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Everything posted by Michelle_Richer

  1. Hi LinMM I've been seeing my Sports Physio every other week since the middle of May.
  2. Hi Peony The studios at the school in Scotland will be full if they have clearance in September, I usually book our studio during their summer break for the second week in August, that is an annual commitment for me and Adrian and has been for quite a few years. LinMM I agree gyms wont be opening on the 4th of July, but we may get a better idea of when that’s likely to be. I'm also seeing quite a few on-line intensives planned now for August, suggesting it may be later than the 15th in England and substantially later in Scotland. As for the journey, its by car with an over night stop just North of Glasgow as the journey is around 425miles to Oban, although this time we have booked in at a little country hotel just outside, we know it well as Adrian and I often dine there. As for leaving the hotel booking to the last minute , that simply isn’t practical as it a highly sort after tourist area, in any case I usually book with a small premium, so that I can cancel virtually up to the day of travel. My take on this was based on the fact that tourism and hospitality contribute significant to Scotland's income, therefore I was expecting significant relaxing of the restrictions by the end of July, in time for the school and industrial holiday season. 2dancersmum Trying to maintain the continuity of our session in Scotland since Covid has been a long shot , we originally booked it around Christmas time. I understand what you are saying about the current travel restrictions, this is what’s in the Scottish Governments COVID 19 Route Map: Phase 2 - Indicative Dates Travel distance restriction relaxed - 3 July Self-catering accommodation and second homes (without shared facilities) permitted - 3 July Outdoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice) - 6 July Phase 3 - Indicative Dates People can meet in extended groups outdoors (with physical distancing) - 10 July Households can meet indoors with up to a maximum of two other households (with physical distancing) - 10 July Organised outdoor contact sports can resume for children and young people (subject to guidance) - 13 July All dental practices begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care. Work will begin to return aerosol generating procedures to practice safely - 13 July Increasing capacity within community optometry practices for emergency and essential eye care - 13 July Non-essential shops inside shopping centres can re-open (following guidance and with physical distancing) - 13 July All holiday accommodation permitted (following relevant guidance) - 15 July Indoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice) - 15 July Hairdressers and barbers - with enhanced hygiene measures - 15 July Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries - with physical distancing and other measures (e.g. ticketing in advance) - 15 July All childcare providers can open subject to individual provider arrangements - 15 July Phase 3 - Advice on dates at 9 July Review (unlikely to be before 23 July) It seam quite likely I will have to postpone Scotland until next year, but I will wait until after the 4th to make that final decision. If so next year is going to be tough as I will be rolling 2 years into one, as it will be Adrian’s last year as my PDD partner.
  3. I can’t help but feel things are slipping away for our week of one-to-one intensive in Scotland working on our own rep. Although my local rep coach emailed me on the morning before the last Government Briefing, to say she was ok to cover my coaching against the day and times I asked for as soon as gyms had the ok. Needless to say the Government Briefing on the 23rd was a bombshell, gym were to remain closed until further notice. That has huge implications especially for my ballet school in Scotland as they are somewhat behind England in lifting restrictions. On further investigation it has been suggested that England could at the earliest lift restriction on the 15th of July for gyms. Scotland has also mentioned that they would not consider lifting restrictions on gyms until after the 23rd. One of the booking we were leaving late this year due to the virus was our overnight stay just north of Glasgow, a Travel Lodge at Dumbarton. I checked its availability this week for our August date. Needless to say it’s closed and not available for booking. Some travel Lodges are available in and around Glasgow but not many. This got me thinking as to how safe is our hotel booking whilst at our Scottish Ballet School, especially as only about half of our local pubs and hotels are planning to open on the 4th under the new English rules. As a result I tried to look at availability for our Scottish hotel for the months of July August and September, but only found it would accept booking in late September. Making the decision to abort this years preparation for Adrian’s and my Scottish intensive is going to be a painful one, especially as Adrian said in the early part of this year he wanted to retire from Ballet, I persuaded him to at least give me two more years, this year and next, as I already have that rep planned. Also I really don’t want to throw away the preparation we have already done. But when push come to shove with the degree of uncertainty present I do need to decide when to stop, for me it will be immediately after this next weekend. Firstly I’m hoping it comes clear immediately after the 4th, when gym lockdown restrictions are to be lifted in England. The next Scottish Briefing is due to take place on the 2nd of July, hopefully some concrete news of opening of gyms over there, otherwise my Scottish school, irrespective of their intentions will not be able to open for me. Finally I will need to confirm with my hotel, that they will be open and covid secure for guests during the week of our booking. If it still looks feasible, then I will need to talk to my local coach as she is on hold until the 4th and we can sort out the options. If I have to abort things this year, then for next I will wrap this year and next years rep into the one year, which will be extremely demanding on the body and not without risk, so fitness preparation will also be essential. I guess not everything is doom and gloom, in just over a week; I have a hair appointment, whoopee. Adrian is also over the moon as his team Liverpool Football Club became Champions of the Premier League this week. He went to book a hotel for us near Liverpool to go into Liverpool to watch their last game of the season on a Large Scene display either in a pub or park over there to soak up the atmosphere, but after seeing the crowds that gathered the other night in Liverpool in celebration with little or no regard for social distancing, Adrian cancelled our booking. Instead we have arranged to travel up to Leeds and watch the match at Adrian’s daughters; she too is an ardent Liverpool supporter. I must keep him happy to keep him dancing.
  4. Still no news from my Scottish School or my local rep coach. Like LinMM mentioned, I too have seen adverts offering one to one and small groups on site ballet teaching. Although not UK, I have also seen Russian Master Ballet Camp at Alicante, Spain are holding an on site intensive from 5 to 26th July 2020 for a limited number of students. There was a short clip in the news about a Gym opening up with social distancing etc in place, I got the impression it was already operational but I may be wrong, perhaps they may be waiting for the 4th of July . Another bulleting is to be issued tomorrow (Tuesday 23/6) with more details on lifting of restrictions. I think Wednesday would be a good day to explore the options with my local rep coach and I guess the 5th of July for my August booking at the Scottish school, that is as late as I can leave thing before postponing until next year.
  5. Hi Peony I note your comment that I'm definitely allowed to have someone in my house if they are working for me. Well my studio is part of my house although you don’t need to go through it to get access, however you do need to go through the house for the loo. The studio does have its own outside door. I guess for the solo’s I’m covering we could actually maintain the 2m separation, the studio is big enough, and of course I’m not adverse to wearing masks during rep practice. As it is, I haven’t heard anything from our School in Scotland or my local rep coach, I guess we are all waiting cautiously for clarification, but I must plough on until July and then take a view, if I don’t have a rep coach if to go it alone or not. If at any time Scotland decide they cannot accommodate us on our original August booking, then the whole thing will be postponed until next year, and Adrian and I start focusing on a PDD to perform for Christmas. I guess for the moment even our hotel that we booked around Christmas time, wont be able to guarantee that we will be allowed to stay there, although as it would normally be during there peak season of August, I think the risks are quite low.
  6. As there is some visibility of the lockdown going to ease, I’ve started to think about the feasibility of salvaging mine and Adrian annual visit to our ballet training establishment in Scotland. Especially as we have both suspended rep practice for the last couple of months, if it feasible in the present climate we really do need to restart now, otherwise we simply will not be ready. In the last few days I’ve contacted our Scottish training school, my request is still under consideration as they didn’t intend opening until the beginning of term in September. I have also contacted my local rep coach with a view to restating coaching beginning July, with whatever PPE/ social distancing is required, this will not be on-line. I’m still waiting to here confirmation from both parties. Although I suspended the rep for a while I continued with my Cecchetti studies and my on-line one-to-one with my Cecchetti ballet teacher. I must say the Advanced 2 Syllabus is not easy, especially the turns, they are quite unusual to me. It seams that it long ago that I had pirouettes that started on 2 feet and ended on two feet, what a luxury. Most of the enchainment with turns, you either tart on one foot (typically arabesque) and land on two, or you launch from two feet and end on one, with the gesturing leg at retire, ready to open out and extend. Just recently I have had one enchainment where I launch from one foot (arabesque) in a type of en dedand pirouette which is actually a reverse which ends with arms in a demi-seconde and the gesturing leg at high extension to seconde (from my training video the extension must be to at least 160 degrees). I manage just a little over 90, but I do cheat a little to hold the extension by just resting the leg a little on top of my extended arm . I think my biggest problem associated with turns, is balance and transfer of weight when it come to an end, especially those pirouettes which end in retire, that in itself is fine and stable, it’s when I start to open out from retire into arabesques or some other movement I start to get the wobbles Grrr, really annoying. I really like the way this on-line class has come together with my teacher, by setting me home work for me to study and present, and then she can analyse and correct it where necessary, and of course I check the corrections, as our main reference is a book called the Manual which I find very ambiguous, when the description for an enchainment is given in the Syllabus Specification, it uses modern language and current ballet terms, whilst the Manual is extremely verbal in terms of detailed geometric movements, which ones brain goes into overload. I try and just use it as a reference after the event for conformation, rather than try and learn from it initially. If I run short of time for our one-to-one in Scotland I guess I will have to suspend my Cecchetti for a month or so until I get back. I’m not sure what’s happening with the Enavant Ballet rep workshops that were suspended, I’m sure I will find out from Karis at one of my zoom classes.
  7. One of the things that appear to be evolving is my on-line Cecchetti one-to-one class. It started out as unset work to help with my Advanced 2, but for some reason our other student (a ballet teacher in her own right) didn’t start the on-line classes when our regular classed ceased. As time went on my teacher added more and more of the syllabus work but mainly from the barre at first with a little from the centre, especially if it doesn’t travel too far. Recently it’s changed again, rather than me being taught, my teacher sets my homework for me to present to her the following week. Last week was my first presentation. I had 3 different enchainments from the Adage section of the Syllabus, whist it seamed strait forward enough, but it really wasn’t. The first piece we has just touched on before, but never completed it before the lockdown. My reference to the enchainment came from a book commonly referred to as “The Manual” with its associated page number; the same reference is given in the Syllabus. I checked the manual ref against the Australian training video of this enchainment for correlation, they seem to agree, and I learnt it. However when my teacher played the old Advanced 2 music for this enchainment, we ran out half way through. It only used half the routine, but isn’t qualified in any of the documentation. Second Enchainment, a piece that I had never been taught before, a tricky piece for balance, and some minor disagreements over the interpretation of the spec as I’m swayed somewhat by the Australian video interpretation. Third enchainment, this was to be an easier piece although quite long, as I had danced it quite along time ago, but needless to say I could remember most of it. As I was dancing though it, my teacher said, this isn’t according to the manual, I said this is what you taught us before the lockdown. So she decided we would try and mark it through from the manual, for me there was a lot missing and we were running short of time, so I suggested we both take it away and study it. This particular piece is covered separately in the syllabus (which was what I was dancing too) however it did state (Original version p166). I now have a dilemma as to which standard to follow, the old 2003 Syllabus which we also have the music too, which is different from the manual, or the 2019 Syllabus which only refers to the manual, but there is no music or video for this standard yet, I guess I’m just going to have to learn both. I must say, I prefer working on homework prior to working on it with my teacher, this really works for me, it just a pity we don’t have a properly released standard for Cecchetti Advanced 2.
  8. Hi Alison Brilliant, receiving live streams worked first time, many thanks x
  9. Hi Alison Many thanks for posting webfoot’s link, I will try this later in the week as I’ve had real problems with receiving live Instagram streams on a new Win 10 Laptop. It will be interesting if I can access my cameras on Instagram Direct Messenger too. I ended up using a different system completely for the occasional on-line class I’ve done with Sander, I like his style especially as he was one of my old teachers.
  10. One day very soon I will have an on-line studio that works consistently and properly. As trying to get everything working the way I wanted has been a real challenge especially as there has been very little access for advice with the Lockdown. For the most part I have access to 6 cameras for Face book, Face book Messenger, Skype and Zoom. At least with Skype and Zoom selection of camera and sound source takes place before one establishes contact. With the main system although I can watch a live ballet class with Instagram, I cannot access the camera even on Instagram Messenger, only audio. Initially all the tests have been carried out with Adrian my partner, although we have mostly been using the same wireless router. One issue that isn’t resolved, When I establish a link with Adrian with Face book messenger via Chrome in Windows 10, I can select both the camera and sound sources. However when I establish a link with my Cecchetti Teacher, the selection option is not present. As it was last week, it had retained the previous settings from my contact with Adrian. But each time I close that contact, a message window comes up indicating, some settings may be lost, in the past the setting have been lost. I’ve been working on line with my Cecchetti teacher for several weeks now both on a one-to-on basis for ballet and also her body conditioning class with a small group that follows. The audio quality has always been very poor. A few weeks ago she noticed during the body conditioning class that my image froze, and according to her the sound was much better. My only conclusion was it was due to echo and feedback as I was using my camera’s internal mic which was close to the speaker, and also the home studio is quite large at 30sq metres and not acoustically dampened with large curtains and soft furnishings. My first thoughts was use a wireless boom mic which is in close proximity to the mouth, whilst that worked reasonably well, it was still sensitive enough when monitored to pic up from the speaker. Also the wireless mic and its tiny transmitter is not overly obtrusive when wearing normal ballet attire. The first week we used the wireless mic, things didn’t appear to be much better, so I had to eliminate audio from the speaker, fortunately I had an old pair of Bluetooth headphones, I was able to access them from the laptop of my control centre, whoopee it worked and no stray audio present at my mic input. My large cumbersome headphones is not something one would wear for ballet class, especially in the centre, they are far too obtrusive. I decided to buy some Bluetooth tiny ear buds that have what looks like little stalks on them about an inch long, they are the sort of thing seen on TV reporters during interview. For me they work well in terms of the audio, however during movement in ballet they were inclined to fall out. Finally I utilised a small Bluetooth receiver and some stethoscope styled headphones, they were very secure and not too obtrusive, the receiver is a bit more of a problem, whilst its not overly big, its too big to fit in my bra, its about 3inches x 1.5inches but quite thin. I managed to find a small black canvas binocular case that fits on to a belt. Using a black belt around my waist I managed to position the receiver round the back, and cover the belt and receiver with my usual black chiffon ballet skirt; however the cable running up my back is visible. My teacher reported good audio from me when we commenced our one-to-one class, although as usual I had difficulty understanding my teacher unless she was close to her camera and similar difficulty with the music too. When the group joined us for the Body Conditioning class, all the usual pop and squeaks reappeared, so I guess there is still feedback present in there system. I will suggest at next body conditioning class that everyone other than our teacher mutes their mic’s, and only enable them if they need to reply. Instagram: This one has been a real problem for me, with two issues first and most importantly being able to receive live streaming and especially as I’m using a Windows 10 operating system with my new laptop. However I noted from phone and Android TV boxes that the Instagram app from Google play store supported this. I loaded Bluestacks on to the laptop, and yes with Instagram app I could receive live streaming, however The Instagram direct messenger could not enable my camera, although all security setting we set to enable, that remains a mystery. At least I could do the occasional class with Sander Blommaert, one of my old ballet teachers. After spending a lot of time trying to enable the camera for this one, I decided to run with a separate solution for Instagram, and run with one of the latest Android TV boxes as I has some success with them. One was purchased , however the results were not so good, although I could receive live streaming, the width of the picture filled the screen as did one of our old boxes, which meant the height was equivalent to about 3 pictures on Sanders live stream, also Instagram messenger would not allow me to enable the camera. Oh poo it was useless, I had gone backwards. At least I knew one of our old Android TV boxes did sort of work with Instagram and the Camera too when checked out in my office. One further investigation I went down the route of checking the speed of the internet connections both in my office and the studio as they are on separate lines and routers too. Needless to say there was quite a difference between the two at least the studio was substantial faster as it uses Adrian’s BT line and Router for his BT Sport and other live streaming. Revelation: Although much of the Ballet class live streaming I’ve seen on Instagram doesn’t require the camera to be enabled and just by chance as I have two large TV screens in my studio, I had one attached to the laptop and the other to the good Android TV box. I ran up Instagram with the same class on both, the results were incredible even though there was about 5 seconds time difference between them, but that was just me starting them. The Android TV box that cost about £43, gave a clear shape video, unlike the laptop which cost about £1200, as there was some small pixilation particularly on movements, however photograph on peoples stories were clear and sharp. Both TV’s in the system were 4K UHD, my conclusion is that the BlueStacks Emulator in the laptop provides another level of processing which slows the screen down just a little bit. If I hadn’t run the two systems side by side I don’t think I would have noticed, I would just have accepted that instagram was just a bit blurry. As I wanted to preserve the laptop camera system as I designed it (6 Cameras), it was necessary to buy a cheap USB HD webcam for the Instagram Android TV box, one was ordered. Guess what it didn’t work, however the spec said it was compatible with Win 7 and above. I checked it out with the Laptop, it worked fine so it was substituted with a Logitech and both systems now work. Now at least the studio equipment is usable, but getting it there has heavily impacted on my ballet time: Studio Roof: About a year ago I had someone come down from the company that supplied the large conservatory that forms my studio, as a number of roofing panels had slipped down an inch or two that caused small leaks, on investigation I found little plastic spacers that secured end caps to the spars between the panels to have broken. At the time I had suggested to the suppliers that this was possibly a design floor, as the glass roofing panels were too big and heavy for the plastic (uPVC) spacer to hold them, I ask if they had anything more substantial. When their engineer came down, he pushed all the glass panels back into position, I assumed he had fitted new spacers and then resealed them with lots of silicon adhesive and said they wont move again. I was happy with the outcome but did not check it. Last weekend I noticed one side of the roof was starting to go green, it’s near a tree, so just needed cleaning. However once I took a closer look from the ladder, most of the end caps were only just hanging on and many of the roofing panels were starting to slip again. When removing the end caps it looks very suspiciously as if the broken spacers were never replaced and he was relying purely on the silicon adhesive to hold them. For me this is very much a botched job against a design floor due to up-scaling a design intended for smaller structures. As I need to get this fixed ASAP for me there is only one solution, to do it myself. Unfortunately for me it’s quite a time consuming job, its around about a day per side mainly because of access issues. I have already done two of the sides by replacing the plastic ones with 3mm aluminium ones incorporating a return to strengthen them, otherwise I would have to go to stainless steel and have them made. I have a further side to do which is quite strait forward, then an extremely difficult one to get access too, which butts up to the house wall. I will take advice from the supplier on that one, especially the load baring capability of the roof panels to support me. For me this is not about arguing whose responsibility it is for the problem, but getting it done once and permanently, as I know one day as I get older I won’t be able to do these things for myself. Cost of Electricity: I had a shock the other day when I looked at my Electricity account and fount it was a lot further in debit to what I had anticipated. Especially as I had planned to use our hot tub with a splits bar to assist stretching in splits after a good cardio session. During the winter the hot tub is most definitely off, but our house night storage heaters are on, by this time of year we are usually either break even or have a small surplus in the Electricity provider account and certainly not what I see. I was also aware that the studio air condition would add to our costs but I was suspicious that they were wrong. I read our dual rate meter last Sunday which give 4 displays, all 8’s which is basically a lamp test of all segment, “1” for rate 1, “2” for rate 2 and “t” for total. I checked out on the internet which rate corresponded to the full day rate, mostly it was rate 2, but not always, and rate 2 was the Economy 7 night rate. When I printed out my history of my monthly readings, it seamed as if the day and night rates had become reversed when the meter was changed in January. When I read the meter Adrian logged the number of both readings down, we then went into the house and switched on the shower 10Kw and also our emersion heater 3Kw and waited half an hour, it was rate 2 which had changed. One of the things I noticed on the youtube examples, most meters either have a sticky label to denote which rate is which or its etched into the plastic case, ours has neither. I’ve emailed the electricity provider to correct this or at least send someone down and verify it themselves. Future: Unfortunately with all these distractions, I’ve had very little time to set up a new weekly schedule of on-line classes other than my Cecchetti, although I have when time has permitted jumped into the odd freebee for a while. Sadly to some extend I have got behind with my rep as its uncertain when the Workshops I had planned will take place or if Adrian and my one-to-one week intensive in Scotland will still take place this year. The prim minister’s speech of Sunday and Monday gives little away to help predict the future; I guess I’m going to have to wait for the next review before checking with our ballet school in Scotland. If Scotland is definitely off I am very tempted but also extremely scared of taking up an opportunity to attend the “Maestro Cecchetti Diploma Course” via Zoom from the National Ballet Institute for the Arts · Edgewater, MD, United States. It’s a five day course from 3pm to 7.30pm UK time starting on the 22nd of June. Whilst many on this forum would say I’m way out of my depth, my sensible introvert side would have to agree with them, and I would be extremely concerned that I would find it so difficult and embarrassing that I would drop out after day one and have wasted $250. One the other hand my extrovert side would see this as huge ego trip to have the opportunity to do such a high standard course on-line, that most probably wouldn’t be available in the future without travelling to the US and of course would be much more expensive. If I had the courage to stay the distance and complete the course even though I hadn’t done particularly well, providing I could take something positive away from it, I think I would still see it as quite an achievement and certainly will have taken me way out of my comfort zone. On the bright side, with the lock down, my garden has never been so beautiful as it is this year.
  11. Grrrr another 2 weeks spent wrestling with my new on-line system, firstly with no in-store sales advice on choice and capability of equipment available, only on-line sales, so this was chosen on technical spec which resulted in me selecting a gaming laptop for it high speed video processing capability, plus it has 3 USB3 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port which technically is another high speed IO port similar to USB but should be capable of HDMI input / output, and a conventional HDMI output port. The operating system is Windows 10. Also with no technical support available afterwards from the suppliers, again due to the pandemic. My initial requirement was to install all the apps associated with on-line classes eg Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom, Instagram and IGTV. The most important for me was Facebook Messenger, that was available from the Microsoft store, but Facebook wasn’t. Skype and Zoom were. As some of the Messenger permissions are held in Facebook, I decided to download the Google Chrome browser, that let me set tabs for both Facebook and Messenger as well as the BalletCoforum. However the only version of Instagram that supported live streams was the Android Instagram app from the Google Play Store. As my laptop was running under Windows 10, I required an Android emulator, the Blue-Stacks Android emulator was highly recommended on the net, so it was downloaded, which also contained the Google Play Store, whoopee I thought, at least now I had all the on-line programs available. Initially I needed to get the new system on-line for my one-to-one Cecchetti session with my teacher on Facebook Messenger. I had tried this out previously with my partner Adrian using his table, all seamed to be well although we only had 3 cameras in the system at that time, the one in the laptop and 2 Logitek HD webcams via a USB hub. We found we could swap between the webcams and all appeared to be well. When I came to do my first Cecchetti class with the new system, I missed my teachers first call, so I tried calling back, the camera wouldn’t connect and it said I had to enable the mic. I couldn’t find what was wrong, then my teacher called again and I connected, but this time with the wrong camera and I couldn’t change it. I ask her to wait and we would run the session on the laptops internal camera, she called me back and we carried on the rest of the session including her body conditioning class that followed. That was sole destroying as I thought we had tested Messenger out, I said to Adrian we get the whole system together, I needed his help to go through combination of Instigating calls, reconnecting and joining for every combination of app and camera switching too. However I needed to get the tracking camera with an HDMI output working with the system first. I left messages with HP the manufacturers of the laptop as how I was to use the Thunderbolt 3 port as an HDMI input, but no response from them. Techical support was not available from Curries/PC world either. I spent quite a lot of time investigating this port, but I couldn’t find an example of it being used other than as an HDMI output. So it was down to plan B, converting HDMI to USB, there are a number of gaming capture cards, but the downside of many is the delay introduced. One of the most popular is an Elgado but it is around £120 (ouch), I checked these on Amazon and various other sites, they were all out of stock until I found another which wasn’t quite so expensive but the review were good, and it was in stock at Amazon. When it arrived, at least “it did what it said on the tin”, it worked fist time and so did the three cameras attached to it via an HDMI switch Whoopee, that then gave me access to 6 camera in my system. With a full system I began testing with Adrian, I constantly kept getting the message that the Microphone wasn’t enabled, although one of the laptop system tests showed it was. When I drilled down into the help, it suggested there may be a permissions issue with auxiliary interfaces. In sheer frustration I un-plugged all USB input except for the mouse, so only its internal camera was available, the system worked. I added in the HDMI/USB tie up with the words, interface with the tracking camera and rebooted, again it worked, I then removed the mouse and attached each of the two Logitek webcams to the remaining two USB ports, again the system worked. It seam there is an issue with using a USB hub with the two Logiteck webcams. All though everything that uses the Windows 10 operating system directly, appears to work, there is a quirk. They all start up with same camera and sound source, which is not the one required, however once connected both camera and sound sources can be set and will remain until that chat session is closed. If one reconnects without closing, the settings are preserved, if one closes the session in messenger, but does not close messenger itself, the setting are lost, but it is usable. There is a dialog message to say some setting will be lost as you close that chat session. I have face book, messenger and Instagram Android apps available to run under the Blue-Stacks emulator. Firstly whilst I am able to use video on messenger and facebook, I cannot change the cameras, Instagram, if I use Instagram direct messenger, whilst it works on the mic, the camera symbol has a line through it when I start a conversation, again I the properties for that app suggest it has permission for both the camera and mic. However I am able to see the on-line streaming classes of teachers like Sander Blommaert, infact I did his class last Tuesday before all the issues were resolved, the only issue I had, the sound and video were not synced together, so the movements he was performing didn’t tie up with the words, at first I thought he was anticipating the next movement, but then I see his lips and words were not together, it was the first time I had noticed that, I checked this again later that night with a Q and A session from Canada, they were in sync, I left the laptop running on that session and checked it 20minutes later, they were still in sync, so the streaming appears to be working normally. This next week I really want to get back to Ballet and Body conditioning, I think my first priority is to include Cecchetti Advanced 2 centre work, initially I will cherry pic the enchainements from the syllabus, and thoroughly check out my tracking camera in following my movements as there are a few issues with it. Firstly the dancer has to wear what looks like a large wrist watch sensor, with what looks like a mans large black leather wrist strap, its really ugly and definitely not very balletic, I tried popping it in my bra, but at extreme angles of it range (+/-90), the camera turned its back on me, if I held the sensor in my hand it was fine. Another quirk it doesn’t like me to get closer that 1m to the camera. As I intend to chose the centre work, I will be providing the music too, I’m hoping the combined results and music and voice through my mixing desk is somewhat clearer that my teachers laptop speaker into he microphone. I’m hoping by the end of next week I have established a new schedule to sample other classes from around the world. I still have the lighting software to finish, and with a few minor changes, I will be able to select one of three cameras, well that’s the theory. This will consist of a simple text file once triggered to start will select up to 4 different coloured flood light, and one of three cameras, either together or independently, set by time intervals in the file. For me its just adds another dimension of creativity added to my rep.
  12. This is the beginning of week three of the Corona virus lockdown and I guess to some extent a new era in ballet classes. I guess my comments relates to 2 currently running threads, “Online classes live streamed for dancers” and “Home studio”. For the past two weeks I’ve been participating in both Ballet and Body Conditioning classes with my Cecchetti teacher. The ballet class is unset one-to-one rather than our normal Advanced 2 Syllabus and the Body conditioning is roughly based on PBT which is a small group class. These classes have been carried out using Facebook messenger, my first observation is the audio quality especially the music is quite poor due to room echo, I have also seen this on a number of other on-line classes too. Although in most cases the quality of the video is quite good, due to the size of the room and proximity of the phone/ tablet/laptop camera often you can only see half of the teacher, I know my own teacher often has to move her device to show the feet clearly. I know in some instances in our body conditioning class when we are doing floor work some of our students have forgotten to move there camera devices and they have been totally unseen. For me this is not a problem with a relatively large studio, certainly with barre work, for most centre work although there is sufficient room, its always a compromise with the cameras viewing angle, at least with mine its able to track me across the studio, but obviously if I’m close to the camera then the observer will not see my feet. When I designed the studio on-line working was never a consideration, just the opposite, the internet was banned from the computers in that room, as progressive upgrades of operating systems tend to slow thing down as well as possible computer virus threats. I have a laptop with Vista on it, that I bought second hand many years ago (7 or 8), as far as I’m aware its never been on the internet, its still going strong for displaying videos and music for my private rep sessions. In a bid to retain the independence of my PC’s to the internet, I tried using some Android Streaming boxes that my partner Adrian had discarded. Whist they do work, they don’t work particularly well. The first system we tried out messenger, zoom, and instagram by working back to back with Adrian’s tablet and phone, messenger and zoom appeared to be ok, instagram would not allow me to use my camera to stream with Adrian, when I tried to receive streaming classes from one of my old teacher’s Sander Blommaert, it would only show it for a few seconds before it fall over. I tried a second Android box, although it didn’t fall over on instagram, the picture filled the width of the screen, which meant that there was a very excessive overshoot on the top and bottom of that picture, I couldn’t find any setting to correct this. Finally I tried Adrian only other Andriod box, a third one and perhaps the most modern, hey presto it appeared to work on instagram successfully, I left it running for a while on Sander’s class and I did a little bit of his barre, however it did break up now and again but it was sort of usable. This was all on the same day as my second week of Cecchetti ballet class, thinking all was well, I had an invitation to contact my old rep teacher who is starting fitness classes on-line using Skype, I called her using Skype, that was a disaster, it did work reliably with that box so we transferred to messenger, that was grossly over-scanned, with only 20 minute to go before I was due to start my Cecchetti class, the boxes had to be switched back quickly. Although I managed to make the class successfully, later we confirmed Skype does in fact work on that first box. Issues I have, my own audio quality is going to suffer severely from echo and my distance from the internal camera mic. The camera I’m using is a Logitech HD webcam via USB, strapped to the top of a Sony HDR-CX450 which was recommended for the tracking camera system, but it’s not a webcam. Also the Android box has no separate mic input, although we did check if we could drive it via Bluetooth but that wasn’t successful. Although the Sony Camcorder has excellent quality of HD video output, its only available from the cameras HDMI port, also that port is not clean, it contains various captions, but I think they can be removed but that isn’t 100%certain, but I was able to download a very detailed manual for that series of camcorder at the weekend, but it does look promising. On the good side the camera does have provision for an external mic. Due to the limitations of the Android box I’ve decided to go for an HP gaming laptop that has provision with appropriate inputs capable of taking HDMI and with multiple USB3 port too, and of course an HDMI output for driving my large monitor. I’m just waiting for the possibility of an Easter price drop from Currys before placing the order. One thing I found particularly useful during my first week of on-line classes, I had a separate large screen monitor attached to the HDMI output of the Camcorder as well as the Webcam to the Android box, that gave me a much better view of the scene I was putting out. I have now decided to incorporate that into my on-line system via an HDMI splitter prior to the gaming laptop, that will be fed intern from a 3 port HDMI switch from two other cameras, one of those covering the whole of the studio floor. As for the sound system, I’ve added 7 channel mini mixer console to allow mixing of voice from a wireless mic to the pure audio from my music system, thus removing the vast majority of studio echo, as the mic is positioned very close to the mouth. As the mic transmitter is light weight and tiny, it can be concealed in a similar way to my tracking camera beacon, in my bra. Although I can’t improve my teachers on-line audio, I may well suggest I play the music for her through my system as there is a good chance I will have that music. This past two weeks as seamed a bit like a technology break from Ballet, however at least my one-to-one Cecchetti unset ballet and conditioning classes has carried on, as my ballet with Adrian, although we have scaled down his PDD practice until its clear if we are still able to do Scotland this year, for me my singing is getting betting in singing his steps against the music at the barre, he’s really beginning to enjoy some of the basic PBT as its strength building is starting to pay off little by little. Last week I did restart my pointework on alternate days as I really don’t want that to slip. Although I’ve still quite a lot to do to finish my on-line system, I do at least want to get an on-line schedule sorted apart from my Cecchetti teacher, Sander Blommaert’s daily class is likely to feature in that quite strongly, I also need to have a good look at Tamara Rojo’s ENB classes as I did download the first week of her classes, one is just spoilt for choice.
  13. I have just picked this up from Sander Blommaert Ex Royal Ballet Soloist and now Vocational Teacher at Elmhurst who is stating daily on-line ballet classes on Intagram from Monday 23rd of March. Sander is a brilliant teacher, I used to belong to his BBT performing group until he moved to Elmhurst. This is what he had to say on Instagram: I can also announce that I will be going live on my instagram every morning at 11 AM UK time starting next Monday with me teaching Ballet Classes that you can follow at home. I will also be giving you some exercises that you can do at home and I will give you pointers on things to work on during the exercises so that you can continue to develop your ballet technique in this current situation. * It is absolutely free! I am doing this because I know a lot of dancers won’t be able to join ballet classes for a while and as a vocational ballet teacher, I want to help all of you! I want to give back to the art form that has given me so much my whole life! Stay safe, and see you daily at the barre at 11 AM from next Monday! * @sanderblommaert
  14. Pointe shoes Following on from my previous post, I managed to partially break in the larger width shoe for my right foot with the usual combination of bending and using my right foot with gel pads but was still quite uncomfortable, it least it was broken in, in the right places before mixing the Perfect Fit pointe moulding compound. As there didn’t seam quite enough compound supplied for my original Bloch Serenades, I thought I would use 1.5 times for the larger width shoe as I had enough spare for two shoes and making sure my sensitive little toe was generously covered. I checked things just before the moulding material had fully gone off, it was thin on the big toe and gappy on the toe next to it, so needless to say I used the remainder to cover those. Whilst the fit is fine the results are a bit indeterminate as I can still sense the discomfort in the right little toe which seams to increase with usage like chafing although it’s now well protected. Although on the surface it seams much better only time will, so I’m being very cautious in the way I proceed, for the time being Im doing about an hours warm-up with a combination of resistance band exercise on one foot with a foot stretcher on the other for a period of 15 minutes on each, each foot always starts with the resistance band first. After that is about 10 to 15 mins rising en pointe at the barre, parallel is no problem , but first is where I still experience the presence of discomfort. When I first start its virtually absent, and increases with repetition. With limiting the time to between 10 and 15 mins means its most probably manageable and will allow me to pick things up and carry on the next day. The plan was to do a session on Mondays and Tuesdays, recover on Wednesdays as I had two evening classes, then do a session on Thurs and Friday, at least I would carry on strengthening and possibly toughen that right little toe, the other foot is absolutely fine. Cecchetti Two really nice classes this week and both one-to-one as our other dancer was on holiday. Some of the centre work now is becoming extremely fast and challenging but good fun. I’ve even met the pirouettes from a full plie as our friend Kate_N described in one of her posts on this thread, however I have never met one of these in a solo before. In our enchainement the requirement is to do just over a double turn from 5th with gesturing leg in front from facing down-stage left corner and ending facing the audience, however we have only been doing a single which of course is no problem, however we are not allowed to put the gesturing leg down, it must remain in front and as we stop to face the audience it must unfold via a developpe to extend out in front to do a rond de jambe en l’air, that the tricky bit as the movement is continuous, but love it. We have started to look at quite a fast piece called The Diamond Step, I can find any ballet dictionary reference to why its called that, I wonder if any of my learned friends on this forum can shed some light on that. After chatting with the ISTD shop it appears only the Advance 2 Exam Specification document is available, although they have changed it title to “Advanced 2 Technical Specifications Vocational Graded Examination in Dance Revised 2019, although I've only skimmed through it, the exercises look exactly the same as the old 2003 document although they were supposed to be releasing a new music CD in January which is still not available. Although my Cecchetti teacher had intended to carry on with our Body Conditioning and my two ballet classes this next week, I think now its quite unlikely as I’ve seen an email to mums of the children’s classes she teaches and they have stopped this week end. All my other classes have also ceased as have my .immediate workshops, at least I have my studio to continue my rep and body conditioning in. For the moment my two physio’s are still running . On-Line Ballet Classes As yet I haven’t experienced them as I keep the internet well away from computer with in the studio, both from the threat of viruses and of unwanted upgrades slowing the system down. However I really am curious as to the merit of these strategies, so its relatively easy for me to link in sound and video from a different computer with internet access for conferencing to do this, must give it a try.
  15. Hi Warby22 Just to chip in with my bit: Sprung Floors My flooring is made up of Harlequin Vitality panels which was the forerunner of their now Heliquin Flexity Plus. Harlequin Flexity Plus is a modular sprung floor panel system. Panels are manufactured from reinforced engineered boards with single density elastomer blocks on the underside to give uniform and consistent shock damping. Panels are laid in a brickwork pattern onto the sub-floor, so that cross-joins do not coincide. Harlequin Flexity Plus sprung floor panels can be installed permanently and have been designed so that installation can be carried out by the customers themselves, which we did. Floor panel size - 2.25m x 1.125m Minimum floor thickness (before inclusion of chosen surface finish) - 37mm Minimum floor weight (before inclusion of chosen surface finish) - 11.85kg/m² Harlequin Flexity Plus is finished by choosing an appropriate Vinyl floor covering which Harlequin also supply, ours was their “Cascade” in black. Its also worth pointing out, its possible so save money by buying it as off-cuts, if the lengths work out for you, we did. This is what Harlequin say : Harlequin Cascade is the ultimate heavy-duty vinyl dance floor, with mineral fibre reinforcement for stability and durability. It is widely used as a ballet floor, but is also a popular choice for many other dance styles. Mirrors: Have you decide where you want your mirror(s), the reason I ask, I have 2 walls mirrored, also with the current pandemic various dancers are continuing there classes, especially barre work through on line classes, so may well need to have the provision of a large screen display. I certainly have. This would normally take up some space that you may have allocated for mirrors. For myself the longest wall, the centre area is occupied with a large screen display and a laptop for the music/ video. The rest of that wall has a number of mirror doors from the builders merchant Wickes which fit simple on runners, I have a small gap behind which give a little storage space for small items and cables etc. One of the side walls had a full length mirror in toughened glass that fitted directly to the wall but extremely expensive. Just a thought, have you considered heating and lighting yet? PS: I've also added a mirror above and below the table holding the screen display, the one at the bottom for feet particularly on pointe, and the one at the top just to fill the area, although there is a camera under the table which can be switched through to the screen as a cap filler. Hope that helps xx
  16. Hi Peony Thanks for the reply, I must say you comment about possible reasoning why comments on certain ballet schools have become prohibited, that does make sense, thanks for that As regards the pointe shoe issue, I ordered the next size wider version yesterday, it was here in the post today. I could have had them fitted next Monday when I’m back in Sleaford, but I don’t think they are likely to find anything, also the shoes need to be partly broken in . I need to get the ribbons fitted on one these for my right foot in the next couple of days and then partially broken in and take it from there. There is a remote possibility that the little toe is broken on that foot from something that happened years ago. The studio is constantly evolving, the last addition is computer controlled studio lighting, the lighting itself is in place as is the laptop computer to control it, however I haven’t quite finished the software interfaces which will trigger from a cue in the music and change the lighting against various time intervals set in a script file. A separate script file is required for each piece of music. I guess I take the sprung floor for granted now, but the one thing I love the most is its air conditioning, it gorgeous giving it full availability whatever the weather. For the first year after we built it, it was far too hot in the summer, and freezing cold in the winter, now within half an hour its stabilised at 25degrees C On the down side the studio is starting to accumulate quite a lot of fitness equipment, which I guess I’m going to have to get some form of secure storage shed, that’s close to the studio out side door..
  17. Dear The_Red_Shoes Thank you for your help with the definition of Pedagogy/Pedagogue. The definitions I quoted for Pedagogue came from (a) CollinsDictionary.com and (b) Dictoinary.Cambridge.Org. I see in my copy of the The Collins Oxford Dictionary Pedagogy is described as the “Science of Teaching”, so I guess we are all on the same page. However I did come across a very informative extract from an article of the Royal Ballet school which contrasts Content vs Pedagogy “There is more to a dance education than passing exams. Over the years, there have been an increasing number of teacher training courses available for private dance teachers focusing on content knowledge (the steps of classical ballet) rather than pedagogical knowledge (the science of teaching). Content knowledge courses, offered by many dance societies, often focus on assessment content and training exercises for a particular graded exam. The concern with such courses is the implication of a hierarchy of ‘what to teach’, over ‘how to teach’. Teachers can falsely presume that the syllabus content is a training programme. A narrow focus on syllabus settings will not develop diverse and skilled dancers. The exercises, steps and variations within a syllabus are the tools for an assessment-not the recipe for a dance training.” General 1 For me that make an awful lot of sense, from what has been said in previous post both relating to Repertoire workshops and the Silver Swans students, the focus is on the students picking up and remembering the dance steps etc when its demonstrated to them by the teacher, if they fail to or have difficulty, its perceived that its down to the student being unsuitable who is has failed. When I put my teaching/coaching hat on, when this happens, I see that as a failure in the methods I’ve used to deliver that task, the error has been mine. In my own Instructional Techniques training, the “demonstrate and copy” method was probably the most basic technique used, in fact we had a slang term to describe it “Sitting next to Nelly” to copy her in some basic task. For me one of the basic elements that’s grossly underused is study, hence my preference for video examples, it allows those that want to, to pre-study the work in advance and be properly prepared. In my case with the Swans their whole piece was fully documented with illustration of all significant pose’s prior to the work starting. Even then the following weeks work would be demonstrated so as it would not be unknown to them as additional reassurance. My take on this is simple, it needs to be enjoyable and efficient learning. Having said that, it’s no good telling me that some ballet teachers cover Pedagogy (Science of teaching) as part of their teacher training, if they don’t apply it. General 2 I still have no rep coach, which I’m starting to see the effect of; everything seems to be taking so much longer. My Adrian said some time ago that this would be his last year dancing PDD’s with me, fortunately I’ve persuaded him to do another two. A couple of weeks ago he found one of my Swiss balls in the studio and ask what it was for, so I gave him a couple of very basic exercises where he found balance quite difficult. Since then I have started doing an hour session each week for us both on basic PBT to get him started, especially as I want to see the range of his arm since his last injury, for that I’ve adapted part of the Cecchetti Advanced 2 Port de Bras for sitting on the ball. I’ve also bought both the Senior and Advanced PBT programs as a resource that I can cherry pick from. At least the range of his arms are looking promising for our La Bayadere PDD. I’m just hoping I’m ready to go en pointe for that one with a bit of a set back with a developing sore little toe on the right foot. Although I’m still on the barre, I’m doing about an hours warm-up and about 10 to 15 mins en pointe at the barre mainly for strengthening and straitening, that is coming along ok. I’m trying to do a session in the studio every day with no more than a days break between them. I’m using an American product called PerfectFit pointe shoe inserts, which is a self moulding system, it certainly does what is says on the tin although I have found I would have liked a little more of the two part moulding material for my Bloch Serenade pointe shoes. They certainly felt comfortable on both feet when I first moulded them, however when looking at the end process after the material had cured, the area between the little toe and the side of the box, the moulding material looks quite thin, however for the first few days my feet were fine . Now the left is absolutely fine, the right become sore the more I use it and it’s also difficult to determine just where it’s sore. I can stand full weight on the right foot without too much of a problem, it appears to aggravate it on slow rises at the demi level where the ball of the foot is flat, ¾ and full pointe no real problem. I’ve tried various silicon tubes over my little toe and the one next to it, but as the agitation has already been created its difficult to see any real improvement. I had a chat to one of the pointe shoe fitters at Starlite Direct on Friday, she has suggested my right foot may be wider than my left, I may well go down the option of using two width fittings as I can still get two pairs of shoes out of that combination. Moderators 1 I see the name of this thread has been changed with the addition of “the progress of one adult dancer who took up ballet later in life” even those I did specify on the first paragraph of the very first post that “I’m setting up this thread up for everyone concerned with adult ballet, all are welcome, dancers, teachers, physio’s everyone. I claim no ownership to it what so ever, however I will continue to report about my journey on it, I hope others will too.” Furthermore there was no notification of this. Firstly it was never intended to be just me as stated although I’m aware that I am the major contributor. Secondly I really hate the term “Later in Life”, as if I need to take it easy and just take gentle exercise, thank goodness my Cecchetti Advanced 2 teacher doesn’t see me that way, I just love the way she pushes me for even higher extensions etc, I guess Lisa Howell will help me with that one with one of her courses. It reminds me some years ago when I fell over doing a pirouette at ENB and the teacher said “Do be careful dear” Grrrrr, I hate those sort of expressions. I know the teacher also stopped me doing double turn pirouettes which I was really comfortable with, I allowed singles to become the norm, sadly it took me along time to regain doubles and it wasn’t until I changed teachers at ENB. I will never be held back like that again. In any case if I needed to take it easy, I would hardly have spent close on £50,000 developing my own ballet studio, for me its about making the overall learning process more efficient, it always there and available and better equipped that most. Moderators 2 I’m sorry but I cannot let this one pass without comment. I note that my previous post had been edited to remove the name of a ballet school I attend for a one-to-one intensive each year, I find it difficult to understand why? I understand the legal logic behind the thread that had been locked which featured that school, but I really don’t understand logic behind deigning its very existence as this raises no legal or controversial issues in my case what so ever, do explain.
  18. Sorry for the big long post, but I feel it’s necessary to clarify many misconception contained in some of the comments. Firstly I must apologise if some of my comment appear disrespectful, that was not the intention. However I did become disillusioned with RAD as it felt to me with the way they used to operate by giving advanced info of the rep being taught and then some time later taking that away. Furthermore there was another change I experience with RAD which was deeply disappointing. Some years ago I joined RAD Adult Associates at Elmhurst, at first things were brilliant, although I only booked for body conditioning and Improvers 2 (Equivalent to Grades 6 to 8), I was offered absolute beginners free, if I booked for Improvers 1 (Grades 3 to 5), as I had time on my hands between classes it made perfect sense. The lady in charge of that region made the comment, this would help them with the beginners if they had more experienced dancer to follow, which was fine by me, about 6 of us joined the beginners. During class changeover breaks and lunch time, the Adult Associates used to share the common room with the teachers; it seamed a really nice close knit group. When I first started, I asked if I could use one of the studios during the lunch break to run through some of my own rep, they were extremely supportive, I even used the studio theatre one time when it wasn’t being used. The same lady was very supportive in getting me permission to join some of the CPD workshops, but sadly I never took that option up. This very conducive relationship that lasted for around 18 month to 2 years, then thing changed. Firstly I was asked to pay for the beginners class, which was no big issue in itself, as I was at Elmhurst all day, the 6 of us that helped the beginners dropped initially to two of us, then finally I was the only one from the higher classes. We were also stopped from using the common room for our breaks and told to use the studios for our lunch break, for me that was down right wrong to bring food and drink into a studio, especially wrong as RAD was guests at BRB’s training school, in any case I do not allow or do that with my own studio. The best I could do there was to go behind a screened area in our studio, where chairs and other bits were stored. For me the 100mile plus car journey to Elmhurst was spoilt, although I did continue to go for a further year to 18 months. Then there was another substantial change took place, both improver 1 and improver 2 classes were combined. The Adult Associates was effectively for mornings only with Body Conditioning, then a choice of either Absolute Beginners or Improvers, the afternoon was for a Rep Workshops. Although I had paid for the next term and enquired about the rep that was being taught, this was never fourth coming, before my first session of that term commenced I sustained a serious injury so that relationship with RAD ended on a very disappointing note. I think from various peoples comments I need to clear up several misconceptions; There seams to be some suggestion to my motives of asking about the rep to be taught and suggesting it contains a video clip of that rep, as it implies I need to go down a level to something that’s more appropriate to me. Firstly I ask about the rep as I am very discerning as to what I particularly want to develop, it must be of interest, in any case I’m usually working on a number of pieces at any one time, mostly towards my work with Gillian Barton, but other stuff to. For example over and above what I am working on for Gillian Barton, Ive booked : Swan Lake Day Retreat: RB Black Swan solo, and the mime scene Giselle Dublin Mini Retreat: RB Giselle solo Act 1 and Entrance of the willies Act 2 I see there is a London Ballet Masterclass on Le Corsaire (Grand Pas de Six), although it’s quite a pretty piece, I can’t use it at the moment, so consequently Im giving it a miss. The video clip as far as I’m concerned is an effective learning aid, it’s used extensively for other forms of dance, it’s always been used for rehearsals in all the amateur ballet companies I’ve belong to. The comments that reflect teachers adapt the level to fit the standard of attendees, that makes it totally unsuitable for me, not that I need to go down, but the opposite. This is why when I showcase rep on our last day with Gillian Barton, the rep as far as I am able is a combination of compatible phrases from different companies representing the best of the best, that why I have been using a private rep coach for the past 6 years, sadly I lost her at the end of November. If I were hesitant in any way in learning rep, I would hardly have the confidence to dance a different solo every other week in front of the teachers and lovely ladies of the Silver Swans, however I does allow me to be critical of the shortcoming of some of the professional companies too, non of us are perfect. Also I have been fortunate to have teachers like Sander Blommhaert ex Royal Ballet as our artistic director, teaching us rep that is seldom watered down with adaptation and in some instances enhanced which really works for me. I see in one of the comments, pointe work was mentioned, I have to concede this one. This is not an important one for me for solo’s, however from a conversation I had 2 weeks ago in Edinburgh with Gillian Barton, I’m planning on dancing a Pas de Deux this year with Adrian my partner en pointe, providing I’m sufficiently ready, but I still have a long way to go for that one as yet, but its just a matter of time. I raised the issue of short term memory loss as it was something that was spoken about very frequently in the changing room after the Silver Swans class, hence the reason I documented the teachers Swan Lake enchainment on my first week for the Swans, it was only them to help them. One term used in a couple of post that I’m not familiar with “pedagogue” so I looked it up: a) If you describe someone as a pedagogue, you mean that they like to teach people things in a firm way as if they know more than anyone else. b) A teacher who gives too much attention to formal rules and is not interesting. I cant help but liken this description to the old fashioned headmaster who would gives you a clip round the ear, or banishes you to the corner of the room with a dunces hat on, in sheer humiliation for minor issues like spelling something wrong or not singing in assembly but just moving your lips. That really doesn’t work for me. I have had a few good teacher, and some really poor ones too. The thing I’m always looking for in a good teacher is one with boundless enthusiasm and willingness to really want to help, the little things often make a big difference. I guess my most notable teacher were Tom Linecar-Boulton founder of LAB and my teacher at ENB, Sander Blommaert of my BBT performing group and Rejane Garcia founder of our Alive Ballet Company and teacher at City academy. For one-to-one rep the relationship is somewhat different, it becomes more of a close partnership, for me that was Emma my former twice a week rep coach and prep for pointe, the other is Gillian Barton for her endless support, invaluable feedback and encouragement over the years for my self and Adrian my partner. I also have a developing relationship with my Cecchetti Advanced 2 teacher now we have started an additional one-to-one sessions on unset work. My philosophy is simple; we are on this earth to help each other, whether we are formally qualified to do so or not, just listen to your own judgement.
  19. I know I have been a bit late coming back on the reply’s, various things have happed, but I guess the most significant for me is my new rep coach never came through after 6 weeks, which has left me swimming through treacle to make progress against my previous coach and priority has been with that and my Cecchetti classes. At least I have the half term break to give me a little breathing space although we have the recent storm damage to catch up on. From the tone of Anna C response, it feels like it has been perceived that I am stealing something away from this RAD school and its teachers. Nothing could be further from the truth, I have been associated with that school and the Mother and daughter teachers that run that school. I first met the a few years ago when I hired their studio for a couple of hours a week, as a thank you, I would add my support by attending there adult ballet class each week. I had incurred an injury while Adrian and I were building the foundations of my new studio, which brought my ballet to a very abrupt end for a while, in the case of this school, about 2 years. By this time I had my own studio, however the Alive Ballet Company that I performed with in London had finished, which freed of Tuesday’s our rehearsal day. I enquired about the old Adult classes, they had finished as they alternate Adult Ballet with one of the RAD graded classes during exam years, the other year which is their performance year two grades are combined, as the school only has a single studio. The only thing they could offer me was “The Silver Swans” on Tuesday morning, my first thought was, “this really isn’t me”. But I guess curiosity got the better of me. It turn out that they were a really lovely bunch of ladies, and I guess I was a bit of a misfit as I was still attending rehearsals for performance, and of course was the only one attending class in regular ballet attire. During my first class, they were learning a little rep to the opening music of Swan Lake choreographed by the teacher, several were struggling remembering the sequence, a couple mentioned this again in the changing room before leaving, so I asked if they would like me to write it down for them, this was only done to help and not steal anyone’s thunder. In any case I regard both teachers as very good friends of mine. Before I left I ask our teacher if it would be ok to bring my Odette and Black Swan tutu’s in complete with headdresses to show the ladies before class as I thought it would be of general interest, she was all for it, which I duly did the following week. A few weeks later, there were questions coming up regarding the meaning of different ballet terms, it was clear that many of the ladies were unfamiliar with them. I couldn’t let the situation pass without offering to help so I offered to bring in a copy of a Glossary of Ballet Terms and of course it was well received by the teacher and our ladies. A few weeks beyond that, again in the changing I was ask by a couple of the ladies if I would dance one of my performance pieces for them. Needless to say I took this request to the teacher and said if she agreed for me to do it, I would do it in the 15minute break between classes, I would be happy to dance it and in full costume. She thought it was a brilliant idea and said some to the effect, it would allow the ladies to see where the steps and exercises in there ballet class ultimately leads. I initially agreed to perform one piece a month for them, but that soon wasn’t enough for them and I was performing a different solo in costume for them every other week. Just one point of clarification “Dancing a solo for your classmates”, our teacher was always there, sometimes her daughter too. Lets make no mistake about it, these ladies became inspired by the solo’s I’ve been dancing for them for many months, I guess one of the early indicator, I was the only dancer during class in traditional class wear, first we had one change and then a few more followed. The lady that first came in traditional ballet wear ask if she could join me with something simple, after thinking about the pieces I had planned to show them, I allowed her to play the part of the Queen in the Variation of the Crystal Fairy, she simply sat through my solo and we exchanged mime gestures, she loved it. I wonder what Anne C would make of that so far, would she disallow it? Following that others asked if they could do something too. Finding something for one is not too taxing, but finding something for a small group is a whole new ball game and does require a good deal of planning. That is basically where it all started. It was always my intention of doing all that I did to fully support that school and its teachers and presenting our shared performance piece of our volunteers, as not everyone wanted to perform in a video showcase to the Silver Swans patron. Anna C your first paragraph on the face of sounds quite impressive, you mentioned the teachers have passed RAD intermediate, to be fair I’m not sure what that standard consists of or its relevance to a level appropriate to the Silver Swans. At the end of the day the teachers objective must be to impart their knowledge and dance skills efficiently in an enjoyable way, and not try to impress the students with how well qualified and clever the teachers are. My observation of RAD has been from many rep workshops I’ve attended around the country and including Edinburgh too. Originally we were given info of the dance we were to learn prior to attending the workshop, although sometimes this was changed. Later the only info was only the name of the ballet. For me I don’t know if it would be a piece I would normally chose to dance, I really don’t know what I’m paying for, also I’ve had no time to prepare for it, I also suspicious as to if the teacher has properly prepared for the class. That really doesn’t look like a professional delivery too me. If I can just contrast that to my most recent rep workshop at BBT with Sarah Lamb of the Royal Ballet, we were at least issued with the fact we would be learning Juliet’s Solo and a video clip of the rep. This was a two day event with the usual barre and centre for the morning and learning the rep in the afternoon. The last day finished where we had to perform this piece in front of Sarah in groups of no more than 3, the dancers standard in that workshop were high, certainly a few pre-professionals from Elmhurst, and a few from my performing group at BBT too. At least with being able to prepare, it gave me the confidence to go first and go on my own in front of Sarah and above all to really enjoy it. I will now contrast my teaching / coaching methods, firstly before the half term break at the end of class my teacher made the announcement that I had something to say to the ladies, I described what was proposed on a voluntary and the piece we would be dancing, The first week back the dancer had the documentation covering the rep including pictures of all significant poses, furthermore I would dance the next week piece to let them see what they would be doing, rather than worry about the unknown, I have never seen these types of training technique used by RAD to under pin the confidence of its dancers, which is especially important with growing short term memory loss of its Silver Swans dancers. As for Anna C statement “any licensed RAD classes know that the quality of teaching will be of a good standard”, specifically in the case of adult repertoire workshop I completely disagree, that culture simply isn’t there, the focus is on the teacher and how what the teacher wants to teach, rather than delivering a properly specified piece of rep. In the days when there were a little advance info on what RAD was to teach I distinctly remember signing up for Swan Lakes Big Swan dance only to find on the day we did Waltz of the Swans, a similar thing happened with one of Cinderella’s solos was substituted for something else and what I had prepared for was wasted. These days I positively discriminate against attended RAD rep workshops, as there are other ballet organisations that do deliver properly defined rep. As for RAD general classes I don’t have too much a problem with them as I have spent many happy hours as a RAD Adult Associate at Elmhurst. You also made the point that one needs a Level 4 ballet teaching qualification, even though on my previous posting I highlighted “I have no wish to be a BALLET TEACHER”, however that doesn’t mean I don’t have the skills to teach. Firstly I originally qualified as an instructor, then Chief instructor able to qualify Instructors for the appropriate industrial training board, then qualified as an Industrial Training Officer, again able to qualify other to the levels mentioned previously, then all the way up to Master Degree, so training has always been a large part of my career. The main part of my career was as head of a design department for a ground to air communications manufacturer, it was very much a safety critical industry. Everything we did had to be documented in precise detail, verified and approved and placed under strict configuration control, as a result I was also several review boards too. Hence my interest in the need to document rep in precise detail and use that as training aid for others. I note your craft skill level of as “RAD Intermediate or equivalent”, not sure how that fits in with the Silver Swans, so perhaps you can enlighten me how it fits into your grading structure. The only experience I have of RAD was from the adult associates which was from absolute beginners through to Grade 8. You make the point “anyone can refer to themselves as a “coach” yet take no responsibility for injury or accident during a “coaching” session”. I can’t help but feel that the real point you are trying to make is, I haven’t got a clue as to what I’m doing and the ladies are in immanent danger of injury from me. Firstly I use the word coach in the context that I am not teaching basic ballet steps, but a connected sequence of ballet movements that they already know. If I were to use te word teach you could also make the same argument. I guess I use the word coaching to reflect the majority of my own repertoire training which is carried out on a private one-to-one basis. The Ballet teacher does not tech me the rep, firstly the overhead on that for her to learn it prior to our session would be prohibitive expensive, secondly the rep itself is mostly a hybrid which I have created from a number of different versions. Practically at the beginning we swap rolls until she is familiar with what I am trying to perform, then she takes over by tidying up my technique, musicality and audience engagement. Similarly, it receive another level of polishing at Ballet West for its final showcasing there . Second part “yet take no responsibility for injury or accident” I really don’t know how you can make that assumption, in any case whatever provision was in place before their break why would one assume it would not continue to be in place, unless it was directly attributable to my gross negligence. Do you not think these teachers would have said no in the first place when I ask for there permission to run such an even, rather than let it run for a full half term and be very supportive too. In any case we all know accidents do happy even with the best practices in place and of course we always support each other in summoning the appropriate medical help, I would certainly never walk away from an injured dancer whether it was my responsibility or not and say not my problem. Just as an aside I do always carry Biofreeze and Ice-eeze instant cooling packs, mainly for myself but they are always available for anyone else that needs them. Some time ago I ran a ballet rep group of 7 dancers at a dance studio in Sleaford, for that I had a document in place that contained amongst other things a disclaimer which each of the dancers would have to sign signed to be part of that group, that did not mean if they hurt themselves I would walk away and take no responsibility, Adrian my partner was a trained first aider but that was all. The document also contained the Dancer’s Emergency Contact Details, A Medical Questionnaire including GP’s contact details. The only stipulation I had from that school was, I wouldn’t compete with them. Disclaimer are not uncommon in Amateur Performing Companies or Organisations running Rep Workshops, it doesn’t follow that where they are used, its dancers are at an elevated risk. Similarly having a Trained Ballet Teacher with Public Liability Insurance doesn’t necessarily guarantee safe practice. I wonder what provision were in place where a 6-year-old Chinese girl was left paralysed after dance teacher forced her into splits? There is one thing that is really puzzling me “It’s one thing dancing a solo for your classmates during the break”, it’s a bit more than class mates it’s the teachers too. I’m sure if I can dance a solo on my own in front of Sarah Lamb of the Royal Ballet, then I wont be too shy to dance solo’s in front of my teachers. The thing that is puzzling me most, if I’m not allowed to dance with the ladies in the break, should I really be allowed to dance on my own through fear of hurting myself, surly that must follow. Oh god what it is to be old, I hope I never get there. I know it may look as if I am constantly knocking RAD, both they are not the only ones I have issues with. As mentioned in previous post of mine, getting information out of the Faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD for the release of the Advance 2 DVD’s has also been problematic. Yes we do have documentation covering the Syllabus but its cross referred between 4 different document which has its own level of ambiguity, I’ve managed to add into the mix Cecchetti Australia Inc’s video’s of that standard which are generally quite close, but never the less has some differences, plus with the help from some of this forum’s members I’ve added in the video’s from the Cecchetti Diploma but of course much more challenging. But alas I have finally go a useful contact inside the faculty that is willing to help with queries. For the loss of coaching/teaching these lovely ladies is no great loss for me, although I had bought a number of Romatic Tutus and material for more to be made, but its like most things, you don’t get anything out unless your prepared to put it in. I am sad for them , they are the real looser's. I have always been heavily engaged its part of my culture, I guess that why when I was with the Alive Ballet Company, I became Head of Costume, Music Editor and Production Manager, I was always there to help.
  20. Hi LinMM The Ballet Exercise with the big ball thingy is called Progressing Ballet Technique, I think there is also a large franchise behind it. I used to attend PBT classes at one time until they were dropped do to lack of numbers. My former rep coach used to add in periodically those types of exercises in her Monday morning body conditioning class but would never call it PBT. Similarly my Wednesday body conditioning class run by my Cecchetti teacher uses the large Swiss balls in the same way. Ok about your comments about my escapades with RAD: The comment : ....I think it was because you were formalising it more: This wasn’t something that just happened or developed, it was planned. At the beginning of the half term before Christmas, I laid the plan out complete with full documentation of the Corps de ballet rep, a sample template of the Certificate of Achievement, at the end of the previous term I had discussed it too. For me this was always intended to be formal and presented as professionally as I could make it. The plan was 3 such sessions over the year, each resulting in a video showcase performance to be presented to their patron Anglia Rippon. The first which we were working on, was inspired by the Coda from Act2 of Swan lake, I would kick it off with Odettes solo (me). Costumes for my Swans, I was providing in he form of romantic tutu skirts and feathered head-dresses, they would provide white T shirts. The Summer piece was to be inspired by Don Q, with he Market place scene, followed by the Entrance of Kitri (me), then my lovely villages would dance an adapted Seguidilla (fan dance), I would close it with Kitri’s solo from Act 3. Costumes for this one is quite easy with colourful gypsy skirts and tops., I have a plentiful supply of fans and roses for their hair. Christmas piece was to be inspired by the Nutcracker, with my lovely ladies dancing an adapted version of Waltze of Flowers, Sugar Plum Fairy solo (me), Grand PDD if I could persuade my Adrian to partner me. All would dance an adapted version of the Finale. As for “If your teacher has let this go for so long now it could be because she saw the break as technically out of her supervision.” I really don’t think that applied and to be fare she was usually in the studio watching with the ladies who were not dancing (our audience), and I certainly remember here passing the comment to me, “they did really well didn’t they” As for “You will just have to go and get the Silver Swans qualification to teach Michelle!” “ No I have no wish to be a BALLET TEACHER”, I see coaching rep as being somewhat different. In any case if I were on a course with RAD being taught how to teach its likely to result in a big of clash of cultures, I’m talking now specifically about teaching rep. I have fallen out many times with RAD, particularly at Elmhurst when the only information they would release, was the name of a ballet for a rep workshop, for me that’s unacceptable, it seams totally unstructured and down to what that particular teacher feels like teaching on the day, the focus is on her, not her dancers who are paying for a service and represents extremely poor value. The thing that sets me apart from RADs style, I have the rep documented before we start coaching any rep, which includes pictures of all significant poses etc, every dancer has a copy, I always give the schools teacher a copy out of courtesy too Dancers will follow my demonstration which would be much the same as any other class. However before I close the session, I dance through the next week’s work so my dancers know what to expect, rather than being freighted of the unknown for the following week. Hi FlexyNexy Just coming back to your original question about what Adult Dancers wear, if I can take my Swans first of all. When I first joined them, it was either dark mostly black leggings or thick tights, but always ballet slippers, again I think at that time they were all black but I may be wrong, it was like being at Saint Trinians. As time as gone on and possibly because I wear traditional ballet class wear, several of the ladies have now wear colourful wrap round skirts and a few leotards too. No one has copied me yet with a tutu, as for about the past year, every other week, I have danced a solo in full costume during their break, but never at class. Basically go in ballet slippers, that’s a must and comfortable clothing and see what everyone else is wearing. Hi Meadowblythe Thank you for the link, sadly I see Saturday the 29thh Feb is affected when I have a Pointe-work workshop. I think my only solution is to drive down to Cockfosters then pickup the Piccadilly line into London Grrrrr, another early morning start
  21. Murphy's law is a popular adage that states "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong". Or so it seams. 1) The day before Christmas ever our economy 7 supply to night storage heaters stopped working, its down to a faulty time switch which is part of the sealed tag electricity meter installation. I reported it to British Gas, our supplier, the day after boxing day, we cant have anyone out to fix it until the 10th Feb, I’ve also raised a complain email with them too. 2) Adrian my partner fell sick with a really nasty cold and hasn’t shaken it off and sadly wasn’t able to accompany me to ENB Le Corsaire performance at the Coliseum yesterday. 3) I ordered a DVD pointe course from Australia and tracked it back to the UK, found when it had arrived at my local Post Office sorting office that duty was due and could be paid on line, I called in that Saturday morning but was told it hadn’t been processed on their system yet, but I could pay the duty on-line. Needless to say I paid it that day on line expecting it to be delivered Monday morning. Monday morning the Postman bought a bill for the duty, I told him I had paid it, showed him the on-line receipt. He said I should be OK for me to collect it. At the sorting office they wouldn’t allow me to have as it had been put out for delivery the next day, however If I hadn’t paid the duty, but brought the card in to pay, and paid the duty to them then, they would have given it to me there and then Grrr. 4) A new year phone call from my Silver Swans teacher and dance school owner advised me someone from RAD had forbidden them to allow me to teach the Silver Swans rep, as I hadn’t been trained by RAD for Silver Swans, also I wouldn’t be covered by their insurance. To be fair that was a real shock, especially as the request to be included in my rep during their class brake came from the Silver Swans themselves. But never the less I have always seeked the permission of the teacher and discussed everything before hand with her and it had always been a really wonderful and supportive relationship . I guess it all started when I allowed one of the ladies to accompany me as the Queen in the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain Variation. The roll was largely passive but contained a lot of mime gestures between us through the choreography; I also took in a royal robe and crown for her costume. I think the thing she loved the most, was at the end of the piece, when I took her hand and we both took our curtseys together, I know she really loved it and it gave me such joy to see her pleasure. Since then I have had several of the ladies express an interest in doing something with me. At the end of the last half term before Christmas I approached the teacher about coaching volunteers from the Silver wan ladies during the break between the Ballet and Tap classes, she was very supportive and at the end of the class that day told all her dancers I had an announcement to make. I announced what I had proposed for volunteers after the half term break, I also indicated my method of coaching, and for those that attend rehearsal to the final video showcase there would be a “Certificate of Achievement” in recognition of voluntary participation etc. This would be signed by me as the “Choreographer and Repertoire Coach”, and not the teacher. As I explained to the ladies their teacher teaches the ballet steps and movements between them, I create the dance and how its to be performed, I know some will think I’m splitting hairs but that my perspective, I’m as careful as I can be without knowingly treading on anyone’s toes . By signing as “Choreographer and Repertoire Coach” I’ve also included on the signature line Member of the International Dance Council – CID and the crest of the International Dance Council, both of which are on the signature line which I am perfectly allowed to do under the membership rules. This last Tuesday I went in to say my “goodbyes”, I felt really awful that I had let the ladies down, however the ladies and their teachers have made me promise to come back periodically and do class with them and perform more of my solo’s for them as I have been doing over the past year or so. I think everyone of the ladies gave me a hug before I left, it was so sad and I felt quite choked. 5) Pointework: Although I have been strengthen for pointe since just after Ballet West in August with the help of my rep coach, I lost her at the end of November, however just before she left I took a foot stretcher in as I was getting frustrated with progress even though I had physio working on my feet and ankles too. What we did find using a foot stretcher with my old broken bloch point shoes, it did allow me to create a reasonable line without a huge amount of pain, afterwards I was starting to see some meaningful improvement. I was hoping by December I would at least be doing some relatively basic exercises on pointe but that wasn’t to be and I extended it to Christmas day. I think it was the day after boxing day that I first put my new Freed pointe shoes on, I had attached the ribbons with the help of my teacher/coach back in August when I was first had them fitted. I remember her advising I should walk around in them first and do basic rises well before attempting to physically break them in by hand. Well that hasn’t been that successful and quite uncomfortable even though I’m using gel pointe shoe pads. So I have invoked plan B, last Monday I bought some of my original Bloch Serenade pointe shoes, I didn’t even bother getting the fitted as I have had them before and my old ones fit like carpet slippers, they are really comfortable other than I have broken the backs on them. I checked before hand I had both tread and ribbons, collected them on Monday only to find the ribbons were too narrow, however I did find some of the original, just about enough to do one shoe. As I was I Sleaford on Friday for a fitness class, I would call in to the ballet store and get the ribbons then, which I did. In the mean time I have followed the pointe shoe preparation guide on the DVD by Lisa Howells and Vicky Attard, as far as I have gone is to locate the arch at the beginning of heal and start to massage the shank there, its much tougher than I expected, Lisa suggests massaging it in increments which is as far as I have got, already it’s a really nice and comfortable fit to stand on pointe, I’m still to do the softening for the semi-pointe break and sew the ribbons on, but that’s all work in progress. I’ve also booked a beginners pointework workshop with Franziska at Holistic Ballet at the end of February. 6) I have finally have a rep coach for the future but unfortunately for her first week she has had to cancel, oh poo I really wanted to get started on La Bayadere for our intensive week with Ballet West in August, I'm doing less there this year as I'm effectively on a war footing for dancing on pointe, as I’m throwing everything in to it, I even suggested at one time my physio use a steak tenderiser to bash my feet to soften them to increase the arch in his foot stretching. However most of rep for Ballet West will not be on pointe, only one PDD if all goes well. 7) Rail Disruption: Yesterday was another on-stage workshop at the Coliseum with English National Ballet learning a piece of rep from my favourite Ballet “Le Corsaire” and then I planned to seen the afternoon performance with Adrian my partner. Sadly Adrian was ill from a nasty cold and was too ill to make it. The day before I checked train times as it’s usually an early start for me. Oh shock the normal 50 minute train journey from Peterborough to Kings Cross was going to take 2 hours including a change at Ely, to do this I was up at 3am, if I hadn’t booked to see the performance I think I would have cancelled the workshop, but I made it and really enjoyed it. 8) When I arrived home Adrian had the presents of mid to check rail disruptions for the following weekend as I planned to be with Enavant Ballet doing a Pirouette Master-class. Things were even worse, the 50 minute trip was going to take around three and a half hours with 4 changes each way most with replacement buses, needless to say I cancelled the Pirouette Master-class. 9) So I think Mr Murphy has really had a hand in all these things going wrong and finally to top it all, I had a ballet mug with two pointe shoes on it and my name, I have had it since around 2013/14 and Adrian bless him broke it last week. Do you really have to be this tough to survive with Mr Murphy around in ballet?
  22. A very enjoyable first class with Jo on Friday, most exercises were barre based, lots of plie’s in first and second position which included pulses with the ankles on a rise, I certainly felt the effect of that in my quads the next day. The session also included a little bit of centre and floor based exercises including a few jumps towards the end. Although most exercises were derived from ballet a few were more traditional fitness stretch exercises too. I would certainly recommend it, and will be going again next week.
  23. Declaration; I have no commercial interest in this venture but I will be attending the class . These sessions start on Friday 10th January between 10am and 11am, those that can do come and support it., its a drop in class for Fridays. To contact GoDance Studios Tel 01529 300930 An innovative fitness workout based on the principles of classical ballet. The class will strengthen and tone all the key muscle groups. Using the latest dance music. All levels welcome. Contact Jo on 07826374922.
  24. Is this the WavePad Sound Editor by NCH, if so I have it, or at least an evaluation version which I have never used, although I think it came as a suit of programs from NCH. I know each time I boot up this laptop up, its asking me if I want to buy it, I guess the full version. I have just checked that it does in fact run, but I don’t know all the features that are excluded, but the full version does allow the import of some video files, the free one doesn’t
  25. I think one crucial point is what is your source of your music, from an orchestral CD, or from a video clip of a ballet. For me the accenting of the music is likely to be quite different. The reason I ask I have tried to load video files into Audacity, admittedly mine is from an old version 2.1.2 and it didn’t appear to load any video files at all. Goldwave on the other hand does load both .WMV and .AVI files which extracts the audio which can then be saved to 15 different audio file types, I tend to use .MP3 mostly but have used both .WMA and .WAV. However I did find video files of .MP4 and FLV did not load with Goldwave. Hope this helps
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