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About Michelle_Richer

  • Birthday March 26

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    Spalding, South Lincolnshire, England
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    Social Dancing and Ballet

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  1. Interesting comments my lovely dancing friends. 1) Kate_N’s comment “it's about having a feel for the style and its nuances, as much as the strict adherence to a textbook.”, I couldn’t agree more, but when things feel intuitively unsound, I find it very difficult accept without proper verification, especially if my teacher is unsure too”, these are quite rear events so please don’t get hung up on my comments. For me now, I have two main video references, a full set of Advanced 2 video downloads from Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc and the UK Advanced 1 DVD. The presentation by the dancers are somewhat different the Advanced 1 DVD seams very clinical and without emotion, almost boring to watch. Where as the Advanced 2 from Australia, the dancer at least smiles and appear to enjoy their dance including the barre. On the down side some of the Australian videos demonstrating double attitude and arabesque turns are somewhat insecure as they almost approximate a promenade. Even so I still have a few issues with both video sources about the absolute correctness of some movements within certain enchainements. 2) Several have made the comment, that queries should be made to the teacher, in simple terms I have. I’m also aware that my teacher has addressed queries through two other teachers, I have no idea how they fit into the faculty at the ISTD, qualifications or membership, however what I am aware of (from my teacher) that they are not teaching the Advanced 2 Syllabus until such time as the UK Advanced 2 DVD is released. That result for me in the short term is, I’m not likely to get my issues resolved fully, other than a consensus of what we three think. But it I think it must be clear by now that I am not one to wait. 3) What is really disappointing, is when I have raised issues with the Cecchetti Faculty, they have largely been ignored, to me that is down right rude and unacceptable, a simple reply to say “I’m sorry we can’t help you with that”, would have been better than nothing, otherwise one is waiting in anticipation unnecessarily. It begs the question “Is this part of the wider ballet culture that has evolved”, the reason I ask this, when I was with the Alive Ballet Company, it was a real issue getting email replies from studio’s and performance venues by my Artistic Director, so much so I took over the roll of production manager to make things happen, I had the time and the mindset, the strategy was simple; If I got no email reply with a couple of days, I would follow up with a phone call, that resolved most, if that was unsuccessful then I would visit the afternoon before my rehearsal. Although the strategy was simple it was still an awful lot of work with sometimes up to 60 venues to check out for availability and costs for two dance companies, as we had a Contemporary dance company too which also had to be catered for. To be fair I quite enjoyed it and took on the roll of Head of Costume and Music Editor too. It was a sad day when our Founder and Artistic Director emigrated with her family to Australia, however it looks like us dancers who were with Alive Ballet Company in London will be invited out as guest dancers in Australia towards the end of 2020, can’t wait. 4) As for LinMM comment on petit battement, my experience has been similar, but the wrapping leg has mostly been off the floor for a full foot supporting leg, I’ve been racking my brains as to who taught keeping the wrapping foot in contact with the floor, always remembered it as polishing the floor, and of course Cecchetti does, one of my very first correction. On releve the supporting foot for Cecchetti should be on ¾ pointe and the wrapping foot just off the ground (toes are inline with the arch of supporting foot). This is the same for both Traditional and Additional, but as Kate_N indicated arms are different, 5th en bas traditional and second additional, the only other difference in our barre exercise is 16 petit battements battus (Serre), have been added with a slow port de bras to additional. Initially traditional and additional start the first part of the exercises on full foot, similar with frappes. The only time I do petit battements on a full foot now, with the wrapping leg at cou-de-pied is on a balance board. I guess in some ways this has been one of the best classes I’ve attended for actually learning, both in terms feedback and then having to successfully repeat the movement with corrections correctly, everything is closely scrutinised but in a really nice way. The one thing I find annoying difficult to do, is Cecchetti very basic port de bras, Not the port de bras exercises themselves, they are quite nice and very pretty, love them. But it’s mainly that which is used in barre exercises. Whilst I know what is expected, my view is it just seams far too stiff and without feeling, even taking that on board, I really cant freeze my wrist action on breaths or opening to second Grrr, it almost involuntary. My teacher refers to it as being wafty, but to be fair I have suppressed my quite wafty flamboyant port de bras which I think originated from my days with ENB. I remember having a conversation with Sarah Lamb at a rep workshop on Juliet’s solo from act 1 about port de bras with the skirt, she very much frown on it , although its was used by Alessandra Ferri when she danced as Juliet, I really like it and incorporated in my version I took up to Ballet West this year. Similarly Natalia Osipova does a beautiful port de bras with her skirt in Giselles solo of act 1, again another one I incorporated. I guess that’s my other passion, dancing rep. Hence I can only attend my Cecchetti class once every two weeks, the other is at my local Silver Swans, at least there I get a captive audience to perform a different solo in costume each time I see them every two weeks. I just wish I could incorporate both every week.
  2. Hi Peony I didn’t mean that we did additional on one side of the barre and traditional on the other, however some times we do. Its teacher’s choice as how we do a particular exercise on both sides or not as with the direction. Doing a single exercise on one side and a different exercise on the other is more about time management and leaving sufficient time for exploring exercises that we haven’t yet covered as they are seldom strait forward. I guess its also worth pointing out our other dancer is a ballet teacher in her own right, in fact my first ballet teacher. Ok about your comment “There is a list of teachers with the final diploma somewhere”. I have contacted Sharon Orme coordinator of the faculty for Cecchetti at the ISTD for the contact details of one of their guru’s that would be able to help us with the interpretation/queries that we have with the Syllabus exercises, but as usual no response, what a surprise. I contacted the same office through email, text and phone, I even intended to visit them to get a response to when the UK DVD would become available, eventually it was kicked upstairs to Catherine Hutchon Chair of the Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty before I got a response, so I am by no means passive. I just wish they were as responsive and helpful as Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc. Finally, I would be grateful if you would share the reference to your definition of Traditional and Additional, as requested in my previous post.
  3. Hi Peony Many thanks for the definition of “Traditional” and “Additional” exercises as used in Cecchetti Ballet, I must bow to your extensive historical knowledge of Cecchetti. After seeing your posting I did do a search for your definition in both each of the Advanced 2 course documentation and also on line, unfortunately I could find anything, I wonder if you would please share your reference. As for the flic flac according to Gail Grants Technical “Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet” it came from the Russian School. Her mention of the contact with the floor she describes it as “brushing the ball of the foot along the floor passing through fifth position and finishing with the pointed toe crossed in front beyond sur le cou-de-pied” I cant help but think the length of time the foot is actually brushing the floor is quite variable if in fact it does actually touch, I definitely would never describe it as solid as a “CONTACT WITH THE FLOOR” the time in the clip below is extremely short but is very much in line with the young lady demonstration the advanced 2 exercise. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=723697021039921 The comment that I made about the Advanced 2 video “in the video example the gesturing foot actually just touches the floor about 2/3rds round, to give a little extra push to finish face front.”. After looking at this again in slow motion the dancer dances this exercise each side twice through, only the first time does her foot accidentally hit the ground which I would use your words as in “contact with the floor”. However what I have discovered, the following exercise which should be faster version of the one described, is danced somewhat differently although the caption of movement preceding the exercise is the same. My first thought was the UK and Australian versions may be different, however the Australian videos caption, doesn’t match what the dancers doing, but it does fit the music. Just some of the little inconsistencies we come across. Your comment “If you were to do the exam you have to know both versions and the examiner asks for which they want- it’s a huge syllabus! “ Firstly I agree whole heartedly, it is a huge syllabus. Secondly we are always dance both versions. Thirdly not only are we covering the whole syllabus we are covering the none exam exercises too, that is all combinations where the dancer has a choice in the exam, eg 2 from 4 different types of turns. Fourthly learning a combination in our small group (2 dancers) is quite a slow process as it has to be thorough. Mainly it’s a detailed study of the references from the associated documents which are quite detailed, so a bit of a debate follows and we walk it through; it really is a joint effort from all three of us, where a quality training video would help enormously. What we now have is extremely helpful but I guess non of us fully trust it to be exactly the same as the UK version, but it is a lot better than nothing Fifthly once we have learnt a combination we are expected to dance it from its description each time our teacher calls for it. There is no following the teacher at this level. With only 2 of us, our teacher gives lots of helpful corrections, you cant help but learn, however you know when she is displeased, thats when you get the same correction a second time, even a week or two later. For me I like it even better when I get the opportunity to do a one-to-one with her, usually when our other dancer is on holiday. There is one tiny thing that sets her apart from most other teacher which I think is a bit special, its when we part company at the end of class and we say our goodbyes. As I only attend that class every other week, I usually say “I will see you ???” and she will always reply “Oh yes please”, that really makes one feel special and valued.
  4. Hi Linda I was like you, I had done the movement with the heal down thing hundreds of times before, but never knew its name or even if it had one. My problem with this movement was, it wasn’t being done like that, whilst I could make the first set in the barre sequence work with 2 counts per movement (4 count for twice through) the second set had three movements in 3 counts, that was just messy and felt wrong, when I queried it, there was a lot of uncertainty, and what was being done was a lift, which was a corruption of a Battement releve lent. In the second set of Battement releves, there should be only one tendu out, the heal drops are on each of the 3 counts only, however after the drop on count3 the foot lift of the floor in preparation for 16 battement degages (Battement Glisses in non Cecchetti), first one to derriere. It was just the name of that step that caused confusion, needless to day that step is only a small part of the overall exercise. One characteristic of their naming convention is to have a standard exercise which is the smaller one, followed by an additional, the additional means it has some additional movements embedded in it and slightly more complicated. My turning flick flack is my interpretation as it seams to make sense, for us it is a centre practice exercise, there are two version one slow and the other quick. Neither of us can get through both sides twice with the music, even the so called slow one is quite fast. Basically you just have to know it, it has to be in the body as there is no thinking time. Doing it without music and having a little thinking time is no problem. The fast one will be a real challenge. Most of the exercises in the Examination Specification are cross referenced in one of the three reference books I mention in my previous post, although they are generally very detailed, there is sometimes a little something missing, one that I’ve pickup a couple of times, is certain movement that are done on a releve (conventional ), it often doesn't state where you returned to flat supporting foot, for me that’s feels intuitive, however when I have queried it with my teacher, if it doesn’t say, you stay on releve, if we have a moan, her responses is you’re big girls now you can do it. Thank goodness we have the Australian videos, at least it sorts out those. One of the things I’ve found quite irritating at the barre, is the position of the arm away from the barre, in generic ballet classes its usually placed in second, but in Cecchetti it assumes fifth en bas, I feel a bit like a penguin in a strait jacket and quite often I forget initially until after the exercise has started and realise my arms drifted to second. However there is some really nice port de bra exercises in the Examination specification one of those I have adapted for use as part of my pointe strengthening which takes place on a balance board, with the gesturing leg at retire and the supporting leg flat. Most of our port de bra exercises incorporate grand battement with changing position, those I’ve obviously taken out. If noting else it really strengthens the supporting leg with nice music and beautiful movements, just love it.
  5. Hi Peony Thank you for the link, yes I was aware of that DVD, I came across it when I did a Global search for Advanced 2 DVD’s, furthermore my rep coach also gave me that link to the ROH shop too. That DVD is quite expensive at £99, but then all of the Cecchetti DVD’s tend to be expensive at £55 from the ISTD shop. I chased the ISTD some time ago and finally got a response from Catherine Hutchon, Chair of Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty to indicate they were hoping for the end of this term for it to be released, I guess by Christmas. For me when I run up against an unfamiliar term, when its danced in terms of musicality it need to make sense, and one of those movements didn’t, it was a new term that had crept into Advanced 2 that wasn’t in Advanced 1, it was simply “Battement Releve”, it had been mis-interpreted as a variation of the Battement Releve Lent from the Russian School, and what was used for me simply didn’t fit the music properly and when queried, it seamed it was a new term to everyone. That said I hunted around for a you tube example on the internet, or description on an on-line ballet dictionary too, but nothing found. Eventually I did a global search of all major Cecchetti Establishments and the only one that had DVD’s or downloadable videos for Advanced 2 was Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc, at first the UK wasn’t on their country list to export but they placed the UK on it for me. So at least I now have some idea of what to expect, but I am also aware there may well be minor differences too. “ our Battement Releve take place after the working leg is extended out to pointe tendu, the heal momentarily drops then returns back to pointe tendu. Strangely enough I sat in on Vienna Festivals Ballet pre-show warm-up and during their barre, Emily their ballet mistress said “releve” and then dancers heals went down, wow I thought Cecchetti training. Later I asked Emily about the Battement releves, she also commented it’s used in the Russian school too. Even at today’s class I have another query on the precise definition on one of the centre practice movements, even though we have the Australian video to help us. The words and what takes place don’t quite gel. The Exercise has turn and this is what it states “Execute two fouette type movements’ en tournant en dedans that is: Open right foot to second position, en l air, so that the pointe is raised 4 inches from the ground, and immediately sweep the foot across the ground and bring it sur le cou de pied devant. REPEAT the movement with the same foot and bring it sur le cou de pied derriere During these two fouette’s execute a pirouette dedans, returning to face 5” (Corner 5 in Cecchetti is in front / audience. Firstly it may just be a play on words “ Sweep the foot across the ground”, in the video the foot moves as the first part of a flick flack close to the floor, it doesn’t touch the floor. My impression is that this is actually a turning flick flack, however in the video there what I think is a bit of a cheat as on the turn with the gesturing leg at cou de pied when it should be going through changement from front to back , in the video example the gesturing foot actually just touches the floor about 2/3rds round, to give a little extra push to finish face front. At the moment we are waiting for the definitive UK version Advanced 2 DVD As for the Cecchetti Diploma DVD, I guess ultimately I will get it when I have done the Advanced 2 to death, however I am not following a qualification path as my passion is dancing repertoire from the classics
  6. A couple of week ago I performed my last of Odalisque solo’s (the one with all the Briese’s) for the ladies of my local Silver Swans. That is something I’ve been doing for a while now, even though I only attend them every other week, I do perform a solo in costume for them every time. Gradually more and more of the ladies have shown an interest in joining me for something simple. So that week I cleared it with their teacher and then asked them if they would like to join me as my Corps de ballet for a piece of Swan Lake. I had anticipated around 6 to 8, however I was asked by at least a couple that I thought would not want to be part of it, but asked if they could try it, wow that’s brilliant however it does set me another challenge, as when the piece is finished I would like it showcased on video for our patron with all our Ladies in Romantic tutu’s. I already have 4 and was anticipating buying 4 more low cost ones from my local ballet shop, however those are no longer available and the ones that are, are considerably more expensive. Needless to say I’m now designing a low cost romantic tutu kit, hopefully for them to sew, but I will buy and supply all the materials, potentially that could be up to 17 tutu’s. Although I know the majority of them would not be willing to wear a leotard, I guess if we can substitute that for a white T shirt which would be more acceptable to them. They will not need these until close to Christmas. The piece I will be teaching them is essentially the Coda from Act 2, as I will kick it off by dancing Odette’s solo which precedes it, they will dance a very simplified version of the corps coda, I will then come in with the Coda solo for Odette, then finish the group piece with all of us into our little finale for the final photo pose. Tuesdays for me is a day of extremes with one week of Silver Swans, with the following week of Cecchetti Advanced 2. Even the Advanced 2 isn’t strait forward, I’ve had several queries which I have raised with my teacher, she has two teaching colleagues that she has passed my queries too, their response has been, they will not teach this standard until the accompanying DVD is released. I have also emailed the faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD but they simply don’t reply to my emails on technical queries. At the moment I am using 4 documents to unravel what is required by the syllabus: Advanced 2 Examination Specification A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method) The Theory and Practice of Allegro in Classical Ballet (Cecchetti Method) The Theory and Practice of Advanced Allegro in Classical Ballet (Cecchetti Method) I am also using the full set of video downloads for Cecchetti Advanced 2 from Cecchetti Australia, although they look very similar, both me and my teacher are uncertain as to how well the exercises fit the UK standard. Although I miss alternate Tuesday for this class, I do see my teacher for a Body Conditioning class every Wednesday evening, I usually query what was taught on the weeks I miss which at least help me stay up to date. My other main activity of the week is preparation for pointe , as I’ve substituted one of my private rep coaching session for prep for pointe. I see there is another thread on that topic so there is little point in me posting here, although it’s likely to be quite different with an awful lot of homework.
  7. Hi RuthE Like you I did both classes in one evening, the Intermediate followed by the Advanced, at the end of the evening there was a bit of a chat with a few of us and our teacher Kate, one of the guys mentioned a sticky floor but I didn’t experience it. Tendu’s were absolutely fine, I do recall going for a double in one of the pirouette exercises, it seam to almost stall towards the end of the second turn but I just put that down to me. I see a friend of mine manage a double OK. I know when I was at the old studios in South Kensington, there was a period when the smaller downstairs studio was extremely sticky and tendus were virtually impossible, you had to cheat them by virtually lifting the foot off the floor before moving it out. At the time the floor used to leave a blackish deposit on the bottom of your ballet slippers, I ended up complaining for several weeks. More recently both of my classes were in the large upstairs studio and that was always fine. In terms of the floor at the new building I would rate the slippyness, if there is such a word, as similar to my own studio which has a Harlequin sprung floor with Harlequin Cascade vinyl covering. At least 3 studios I use every week do have wood flooring, they are considerably slippier. I guess it’s what one is used too, I was perfectly happy with the new ENB floor and I have already spoken to LinMM about their floor and of course LinMM has sampled the floor in my studio too. I am also aware that temperature in my studio does have an effect on slippyness of the vinyl floor covering(less slippy as it gets colder), but I don’t think that would be an issue for ENB.
  8. Last Wednesday the 2nd October was my first visit to he new English National Ballet Studios on London City Island. I was attending the Intermediate and Advanced taster classes. I guess for me it was mostly curiosity and to check out the convenience of travel and the surrounding area for café/restaurants. Travel for me via underground platform to platform Kings Cross to Canning Town via London Bridge was about half an hour. However I couldn’t find anywhere on City Island to eat but there were plenty of eating places within about 5 mins walk from Canning Town tube station. We were told to arrive about 15 minutes before class, I arrived about half an hour before, however the attendance sheets were already out, one for each class, that just required the attendees to tick them on the way in, and out again as they left. As I was booking in my teacher “Kate” arrived, I’ve known her many years mostly from ENB rep workshops on the stage of the London Coliseum, she recognized me immediately and we had a bit of a chat. After booking in, me and a few other girls had to wait until 6.45pm before they would let us into the public changing rooms. The female public changing room was on the ground floor and were tiny with lockers present on the wall. I had a pull along case, it was far to big to go in, so I decided to take it in to our studio as I would have done with the old studios in Markova House, another girl had the same problem. I think in the end almost everyone had taken their things into the studio and we all placed them near the piano so they were well clear of the ballet barres. Our studio the Linden was on the second floor. A friend had posted some picture of the ENB studios the week before, the walls looked as if it was corrugated metal in a large industrial building, how wrong I was, the wall material was both soft and warm to the touch, it was in full length floor to ceiling strips, I guess they were acoustic panels. The studio was very large, almost square in shape with mirrors on 2 walls and absolutely gorgeous. There were ballet barres on three of the walls. The wall without a ballet barre was mirrored, but there was a portable barre too. Both classes were well attended but there were far more at the Intermediate class. For me it felt like I was coming home as I knew several dancers in both classes, even though it’s been 3 years since I last attended them. They are still of a good standard and I thoroughly enjoyed them, even though I will not be enrolling for this term. The visit to ENB had its highs as mentioned above, but I re-experienced some of the lows I had experienced 3 years ago that involved the travel arrangements. Firstly when I arrived at Peterborough railway station, the car park was full and I had to use the over-spill car park. I really don’t like that park when I’m arriving back after midnight, it’s a long walk down a narrow ally with crisscross high wire fencing on both sides, there is a single camera that I could see at one end, its quite a walk and I cant help feel just a bit vulnerable. When I was doing rehearsal in London on Sundays there was always 400+ spaces available in the main car park, but I guess most are taken up by commuters in the week. The second issue is one I had already forgotten about, the build up of Lactic Acid in ones legs after nearly 3 hours of fairly active ballet and then sat on the train for the journey home. In London to Kings Cross I was fine, but immediately I got off the train at Peterborough my lower legs and ankles were stiff and quite painful, it all came flooding back as to what happened before. My solution then was a combination of things; firstly my classes in the end were the opposite way round, advanced first followed by intermediate, the intermediate felt like a bit of a cool-down as it was considerably easier. I also avoided the long walk back from ENB to South Kensington tube station and caught the No 10 bus from just outside the Royal Albert Hall to Knightsbridge tube station, then Piccadilly line to Kings Cross.
  9. Hi LinMM Just a thought, I wont be staying to watch Company Class, after the workshop, I will probably have a quick coffee and chat with our dancing friends in the break and then leave to catch up with Adrian, as he will probably be bored being left on his own. He is only there to see Le Corsaire especially as he has danced some of the rep with me. I’m also doing the ENB Le Corsaire workshop at Milton Keynes too, it will be interesting to see if they are teaching the same piece of rep at the Coliseum.
  10. First of all I must declare I have no financial interest in this offering, this has come about as I have exchange a number of emails with this really nice teacher and time is getting short for any dance student on this forum that lives within travelling distance of Lincoln to register. To be conducted by Principle Ballerina Miss Julie Anne Clarke ARAD AISTD Auditions are to be held on Sunday 13th October and Sunday the 10th November 4pm to 6pm at The Dance Studio, One NK, Moor Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln LN6 9AX. There is noting to prepare for the first audition and there will be a second audition. Applicants are expected to be Grade 5 or above and are for students who have no stage experience & would like to improve their technique, stage presentation etc & take this up as a career. It is not intended for Adults, as that was my initial interest. For further info and registration: Email dance.vision@outlook.com Mobile 07586478712 Website www.julieanneclarke.co.uk
  11. Do check out the Ultimate Dance Showcase events https://www.udsuk.co.uk
  12. First of all I must declare I have no financial interest in this offering, this has come about as I have exchange a number of emails with this really nice teacher and time is getting short for anyone on this forum that lives within travelling distance of Lincoln to register. The Classes are run by Principle Ballerina Miss Julie Anne Clarke ARAD AISTD Classes are weekly starting Tuesday 1st October from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, an hour each class. This is to be held at The Dance Studio, One NK, Moor Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln LN6 9AX. The classes on the 1st of October are free so I guess one should regard them as a taster. For further info and registration: Email dance.vision@outlook.com Mobile 07586478712 Website www.julieanneclarke.co.uk
  13. Hi LinMM Yes I will be staying for the Matinee performance afterwards, Adrian will be with me too, if you want to meet up for a spot of lunch with us before hand, that would be great.
  14. Hi LinMM I see this quotation the other day and thought of you, it certainly resonates with me: “YOU DON’T STOP DANCING BECAUSE YOU GROW OLD.” “YOU GROW OLD BECAUSE YOU STOP DANCING.” What do you think?
  15. My start back of the new term of ballet has felt like swimming through treacle as my legs haven’t yet fully recovered from what I can only describe as an over-use injury prior to our Ballet West session. However during the intervening period I have continued to attend my Cecchetti Advanced 2 classes. While I have attended the Cecchetti classes I have had the opportunity to video them, both my teacher and our other student consented for me to do this. By videoing what we do has been extremely enlightening for me, it has raised as many questions as it has answered. The beauty of only 2 students in the class is the amount of feedback we both get , it also allows me to be quite vocal in asking questions which simply isn’t possible in much larger classes without appearing disruptive or hogging the teacher. The exercises we are doing are taken from the exam syllabus, there is no DVD available from the faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD. The details of the exercises come from a combination of sources, some refer in-part to that of Advanced 1 (DVD available) and from of two documents “The Advanced 2 Examination Specifications” and a book called “The Manual” which is “A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method)”. In some instances the Examination Specification does give proper references in the Manual eg page and section references, but its very much like being a detective to sort out precisely what is expected in a particular exercise and it can be quite ambiguous. When we start new material there is often a bit of a debate as to the interpretation of the standard, I remember at the last class, our piece of center practice for arabesque and attitude turns, before w got anywhere near the turns themselves, we had to go from a tendu devant up into attitude on demi-pointe , whilst it didn’t specifically use the words of releve or plie or similar meaning, our teacher concluded we must launch the attitude leg from a rise of the strait supporting leg, though I guess not totally impossible , it was extremely difficult and for me just didn’t feel right, we were both encouraged with the comment “you can do it, you are both big girls now”. We did try. I know there are several things that I have come across that don’t quite gel with me and also some of the exercised don't exactly fit the music as I would expect, even our teacher wishes there were a DVD for as the gold standard. I have tried repeatedly to contact the coordinator of the Faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD but she has never replied to my emails of phone messages as to future availability of Advanced 2 DVD’s. In shear desperation I have check out the availability of video material on both youtube and Cecchetti organisations around the world. The only place I could find something covering that standard is Cecchetti Australia, it has a total of 5 video downloads, the fifth one covers pointe work, each of these is 25$ Au. However to download these, the country must be contained in the country list, the UK wasn’t. Oh poo how am I going to work around this one, One of my old Artistic Directors has emigrated to Australia and I still have contact with her, as I should be performing out there as a guest dancer towards the end of 2020, so that was running through my mind as a possibility. I emailed Cecchetti Australia to tell them I had created an account on their website but unfortunately the UK wasn’t on their country list, how should I proceed. The following morning an email was waiting, to say the UK had been added to the country list, and a detailed procedure of how to download the files. Needless to say I tried with a single file first of the “Au Milieu and Pirouettes”, to satisfy my curiosity over the rise or releve issue (releve it was). It went like a dream and the download only took a minute or so. Later that day I downloaded the remaining three files. I must say I was really impressed by the help I received from Cecchetti Australia, I just wish Faculty of Cecchetti in the ISTD were as responsive, I guess I’m just going to have to call in and see them on my next visit to ENB. At least now my two teachers and I will be singing from the same song sheet whoopee. Sunday in preparation for this week back, I thought I would just run through the Odalisques third variation, as it is a piece I want to dance for my local Silver Swans, especially as I wasn’t able to dance it at Ballet West. Horror that really didn’t go well, the first assemble which uses my strongest combination of legs was seriously lacking in power, to be fair, that shook me a bit, I wasn’t expecting that and that variation was down for practice at my Monday morning rep coaching session. It still wasn’t particularly good and I guess its still going to take a little while to regain that strength, on the positive side the 5 double turn pirouette/ arabesque combinations were far better than I expected. Going forward as I’m not performing this Christmas, I’m focusing a lot more on body conditioning and preparation for pointe and consequently taking on a slightly higher level of risk. I think it would be much more prudent to reduce the number of variation I take to Ballet West next year to around 4 solos and a couple of Pas de Deuxs, rather than 11 of this year.
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