, she started to run the ultra scan sensor over my upper leg, then she ask me to raise it. I felt really stupid as I had to raise both feet, again I tried to take my shoes off, but she insisted they stay on. With the leg only just raise there was slight bunching of the muscle, I really didn’t think it had done the test justice but she said she could see the tear, it was on the top quad muscle the “Rectus Femoris”, from her manor I was beginning to think it was treatable, but when I tried to probe into what she had found she clammed up and said her report would be submitted to my orthopaedic surgeon. I then ask her if I could have a copy of the report together with images of the scan. She asked why did I need it and what was it for, it seamed as if she didn’t want me to have it, but I insisted, she then went see someone about it, I guess to take advice. When she returned I was told there would be a form to fill in and I would need to go to the reception at X-Ray and they would sort it out for me. Even that wasn’t strait forward, but it’s now on its way Sophie Very well done on your performance in America, you certainly have come along way. I’m so envious of your adventure. I also love your choice for the next one “Gamzatti”, that a gorgeous piece I took that up to Ballet West about 3 years ago. Sadly I missed an opportunity to dance in a Gala that would really have loved too, It was to be at the end of a course run by teachers of the Vaganova Academy and also some of Vaganova model students, initially this was to be held by Pro Viva La Dance Ballet Academy in Mikkeli Finland. I waited ages for them to confirm the date as we had previously met their Artistic Director in Saint Petersburg at an International Dance Council event were our company “The Alive Ballet Company” performed extracts from the ballet Don Quixote at their Gala. Unfortunately when the date came through it was the week immediately after our summer show in London, so that was a non-starter. The Pro Viva La Dance Ballet Academy had a later course, this time in Saint Petersburg, unfortunately that got cancelled. Beyond that we lost too many dancers to fund a similar trip, but I still keep in contact with that Academy as I also do by remaining a member of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO. I know they have events in the USA but I think they are only in Florida.
  10. Thank you Lily_883 you are absolutely right, furthermore that is the Youtube clip we were give to base our rep on, but as always I tend to base mine on a number, as there are few aspects of this that are not quite as nice as they may have been. Thank goodness today the right knee seems much better and after a 2 hour stint on this, so far tonight there are no ill effects. Originally the combination was gallop upstage with the right leg in front, step left in front and renversé to face the audience, then grand rond the right leg front to back creating an ellipse with height with its crest just after a la seconde, left arm would follow the leg by bringing it up through first , through 5th on the crest in a sort of circular port de bra (see the clip), on landing the gesturing leg derriere, then another renversé to face upstage for next gallop. Today’s version for me which I guess has just developed by feel rather than design although we did try a couple of ideas. The rond starts with the gesturing foot on the ground but slightly over-crossed with the supporting leg, the action of the opposite arm and for want of a better word flinging the leg up to the crest of the ellipse give it some additional acceleration to achieve a respectable height. Then turning like a pirouette on the fall, thus removing the need for the renversé to orientate the body upstage for next gallop. With this I had no ill effects on the knee thank goodness and the who movement doesn't look unattractive.
  11. This coming Thursday (7th Feb) is the day for my ultrasound scan to confirm / or not the detached muscle above my right knee. The exercises given to me by my Physio in Northern Ballet certainly seam the help with strengthening, I can now developpe with the right leg to almost 90 degree and hold it for a good many counts. However something appears to have bitten me in the bum. Recently I’ve started to learn Juliet’s solo for a rep workshop I’m doing with Sarah Lamb, most of it was going fine until I came across a turn which is repeated 3 times, the correct name of the turn I’m really not sure of. It appears to be a Grand Rond de jame en l’air en dehors en turnant, although many artists performing this piece tend to take the gesturing leg through an ellipse in terms of height. Although I can just about get the height initially in devant, but with the detached muscle in rotation I can’t sustain it and the movement looks awful. After struggling for quite a while, I had the bright idea of launching the Rond from just in front of second in an ellipse and then taking round to the back. I know it a bit of a cheat but it gives me some additional height above 90 degrees and a nice shape. Wow I thought that will get me by, however on the next day (Friday) I was starting to get pain in the right leg around the knee. Saturday was worse and Sunday today not much better. Too be fair I have had this before about 4 years ago when I was doing a piece from Le Corsair which had Fouette’s in it, that needed a trip to the physio too, and it turns out I was overturning (going too far round with the gesturing leg before whipping it in to retire). The down side of that was it took along time to clear up. Monday I have a 2 hour rep session on this piece as I’m at the Ultra Scan department on Thursday which is normally my second session. I will check out with my teacher other options as it may be possible to treat it a bit like a grand pirouette and rotate the body during the turn, rather than afterwards. I just hope this incident doesn’t mask the detached muscle in the scan due to possible additional swelling.
  12. Since visiting to my Physio at Northern Ballet I managed to get a referral from my GP back to see the same Orthopaedic surgeon that organised my MRI scan. The appointment arrived in the post soon after, only to be followed a few days later with over 20 duplicates of a cancellation and rebooking of another Orthopaedic specialist on the same date. That has now taken place and that person has concurred with my physio’s assessment and has also said he can not offer a clinical solution to the rupture of the muscle as it has been too long since the injury. Initially he checked my strength pushing the leg forward and back but its height was far less than 45 degrees and he thought that was OK. I then demonstrated the bunching of the muscle with a slow sustained lift at not much more than 45degrees, the muscle bunching into a solid lump soon occurred and even when I dropped the leg, it took a second or too to subside and still considerable painful. I have ask for an ultra scan to be done and he has agreed, he has also suggested I ask the ultra scan people to scan it during the severe cramping. I now have a date for that too in early February as it couldn’t be done on the day. I will also be asking for the images of the ultra scan to help define properly the best course of action in strengthening what’s left with my Physio at Northern Ballet. As it is my physio gave me a set of exercises to help with strengthening, I have combined them with various other exercises which include strengthening for pointe, which is really where the observation was first made by my teacher( the differences between the two legs) . As time has gone on we have taken a more holistic approach by incorporating some of exercises learnt from Ballet West last year and my also stretch class with Sander Blommaert. Although its only part way done, its being documented, set to music and ultimately each exercise will illustrate the muscle groups being targeted. At the moment this program take around 2 hours to complete, but its more likely to be nearer 3 by the time we are finished, so I’m not likely to run it for more than 3 times a week. For the moment I’m doing this in conjunction with one of my teachers but ultimately with the help of my Physio at Northern Ballet too.
  13. Almost back to normal after the Christmas break, the break was very welcome but not without its incidents. I managed to get to ENB’s Nutcracker workshop which is always fun on the Coliseum stage just before Christmas itself. As a bit of a thank you to my partner Adrian for all his efforts doing PDD’s at Ballet West with me during the summer, I took him to Liverpool on boxing day to watch his favourite football team play while I went shopping, however on the way home the day after, one of the cars front wheel baring's started to make a horrible noise . I never thought we would get home without calling the recovery service, but we did. Unfortunately the garage that looks after my car didn’t return to work until the first Thursday in the new year and I was supposed to be in London the following Saturday for ENB’s Swan Lake workshop that morning, and a meeting with My Artistic Directory of the Alive Ballet Company with some of our ex dancers, to say our goodbyes before she emigrates to Australia. It was late Friday night before I got the car back (wheel baring replaced), I went to check on the train time for the early start at ENB, as I had already purchased the ticket, only to find they were running a strange schedule, a journey that normally takes 50 minute was taking over 2 hours and there were less trains running too. It would mean I would have to be up at 3.30am to make ENB, so I decided to skip it and just make our meeting with my Artistic Director. Even that was a disaster, I tried to start the car, and the battery was virtually flat. As I was all dress up ready to travel, there was no way I was going to call anyone out to jump start the car, as I could easily end up at the same problem in Peterborough Train station when it was time to come home. I just had to resign myself to the fact I want going to make it. I was pretty choked-up at not being able to meet her to say our goodbyes in person, however I did have a lovely half an hour conversation with her prior to the other dancers arriving. One of the tings she mentioned in her goodbye email was that when she gets settled there should be dancing and performance opportunities down under for her dances from the UK, wow how exiting. I guess other piece of good news that came out of this day; one of my friends was able to take my place at the ENB workshop. Well that wasn’t all the bad luck for this festive period, I was expecting to return after Christmas to our BBT rehearsals with our existing teacher and Artistic Director even though he was starting work at Elmhurst full time in the new year, but the Body Conditioning class that follow would be run by a new lady. It seams for the time being there is no body conditioning and James Butcher with take over our rehearsals but the Company with remain BBT with guidance from our founder. Looking on the brighter side, BBT have organised a 2 day Easter workshop on Juliet’s variation with the rep being taught by RB’s Sarah Lamb, needless to say I’m already booked on it and really looking forward to it. This is the type of workshop I love, it really works for me especially when I know what we are going to be taught, rather that the RAD culture where its something (unknown) from a particular ballet.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
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