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Michelle_Richer

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  1. Although it seams strange running up to Christmas without my rep coaching sessions, at least some things are coming together. When I arrived at the Silver Swans before their class, it seamed unlikely we would get enough dancers to proceed. At the end of the class I was fully expertly to have to call a halt to teaching our showcase piece, but miraculously we had 6 dancers. It probably sounds a bit crazy that I now have 2 columns of 3 dancers for my Coda Corps de Ballet. This week I danced their steps with them as a member of the corps, but with Odette’s gestures for their cues, they seam to get on much much better. That was my last week with other than the 10th which is their Christmas lunch, which of course I will attend. Cecchetti: I’ve finally got my teacher to agree to do weekly one-to-one with me, which releases me to attend the Swans every week while I’m conducting their rehearsal. Once we have this piece finished, I will return back to attending every other week and dance a solo for them as it has become expected. The next Swans piece I will launch around Easter. As for Cecchetti when I’m not with the Swans I will get both Cecchetti sessions in during that week. I’ve just started on phase 2 upgrade of my home studio to a mini performance recording space. My first acquisition is a PIXIO robot Cameraman, it’s a camera system that track a dancer wearing a tracking device. I haven’t yet selected the actual camera as apart from 4 K UHD and possibly auto zoom, but it must have external audio/mic input, as my audio is processed and comes from a mixing desk for special effect if needed. Backdrop and lighting is next.
  2. It seams that I have come to a bit of a cross roads with ballet, as I now need to change things somewhat. Firstly: I have lost the lady that has been both coaching my rep and also preparing me for pointe. Sadly for the time being she is leaving teaching dance at her school and taking up full time work outside of dance, never the less she is still carrying on looking after the admin there, her two remaining teachers are taking up the slack. God how I will miss her, we have been working together one-to-one twice a week for something like 6 years. However she has offered the possibility of doing the odd infrequent session at my studio, but I have said leave it until you have settled in as it would be a big ask on my part. The rep side for Ballet West, most is already there as we were not able to dance it this year through injury. As for pointe strengthening, it’s a case of carrying on with the same plan until the shoes go on, then I have a pretty good idea who will assist me with that. So I guess I will be looking for a one-to-one coach for only one day a week initially, I have a couple in mind, but the relationship between a teacher and coach is much different, so I hesitate just a bit in using one of my existing teachers. Secondly: Cecchetti isn’t going quite as well as it should, mainly because I miss alternate weeks. Although I see my Cecchetti teacher every week for body conditioning and try and quiz her on the session I’ve missed, sadly I was given the wrong info about the last session. Instead I was well prepped up on what I was expecting as it made sense against the flow we had through the Syllabus, other than the number of reps were a little different in the Australian video version. Grrrr on the next session I attended, it turned out that they had be doing something different. I know it would make more logical sense for me to attend that class every week, but to a degree my heart sometimes does tend to rule my head, even so I have asked my Cecchetti teacher if I can do a one-to-one with her every week. It just didn’t get the enthusiastic response I was expecting, but she didn’t say no. Thirdly: My conflict is the alternate weeks with the Silver Swans, although I learn absolutely nothing from the class, I have enjoyed immensely performing solo’s for them during their break between ballet and tap classes every week I go. I think my last piece for them was the Odalisques third solo. Just before the last half term break I canvassed opinion as who would like to join me in dance, as one of the ladies played the queen in the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain variation for me with various mime gestures passing between us during the dance, she loved it I was overwhelmed by the response, however it was short lived; when I went back to that class I had only 2 volunteers for my Corps de Ballet in a simplified version of the Coda of Act 2 Swan Lake. As I had everything prepared I decided to kick it off with my two dancers in the hope of inspiring some more. The teacher asked how many do I heed for the absolute minimum, I said 6, but I could probably just about make it work with 4 (Just hoping for more as potentially we have 17). The next session they manage 3 and I was fully prepared to abort it and sadly let that class go. Magically a fourth person appeared. We went though what I had scheduled for them in week 1 and 2, but progress is extremely slow. To help them I have fully documented their rep with pictures of all significant positions and poses. Not only do I dance it with them, I dance the next session for them as a preview so they know what to expect rather than apprehensive of the unknown. If I can successfully pull this together for a showcase for the school, then I really will need to attend every week to keep continuity with them. In that case I will have to persuade my Cecchetti teacher to do one-to-one sessions with me. However when I’m not conducting the Swans rehearsal, it’s my intention to drop back to every other week with them and carry on dancing my solos for inspiration. As for Cecchetti I would continue the one-to-one session but attend the other class on alternate weeks. Christmas: I guess I’ve finally succumbed to the idea of getting the Cecchetti Diploma DVD for my own Christmas present, after all if all that strict discipline get to much for me, I can always go back to ENB to regain my freedom of expression, as this is what it felt like as I enjoyed one of their on-stage workshops this weekend at Milton Keynes.
  3. Interesting comments my lovely dancing friends. 1) Kate_N’s comment “it's about having a feel for the style and its nuances, as much as the strict adherence to a textbook.”, I couldn’t agree more, but when things feel intuitively unsound, I find it very difficult accept without proper verification, especially if my teacher is unsure too”, these are quite rear events so please don’t get hung up on my comments. For me now, I have two main video references, a full set of Advanced 2 video downloads from Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc and the UK Advanced 1 DVD. The presentation by the dancers are somewhat different the Advanced 1 DVD seams very clinical and without emotion, almost boring to watch. Where as the Advanced 2 from Australia, the dancer at least smiles and appear to enjoy their dance including the barre. On the down side some of the Australian videos demonstrating double attitude and arabesque turns are somewhat insecure as they almost approximate a promenade. Even so I still have a few issues with both video sources about the absolute correctness of some movements within certain enchainements. 2) Several have made the comment, that queries should be made to the teacher, in simple terms I have. I’m also aware that my teacher has addressed queries through two other teachers, I have no idea how they fit into the faculty at the ISTD, qualifications or membership, however what I am aware of (from my teacher) that they are not teaching the Advanced 2 Syllabus until such time as the UK Advanced 2 DVD is released. That result for me in the short term is, I’m not likely to get my issues resolved fully, other than a consensus of what we three think. But it I think it must be clear by now that I am not one to wait. 3) What is really disappointing, is when I have raised issues with the Cecchetti Faculty, they have largely been ignored, to me that is down right rude and unacceptable, a simple reply to say “I’m sorry we can’t help you with that”, would have been better than nothing, otherwise one is waiting in anticipation unnecessarily. It begs the question “Is this part of the wider ballet culture that has evolved”, the reason I ask this, when I was with the Alive Ballet Company, it was a real issue getting email replies from studio’s and performance venues by my Artistic Director, so much so I took over the roll of production manager to make things happen, I had the time and the mindset, the strategy was simple; If I got no email reply with a couple of days, I would follow up with a phone call, that resolved most, if that was unsuccessful then I would visit the afternoon before my rehearsal. Although the strategy was simple it was still an awful lot of work with sometimes up to 60 venues to check out for availability and costs for two dance companies, as we had a Contemporary dance company too which also had to be catered for. To be fair I quite enjoyed it and took on the roll of Head of Costume and Music Editor too. It was a sad day when our Founder and Artistic Director emigrated with her family to Australia, however it looks like us dancers who were with Alive Ballet Company in London will be invited out as guest dancers in Australia towards the end of 2020, can’t wait. 4) As for LinMM comment on petit battement, my experience has been similar, but the wrapping leg has mostly been off the floor for a full foot supporting leg, I’ve been racking my brains as to who taught keeping the wrapping foot in contact with the floor, always remembered it as polishing the floor, and of course Cecchetti does, one of my very first correction. On releve the supporting foot for Cecchetti should be on ¾ pointe and the wrapping foot just off the ground (toes are inline with the arch of supporting foot). This is the same for both Traditional and Additional, but as Kate_N indicated arms are different, 5th en bas traditional and second additional, the only other difference in our barre exercise is 16 petit battements battus (Serre), have been added with a slow port de bras to additional. Initially traditional and additional start the first part of the exercises on full foot, similar with frappes. The only time I do petit battements on a full foot now, with the wrapping leg at cou-de-pied is on a balance board. I guess in some ways this has been one of the best classes I’ve attended for actually learning, both in terms feedback and then having to successfully repeat the movement with corrections correctly, everything is closely scrutinised but in a really nice way. The one thing I find annoying difficult to do, is Cecchetti very basic port de bras, Not the port de bras exercises themselves, they are quite nice and very pretty, love them. But it’s mainly that which is used in barre exercises. Whilst I know what is expected, my view is it just seams far too stiff and without feeling, even taking that on board, I really cant freeze my wrist action on breaths or opening to second Grrr, it almost involuntary. My teacher refers to it as being wafty, but to be fair I have suppressed my quite wafty flamboyant port de bras which I think originated from my days with ENB. I remember having a conversation with Sarah Lamb at a rep workshop on Juliet’s solo from act 1 about port de bras with the skirt, she very much frown on it , although its was used by Alessandra Ferri when she danced as Juliet, I really like it and incorporated in my version I took up to Ballet West this year. Similarly Natalia Osipova does a beautiful port de bras with her skirt in Giselles solo of act 1, again another one I incorporated. I guess that’s my other passion, dancing rep. Hence I can only attend my Cecchetti class once every two weeks, the other is at my local Silver Swans, at least there I get a captive audience to perform a different solo in costume each time I see them every two weeks. I just wish I could incorporate both every week.
  4. Hi Peony I didn’t mean that we did additional on one side of the barre and traditional on the other, however some times we do. Its teacher’s choice as how we do a particular exercise on both sides or not as with the direction. Doing a single exercise on one side and a different exercise on the other is more about time management and leaving sufficient time for exploring exercises that we haven’t yet covered as they are seldom strait forward. I guess its also worth pointing out our other dancer is a ballet teacher in her own right, in fact my first ballet teacher. Ok about your comment “There is a list of teachers with the final diploma somewhere”. I have contacted Sharon Orme coordinator of the faculty for Cecchetti at the ISTD for the contact details of one of their guru’s that would be able to help us with the interpretation/queries that we have with the Syllabus exercises, but as usual no response, what a surprise. I contacted the same office through email, text and phone, I even intended to visit them to get a response to when the UK DVD would become available, eventually it was kicked upstairs to Catherine Hutchon Chair of the Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty before I got a response, so I am by no means passive. I just wish they were as responsive and helpful as Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc. Finally, I would be grateful if you would share the reference to your definition of Traditional and Additional, as requested in my previous post.
  5. Hi Peony Many thanks for the definition of “Traditional” and “Additional” exercises as used in Cecchetti Ballet, I must bow to your extensive historical knowledge of Cecchetti. After seeing your posting I did do a search for your definition in both each of the Advanced 2 course documentation and also on line, unfortunately I could find anything, I wonder if you would please share your reference. As for the flic flac according to Gail Grants Technical “Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet” it came from the Russian School. Her mention of the contact with the floor she describes it as “brushing the ball of the foot along the floor passing through fifth position and finishing with the pointed toe crossed in front beyond sur le cou-de-pied” I cant help but think the length of time the foot is actually brushing the floor is quite variable if in fact it does actually touch, I definitely would never describe it as solid as a “CONTACT WITH THE FLOOR” the time in the clip below is extremely short but is very much in line with the young lady demonstration the advanced 2 exercise. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=723697021039921 The comment that I made about the Advanced 2 video “in the video example the gesturing foot actually just touches the floor about 2/3rds round, to give a little extra push to finish face front.”. After looking at this again in slow motion the dancer dances this exercise each side twice through, only the first time does her foot accidentally hit the ground which I would use your words as in “contact with the floor”. However what I have discovered, the following exercise which should be faster version of the one described, is danced somewhat differently although the caption of movement preceding the exercise is the same. My first thought was the UK and Australian versions may be different, however the Australian videos caption, doesn’t match what the dancers doing, but it does fit the music. Just some of the little inconsistencies we come across. Your comment “If you were to do the exam you have to know both versions and the examiner asks for which they want- it’s a huge syllabus! “ Firstly I agree whole heartedly, it is a huge syllabus. Secondly we are always dance both versions. Thirdly not only are we covering the whole syllabus we are covering the none exam exercises too, that is all combinations where the dancer has a choice in the exam, eg 2 from 4 different types of turns. Fourthly learning a combination in our small group (2 dancers) is quite a slow process as it has to be thorough. Mainly it’s a detailed study of the references from the associated documents which are quite detailed, so a bit of a debate follows and we walk it through; it really is a joint effort from all three of us, where a quality training video would help enormously. What we now have is extremely helpful but I guess non of us fully trust it to be exactly the same as the UK version, but it is a lot better than nothing Fifthly once we have learnt a combination we are expected to dance it from its description each time our teacher calls for it. There is no following the teacher at this level. With only 2 of us, our teacher gives lots of helpful corrections, you cant help but learn, however you know when she is displeased, thats when you get the same correction a second time, even a week or two later. For me I like it even better when I get the opportunity to do a one-to-one with her, usually when our other dancer is on holiday. There is one tiny thing that sets her apart from most other teacher which I think is a bit special, its when we part company at the end of class and we say our goodbyes. As I only attend that class every other week, I usually say “I will see you ???” and she will always reply “Oh yes please”, that really makes one feel special and valued.
  6. Hi Linda I was like you, I had done the movement with the heal down thing hundreds of times before, but never knew its name or even if it had one. My problem with this movement was, it wasn’t being done like that, whilst I could make the first set in the barre sequence work with 2 counts per movement (4 count for twice through) the second set had three movements in 3 counts, that was just messy and felt wrong, when I queried it, there was a lot of uncertainty, and what was being done was a lift, which was a corruption of a Battement releve lent. In the second set of Battement releves, there should be only one tendu out, the heal drops are on each of the 3 counts only, however after the drop on count3 the foot lift of the floor in preparation for 16 battement degages (Battement Glisses in non Cecchetti), first one to derriere. It was just the name of that step that caused confusion, needless to day that step is only a small part of the overall exercise. One characteristic of their naming convention is to have a standard exercise which is the smaller one, followed by an additional, the additional means it has some additional movements embedded in it and slightly more complicated. My turning flick flack is my interpretation as it seams to make sense, for us it is a centre practice exercise, there are two version one slow and the other quick. Neither of us can get through both sides twice with the music, even the so called slow one is quite fast. Basically you just have to know it, it has to be in the body as there is no thinking time. Doing it without music and having a little thinking time is no problem. The fast one will be a real challenge. Most of the exercises in the Examination Specification are cross referenced in one of the three reference books I mention in my previous post, although they are generally very detailed, there is sometimes a little something missing, one that I’ve pickup a couple of times, is certain movement that are done on a releve (conventional ), it often doesn't state where you returned to flat supporting foot, for me that’s feels intuitive, however when I have queried it with my teacher, if it doesn’t say, you stay on releve, if we have a moan, her responses is you’re big girls now you can do it. Thank goodness we have the Australian videos, at least it sorts out those. One of the things I’ve found quite irritating at the barre, is the position of the arm away from the barre, in generic ballet classes its usually placed in second, but in Cecchetti it assumes fifth en bas, I feel a bit like a penguin in a strait jacket and quite often I forget initially until after the exercise has started and realise my arms drifted to second. However there is some really nice port de bra exercises in the Examination specification one of those I have adapted for use as part of my pointe strengthening which takes place on a balance board, with the gesturing leg at retire and the supporting leg flat. Most of our port de bra exercises incorporate grand battement with changing position, those I’ve obviously taken out. If noting else it really strengthens the supporting leg with nice music and beautiful movements, just love it.
  7. Hi Peony Thank you for the link, yes I was aware of that DVD, I came across it when I did a Global search for Advanced 2 DVD’s, furthermore my rep coach also gave me that link to the ROH shop too. That DVD is quite expensive at £99, but then all of the Cecchetti DVD’s tend to be expensive at £55 from the ISTD shop. I chased the ISTD some time ago and finally got a response from Catherine Hutchon, Chair of Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty to indicate they were hoping for the end of this term for it to be released, I guess by Christmas. For me when I run up against an unfamiliar term, when its danced in terms of musicality it need to make sense, and one of those movements didn’t, it was a new term that had crept into Advanced 2 that wasn’t in Advanced 1, it was simply “Battement Releve”, it had been mis-interpreted as a variation of the Battement Releve Lent from the Russian School, and what was used for me simply didn’t fit the music properly and when queried, it seamed it was a new term to everyone. That said I hunted around for a you tube example on the internet, or description on an on-line ballet dictionary too, but nothing found. Eventually I did a global search of all major Cecchetti Establishments and the only one that had DVD’s or downloadable videos for Advanced 2 was Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc, at first the UK wasn’t on their country list to export but they placed the UK on it for me. So at least I now have some idea of what to expect, but I am also aware there may well be minor differences too. “ our Battement Releve take place after the working leg is extended out to pointe tendu, the heal momentarily drops then returns back to pointe tendu. Strangely enough I sat in on Vienna Festivals Ballet pre-show warm-up and during their barre, Emily their ballet mistress said “releve” and then dancers heals went down, wow I thought Cecchetti training. Later I asked Emily about the Battement releves, she also commented it’s used in the Russian school too. Even at today’s class I have another query on the precise definition on one of the centre practice movements, even though we have the Australian video to help us. The words and what takes place don’t quite gel. The Exercise has turn and this is what it states “Execute two fouette type movements’ en tournant en dedans that is: Open right foot to second position, en l air, so that the pointe is raised 4 inches from the ground, and immediately sweep the foot across the ground and bring it sur le cou de pied devant. REPEAT the movement with the same foot and bring it sur le cou de pied derriere During these two fouette’s execute a pirouette dedans, returning to face 5” (Corner 5 in Cecchetti is in front / audience. Firstly it may just be a play on words “ Sweep the foot across the ground”, in the video the foot moves as the first part of a flick flack close to the floor, it doesn’t touch the floor. My impression is that this is actually a turning flick flack, however in the video there what I think is a bit of a cheat as on the turn with the gesturing leg at cou de pied when it should be going through changement from front to back , in the video example the gesturing foot actually just touches the floor about 2/3rds round, to give a little extra push to finish face front. At the moment we are waiting for the definitive UK version Advanced 2 DVD As for the Cecchetti Diploma DVD, I guess ultimately I will get it when I have done the Advanced 2 to death, however I am not following a qualification path as my passion is dancing repertoire from the classics
  8. A couple of week ago I performed my last of Odalisque solo’s (the one with all the Briese’s) for the ladies of my local Silver Swans. That is something I’ve been doing for a while now, even though I only attend them every other week, I do perform a solo in costume for them every time. Gradually more and more of the ladies have shown an interest in joining me for something simple. So that week I cleared it with their teacher and then asked them if they would like to join me as my Corps de ballet for a piece of Swan Lake. I had anticipated around 6 to 8, however I was asked by at least a couple that I thought would not want to be part of it, but asked if they could try it, wow that’s brilliant however it does set me another challenge, as when the piece is finished I would like it showcased on video for our patron with all our Ladies in Romantic tutu’s. I already have 4 and was anticipating buying 4 more low cost ones from my local ballet shop, however those are no longer available and the ones that are, are considerably more expensive. Needless to say I’m now designing a low cost romantic tutu kit, hopefully for them to sew, but I will buy and supply all the materials, potentially that could be up to 17 tutu’s. Although I know the majority of them would not be willing to wear a leotard, I guess if we can substitute that for a white T shirt which would be more acceptable to them. They will not need these until close to Christmas. The piece I will be teaching them is essentially the Coda from Act 2, as I will kick it off by dancing Odette’s solo which precedes it, they will dance a very simplified version of the corps coda, I will then come in with the Coda solo for Odette, then finish the group piece with all of us into our little finale for the final photo pose. Tuesdays for me is a day of extremes with one week of Silver Swans, with the following week of Cecchetti Advanced 2. Even the Advanced 2 isn’t strait forward, I’ve had several queries which I have raised with my teacher, she has two teaching colleagues that she has passed my queries too, their response has been, they will not teach this standard until the accompanying DVD is released. I have also emailed the faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD but they simply don’t reply to my emails on technical queries. At the moment I am using 4 documents to unravel what is required by the syllabus: Advanced 2 Examination Specification A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method) The Theory and Practice of Allegro in Classical Ballet (Cecchetti Method) The Theory and Practice of Advanced Allegro in Classical Ballet (Cecchetti Method) I am also using the full set of video downloads for Cecchetti Advanced 2 from Cecchetti Australia, although they look very similar, both me and my teacher are uncertain as to how well the exercises fit the UK standard. Although I miss alternate Tuesday for this class, I do see my teacher for a Body Conditioning class every Wednesday evening, I usually query what was taught on the weeks I miss which at least help me stay up to date. My other main activity of the week is preparation for pointe , as I’ve substituted one of my private rep coaching session for prep for pointe. I see there is another thread on that topic so there is little point in me posting here, although it’s likely to be quite different with an awful lot of homework.
  9. Hi RuthE Like you I did both classes in one evening, the Intermediate followed by the Advanced, at the end of the evening there was a bit of a chat with a few of us and our teacher Kate, one of the guys mentioned a sticky floor but I didn’t experience it. Tendu’s were absolutely fine, I do recall going for a double in one of the pirouette exercises, it seam to almost stall towards the end of the second turn but I just put that down to me. I see a friend of mine manage a double OK. I know when I was at the old studios in South Kensington, there was a period when the smaller downstairs studio was extremely sticky and tendus were virtually impossible, you had to cheat them by virtually lifting the foot off the floor before moving it out. At the time the floor used to leave a blackish deposit on the bottom of your ballet slippers, I ended up complaining for several weeks. More recently both of my classes were in the large upstairs studio and that was always fine. In terms of the floor at the new building I would rate the slippyness, if there is such a word, as similar to my own studio which has a Harlequin sprung floor with Harlequin Cascade vinyl covering. At least 3 studios I use every week do have wood flooring, they are considerably slippier. I guess it’s what one is used too, I was perfectly happy with the new ENB floor and I have already spoken to LinMM about their floor and of course LinMM has sampled the floor in my studio too. I am also aware that temperature in my studio does have an effect on slippyness of the vinyl floor covering(less slippy as it gets colder), but I don’t think that would be an issue for ENB.
  10. Last Wednesday the 2nd October was my first visit to he new English National Ballet Studios on London City Island. I was attending the Intermediate and Advanced taster classes. I guess for me it was mostly curiosity and to check out the convenience of travel and the surrounding area for café/restaurants. Travel for me via underground platform to platform Kings Cross to Canning Town via London Bridge was about half an hour. However I couldn’t find anywhere on City Island to eat but there were plenty of eating places within about 5 mins walk from Canning Town tube station. We were told to arrive about 15 minutes before class, I arrived about half an hour before, however the attendance sheets were already out, one for each class, that just required the attendees to tick them on the way in, and out again as they left. As I was booking in my teacher “Kate” arrived, I’ve known her many years mostly from ENB rep workshops on the stage of the London Coliseum, she recognized me immediately and we had a bit of a chat. After booking in, me and a few other girls had to wait until 6.45pm before they would let us into the public changing rooms. The female public changing room was on the ground floor and were tiny with lockers present on the wall. I had a pull along case, it was far to big to go in, so I decided to take it in to our studio as I would have done with the old studios in Markova House, another girl had the same problem. I think in the end almost everyone had taken their things into the studio and we all placed them near the piano so they were well clear of the ballet barres. Our studio the Linden was on the second floor. A friend had posted some picture of the ENB studios the week before, the walls looked as if it was corrugated metal in a large industrial building, how wrong I was, the wall material was both soft and warm to the touch, it was in full length floor to ceiling strips, I guess they were acoustic panels. The studio was very large, almost square in shape with mirrors on 2 walls and absolutely gorgeous. There were ballet barres on three of the walls. The wall without a ballet barre was mirrored, but there was a portable barre too. Both classes were well attended but there were far more at the Intermediate class. For me it felt like I was coming home as I knew several dancers in both classes, even though it’s been 3 years since I last attended them. They are still of a good standard and I thoroughly enjoyed them, even though I will not be enrolling for this term. The visit to ENB had its highs as mentioned above, but I re-experienced some of the lows I had experienced 3 years ago that involved the travel arrangements. Firstly when I arrived at Peterborough railway station, the car park was full and I had to use the over-spill car park. I really don’t like that park when I’m arriving back after midnight, it’s a long walk down a narrow ally with crisscross high wire fencing on both sides, there is a single camera that I could see at one end, its quite a walk and I cant help feel just a bit vulnerable. When I was doing rehearsal in London on Sundays there was always 400+ spaces available in the main car park, but I guess most are taken up by commuters in the week. The second issue is one I had already forgotten about, the build up of Lactic Acid in ones legs after nearly 3 hours of fairly active ballet and then sat on the train for the journey home. In London to Kings Cross I was fine, but immediately I got off the train at Peterborough my lower legs and ankles were stiff and quite painful, it all came flooding back as to what happened before. My solution then was a combination of things; firstly my classes in the end were the opposite way round, advanced first followed by intermediate, the intermediate felt like a bit of a cool-down as it was considerably easier. I also avoided the long walk back from ENB to South Kensington tube station and caught the No 10 bus from just outside the Royal Albert Hall to Knightsbridge tube station, then Piccadilly line to Kings Cross.
  11. Hi LinMM Just a thought, I wont be staying to watch Company Class, after the workshop, I will probably have a quick coffee and chat with our dancing friends in the break and then leave to catch up with Adrian, as he will probably be bored being left on his own. He is only there to see Le Corsaire especially as he has danced some of the rep with me. I’m also doing the ENB Le Corsaire workshop at Milton Keynes too, it will be interesting to see if they are teaching the same piece of rep at the Coliseum.
  12. First of all I must declare I have no financial interest in this offering, this has come about as I have exchange a number of emails with this really nice teacher and time is getting short for any dance student on this forum that lives within travelling distance of Lincoln to register. To be conducted by Principle Ballerina Miss Julie Anne Clarke ARAD AISTD Auditions are to be held on Sunday 13th October and Sunday the 10th November 4pm to 6pm at The Dance Studio, One NK, Moor Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln LN6 9AX. There is noting to prepare for the first audition and there will be a second audition. Applicants are expected to be Grade 5 or above and are for students who have no stage experience & would like to improve their technique, stage presentation etc & take this up as a career. It is not intended for Adults, as that was my initial interest. For further info and registration: Email dance.vision@outlook.com Mobile 07586478712 Website www.julieanneclarke.co.uk
  13. Do check out the Ultimate Dance Showcase events https://www.udsuk.co.uk
  14. First of all I must declare I have no financial interest in this offering, this has come about as I have exchange a number of emails with this really nice teacher and time is getting short for anyone on this forum that lives within travelling distance of Lincoln to register. The Classes are run by Principle Ballerina Miss Julie Anne Clarke ARAD AISTD Classes are weekly starting Tuesday 1st October from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, an hour each class. This is to be held at The Dance Studio, One NK, Moor Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln LN6 9AX. The classes on the 1st of October are free so I guess one should regard them as a taster. For further info and registration: Email dance.vision@outlook.com Mobile 07586478712 Website www.julieanneclarke.co.uk
  15. Hi LinMM Yes I will be staying for the Matinee performance afterwards, Adrian will be with me too, if you want to meet up for a spot of lunch with us before hand, that would be great.
  16. Hi LinMM I see this quotation the other day and thought of you, it certainly resonates with me: “YOU DON’T STOP DANCING BECAUSE YOU GROW OLD.” “YOU GROW OLD BECAUSE YOU STOP DANCING.” What do you think?
  17. My start back of the new term of ballet has felt like swimming through treacle as my legs haven’t yet fully recovered from what I can only describe as an over-use injury prior to our Ballet West session. However during the intervening period I have continued to attend my Cecchetti Advanced 2 classes. While I have attended the Cecchetti classes I have had the opportunity to video them, both my teacher and our other student consented for me to do this. By videoing what we do has been extremely enlightening for me, it has raised as many questions as it has answered. The beauty of only 2 students in the class is the amount of feedback we both get , it also allows me to be quite vocal in asking questions which simply isn’t possible in much larger classes without appearing disruptive or hogging the teacher. The exercises we are doing are taken from the exam syllabus, there is no DVD available from the faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD. The details of the exercises come from a combination of sources, some refer in-part to that of Advanced 1 (DVD available) and from of two documents “The Advanced 2 Examination Specifications” and a book called “The Manual” which is “A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method)”. In some instances the Examination Specification does give proper references in the Manual eg page and section references, but its very much like being a detective to sort out precisely what is expected in a particular exercise and it can be quite ambiguous. When we start new material there is often a bit of a debate as to the interpretation of the standard, I remember at the last class, our piece of center practice for arabesque and attitude turns, before w got anywhere near the turns themselves, we had to go from a tendu devant up into attitude on demi-pointe , whilst it didn’t specifically use the words of releve or plie or similar meaning, our teacher concluded we must launch the attitude leg from a rise of the strait supporting leg, though I guess not totally impossible , it was extremely difficult and for me just didn’t feel right, we were both encouraged with the comment “you can do it, you are both big girls now”. We did try. I know there are several things that I have come across that don’t quite gel with me and also some of the exercised don't exactly fit the music as I would expect, even our teacher wishes there were a DVD for as the gold standard. I have tried repeatedly to contact the coordinator of the Faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD but she has never replied to my emails of phone messages as to future availability of Advanced 2 DVD’s. In shear desperation I have check out the availability of video material on both youtube and Cecchetti organisations around the world. The only place I could find something covering that standard is Cecchetti Australia, it has a total of 5 video downloads, the fifth one covers pointe work, each of these is 25$ Au. However to download these, the country must be contained in the country list, the UK wasn’t. Oh poo how am I going to work around this one, One of my old Artistic Directors has emigrated to Australia and I still have contact with her, as I should be performing out there as a guest dancer towards the end of 2020, so that was running through my mind as a possibility. I emailed Cecchetti Australia to tell them I had created an account on their website but unfortunately the UK wasn’t on their country list, how should I proceed. The following morning an email was waiting, to say the UK had been added to the country list, and a detailed procedure of how to download the files. Needless to say I tried with a single file first of the “Au Milieu and Pirouettes”, to satisfy my curiosity over the rise or releve issue (releve it was). It went like a dream and the download only took a minute or so. Later that day I downloaded the remaining three files. I must say I was really impressed by the help I received from Cecchetti Australia, I just wish Faculty of Cecchetti in the ISTD were as responsive, I guess I’m just going to have to call in and see them on my next visit to ENB. At least now my two teachers and I will be singing from the same song sheet whoopee. Sunday in preparation for this week back, I thought I would just run through the Odalisques third variation, as it is a piece I want to dance for my local Silver Swans, especially as I wasn’t able to dance it at Ballet West. Horror that really didn’t go well, the first assemble which uses my strongest combination of legs was seriously lacking in power, to be fair, that shook me a bit, I wasn’t expecting that and that variation was down for practice at my Monday morning rep coaching session. It still wasn’t particularly good and I guess its still going to take a little while to regain that strength, on the positive side the 5 double turn pirouette/ arabesque combinations were far better than I expected. Going forward as I’m not performing this Christmas, I’m focusing a lot more on body conditioning and preparation for pointe and consequently taking on a slightly higher level of risk. I think it would be much more prudent to reduce the number of variation I take to Ballet West next year to around 4 solos and a couple of Pas de Deuxs, rather than 11 of this year.
  18. Hi LinMM I most definitely agree with you comment that this part of Scotland is a great place to spend a couple of days if not dancing. : Wednesday we had to go back to Ballet West to pick some of our kit up from there and continued east on the A85 until it joined the A82 ( Tyndrum), that was a lovely spectacular ride for Adrian through the Great Glen, we followed t A82 all the way up to Fort William. Although the weather forecast wasn’t great, it was fine with a good deal of sunshine while w were on the road. Thursday I took Adrian South to the town of Lochgilphead, then I had a little surprise for him. Every Thursday when we finish at Ballet West we call at a little café in Taynuilt for tea and cakes, its become a bit of a tradition with Adrian and I, but we were along way from Taynuilt. Unknown to Adrian there is a little single track road with passing places that follows much of the shore line of Loch Awa through Ford, Dalavitch and Kilcrenan, then finally passing by Ballet West from the opposite direction to what we were used too, Adrian was quite worried and thought I was completely lost, bless him. Ok about not being able to get up from a ballet kneel without a push up. I think the most scary time for me was the Sunday the week before when my right leg was at its worst and I really couldn’t bend it. The most difficult thing was going to the loo, imagine trying to balance and lower ones self down with the left leg whiles the right leg is extended out, some very black thoughts went through my mind, is this how life ends, by not being able to do the most basic things. Thank goodness some movement did come back relatively quickly, but it does make you think. For the moment descending the stairs just feels a little bit stiff but improving, this coming week is a full ramp up of ballet for return to the new term of classes on the 9th.
  19. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that our session at Ballet West this year didn’t quite go as planned. What did surprise me was how much I had lost particularly with our Juliet piece by not dancing through it for two weeks before the event, it was really frustrating the silly bits I was getting wrong. It wasn’t that I didn’t know it, I had just lost it from within the body against the melody of the music. It took a while on the first day, but it did come back. Although eventually we did manage to dance through everything that was scheduled for that day. We had had advance notice from our teacher that she could not cover Tuesday as she had a couple of important meetings that were mandatory, but could organise cover for us. As things just prior to travelling to Ballet West were uncertain, I declined the cover, and suggested we review things at the end of day 1. It was clear we could continue, so the plan was Adrian and I would see what we could salvage from the remaining less demanding pieces of rep to fill the remaining two days included a shortened showcase in costume as is our tradition on the last day at Ballet West. Tuesday I guess I pushed things as far as I dare, we had gone through all the less demanding rep including that of day 1, I then started on the Le Corsaire rep, both the Odalisques solo’s 1 and 2 were danceable, I tried the double turn pirouette/ arabesque combinations of solo three, although I did manage to run through three of those successfully, they didn’t feel that secure, so I didn’t proceed with them. I also took the end sequence of the Odalisques PDT, the one that starts with three grand jete/ arabesque combinations as I find that difficult initially to judge its travel and spacing, that was a real no no, I just didn’t have any power in my legs to manage that one which really was no surprise, but never the less was somewhat disappointing as we had included Adrian as the Slave Master in that one. Needless to say I didn’t even attempt my two solo’s from the La Bayadere shades. The real shocker was The Russian Dance from Swan Lake, I regarded that as a relatively easy piece and not very demanding at all. it began ok until I got to the piece where I kneel down on to one leg, firstly as I lowered down using the top of the foot to slide down on the gesturing leg to the knee, the last inch was an uncontrollable drop, at first I ignored it and did the associated port de bra. When it came to the rise, which ordinarily is no problem, I simply could not get up. I repeated this phrase in disbelief and I rolled over on the rise. The third time I managed to get up but it wasn’t very elegant, all the strength of the supporting leg simply wasn’t there. My first thoughts were, this piece could have been danced during the remaining week, if I practice the rise and fall of the kneel to strengthen at the hotel. Later Tuesday evening my ankles were really sore especially when pointing my feet and particularly going down stairs at the hotel, that was painful. Just before we turned in I checked my emails, I had two from Gillian our teacher to say she would no longer be available to cover us but could organise one of her teachers to cover us, or if we wished could still use the studios for the remainder of the week as a close family member had been rushed into hospital in Glasgow and she would be remaining with them.. It seamed pointless to continue with a new teacher with the state of my legs and would most probably sustain further injury. Instead Adrian and I would sadly have to abort this years session at Ballet West and use those day as a holiday in Scotland. Saturday was I guess the worst test of my ankles as Adrian and I had to go down from level 6 to level 2 on the stairs on a tour of Liverpool football club’s new stand,, as we usually end our week that way, as a thank you from me to Adrian for all his effort. My legs are much improved but not fully what they were before, however I have continued the last two weeks with my Cecchetti Advanced 2 class, really enjoying it. However I’m starting to ramp thing up next week prior to resuming normal classes on the 9th, with my first mini performance for the Silver Swans on the 10th with the Le Corsaire Odalisques first solo , the one full of brise’s
  20. Hi LinMM I managed to get in and see a Physio today through a cancellation, she thought I may have accidentally twisted it with knowing it, and there was a large build up of fluid which she tried to disperse with manipulation, that hurt like hell, but it did increase the range of movement a little. Although its very swollen, regular application of ice does tend to help , but pain killers don’t touch it. I am to see her again on Thursday. She also suggested I rested from ballet for the remainder of this week. For the moment Ballet West is still on, but I will have to trim the schedule as there is no way that the right leg will recover enough to stand 11 pieces of rep with around half of them containing a good deal on grand allegro. Ballet West this year will be I will do what I can, even if its not quite polished. In any case I get a second shot at the cherry by performing that rep in costume for the lovely ladies of my local Silver Swans.
  21. ENB have just released the booking details for their Le Corsaire Adult Ballet Workshop at The Milton Keynes Theatre on the 23rd of November. Its not in the usual place on ENB website but if you follow the London Le Corsaire link in divides down to both venues, however when I used the online booking, a message came up to contact the box office, which I did and made the booking over the phone. Holistic Ballet also have an Autumn Intensive on Entrance of the Swans from Act2 of Swan Lake, held at the Place on the 21st-26th October (no 24th) Time: 8pm-10pm, Thursday (no course), Saturday: 5:15pm-8pm Cost: £170 / £150 if booked and paid by 20th September 2019. I will not be booking that one as I’ve danced Entrance of the Swans many many times Only one week to go to Ballet West and all is not well as I had planned the last two weeks seriously cleansing the 11 piece I’m taking there this year. However thing went pair-shaped at the beginning of last week. Monday went really well although I had avoided the pieces with Grand Alegro in them, but intended to limit the number of those I did in any one day. Tuesday first thing is my hairdresser before ballet, as Tuesday at one time was rehearsal. On leaving the hair dressers I noticed my right leg was a little stiff going down the stairs but that wasn’t unusual, about an hour later I attended my Cecchetti ballet class, a second one as one-to-one as the other student was on holiday, that was absolutely fine and I really enjoyed it. I had intended to do a little rep practice later that day but other things got in the way, I was absolutely fine when I went to bed. Wednesday morning when I woke up, my right knee was extremely sore and I notice it had no bedclothes on it. I knew then that this could become a problem but was just hoping I had got cold in it. I ceased ballet then until Saturday morning and I covered one piece that Adrian is dancing with me plus a simple barre session with him. Although my leg was a little uncomfortable it was a lot better. In the afternoon I helped Adrian in the garden as it was a gorgeous day and things just went down hill. Now the right knee is badly swollen and I can barely lift it to the ankle of the other leg. The upper rim of the knee cap is extremely sensitive to touch and needless to say I cannot cross my left leg and support it on my right knee. In fact I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to have difficulty walking, the only real rest bite is to lay flat with my legs extended. It really is a puzzle as to what has instigated this as I cannot recall anything injurious in the past couple of weeks or so, it is really annoying and so frustrating. I guess I’m just going to have to keep an eye on things and really hope I don’t have to cancel this years trip.
  22. I’ve just checked the original email, there is no mention of priority booking, so I would take it that you have your place. I think they have a larger capacity at the new building anyway. Assuming you attend the classes you have booked, if they are intending to operate a priority booking system in the future, you will receive notification about a week or so ahead of releasing next years classes it to the general public so to speak. As it was, it was important to book your place promptly, as when it went open , you may well have lost it as they we often over subscribed. I remember a few existing dancers loosing their place through late booking. I’m unsure as to when you no longer qualify for priority booking status, as I certainly received it up to last year and I think I left about 3 years ago. Hope that helps.
  23. Less than 3 weeks to go before our week of one-to-one intensive at Ballet West, this year we are covering as much in a day as Adrian and I did all week last year, it really is going to be challenging (11 pieces). Following on from my car problems in the previous post, which meant I lost one of the last three sessions with my rep coach, where I already planned in 2 sessions for the La Bayadere Shades Cabriole solo, with the Monday session missing I really couldn’t let the schedule slip so I had to go it alone by looking a several youtube clips of the solo and sorting out the options from the slight differences in the variation. At least I was able to make a start rather than go in cold for my reps session on the following Thursday. Fortunately I was able to book a double session for that day. As it turned out with the prep I had already done I didn’t need to spend any more than an hour with my rep coach. I must say I really enjoyed dancing that piece as both the cabrioles and the gallops that preceded them had a real sense of lightness and elevation, I was flying. The second hour was spent on relearning the Shades first solo, as I had previously learnt it at BBT just before Christmas. Although I had an exceptional teacher at that time I did go through a number of clips to establish the differences and the mix I wanted to incorporate in my own version. My rep coach and I continued with this on the following Monday , her last day with me. Although we have technically finished the sequence, I still have to tidy up the musicality/ timing of the grand jete / pirouette section. Once home Monday afternoon it was time to run through the Le Corsaire Odalisques 2nd Solo as I would be dancing this for the Silver Swans the following day. Shock horror when I went through it, I couldn’t do the hopping arabesque backwards using the left leg as the supporting leg, the foot just fell flat as if there was a real absence of strength, the right foot was fine I could hop backwards on the ball of that foot all day. Oh poo I guess I had over done it with the shades cabrioles as the feet must have taken a hammering whilst I was learning that piece on my own. That really worried me as it was the Silver Swans last class before the summer break, I even got up at 5.30am to run through the solo after a quick barre warm-up, but the back hops was far from perfect but marginally better. Thank goodness on the day after ballet class they didn’t let me down. It always is quite a challenge to dance a solo in there studio without any form of rehearsal, it is literally go and dance, of course that’s what they expect now. I'm not sure how things will unfold with the Silver Swans next tern as I will only be attending them every other week, the weeks between will be my Cecchetti Advanced 2 class. The dilemma is, shall I dance a solo for the Swans every week I am there, or shall I make it every other week that I am there. In reality I still have quite a lot of familiar material that I can switch on. A really nice surprise today , the other dancer at my Cecchetti class was on holiday, so I got a really nice one-to-one session. My new teacher is really nice but quite strict over technique. This class is running through the summer holidays so I should get a good run at it with the exception of my week away at Ballet West. Just to let everyone know ENB are taking bookings for both taster classes and regular classes in there new building in Docklands, I've booked the Wednesday (2nd Oct) tasters for Intermediate and Advanced but I wont be taking up the classes this side of Christmas, as I want to concentrate on body conditioning and pointe work once Ballet West has been completed. In the New Year it all depends if I'm with another Amateur Performance Company as that's where my true passion is.
  24. Hi Linmm I haven’t heard any more from Alive. I also complete the ENB questionnaire, I guess it all depends on the number of classes and the spaces taken. When I first joined them most classes were over subscribed so were limited to something 27 dancers a class. Most class members were existing student as they got the advantage of priority booking before it was released to the general public, then you had to book for the whole term. There was the odd class that had space, which eventually was made available for drop in. I know in the past there were some existing dancers that were late in there bookings, loosing their place as there were also dancers moving up from a lower grade. Normally I wouldn’t be interested in drop in, but when I’m clear with prep for Ballet West, I wouldn’t mind doing the odd class at ENB to satisfy my curiosity in the new building. Otherwise I really don’t want to take anything extra on this side of Christmas, I have already said yes to starting part time so to speak with Cecchetti Advanced 2, although I have no intention of following the exam root. I’ve only 2 weeks left with the Silver Swans before they break up, I’m performing the Odalisques 2nd solo for them on their last week, after that I have a continuous run on Cecchetti, as that teacher is not stopping . In the new term I’m alternating each week between the Swans and Cecchetti and see how it goes. I’m just waiting to hear from the Cecchetti Facilities secretary at the ISTD as I couldn’t find a Cecchetti Advanced 2 DVD although my teacher said it existed, the ISTD shop do stock the Cecchetti Advanced 1. If I haven’t found a place in an Amateur performing company in the New Year then it’s quite likely I will go back to ENB, but it will again be 2 sessions in the same evening providing it’s a weekday evening. I had another reminder about how crowded and unreliable the weekend train service is yesterday. I went down to London to see Lisa’s LPC perform. The first train had to pick up additional passengers due to a cancellation before my station, so it was both full and late. I caught the next train which had a minor delay but was almost full, but this time I did manage to get a seat. To make the day even worse my car was playing up on the way home and had to go into the local garage today, so consequently I lost today’s rep session on La Bayadere Shade Cabriole solo. Apart from all that I really enjoyed Sundays LPC performance.
  25. Well I wasn’t thinking of doing a one way trip and yes I will need to save as I would like to take Adrian along with me, he is not so keen on going so I will have to pay, but who knows my ballet fan club may come along too, that is my brother and his other half as they both travel out to Australia once or twice a year, she has some close relative out there. I'm not sure but I think they are located somewhere near Adelaide, so who knows, but fingers crossed. I know they both came to see me with LAB when we performed Le Corsaire and also when we performed “Paquita” with Alive. Did you managed to book the two workshops with ENB at the Coliseum, I’m in both, just watching out for the one at Milton Keynes to come on sale, which is also Le Corsaire. Alive are also trying to arrange a classical workshop in London, this time for September, I did offer to help arrange it but haven’t had a reply yet, but I will keep you posted.
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