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Has anyone done Desiree Ballantyne's Sunday class at Central School?


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Just that, really. I"m in London for work Sunday & Monday, and was thinking about dropping in to a class at Central School in their adult programme. If Renato Paroni is not teaching, I'd rather try another teacher (I am "collecting" teachers). Ms Ballantyne looks like a really interesting teacher. Any comments on the level of class, or its feel?


Of course, if there's any info about whether Mr Paroni is teaching, please let me know! ... I love his classes and will go to his, but usually there's a substitute teacher.

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Hi Kate_N


Whilst I don't have any knowledge of classes at Central, my only experience of their studios is we have held the occasional rehearsal there. However as for Desiree Ballentyne I have met here a couple of times, firstly at a Swan Lake Master Class held at ENB’s Markova House, at that time I didn’t know her name but enjoyed the class very much.


During last summer I was asked by my companied AD to organise a studio for a one day Ballet Boot Camp, which was fine, but I had no intention of attending it myself. Initially I tried to place it in one of the studio’s in ROH but they were long winded in getting back to me, in the meantime I found one at Sadler’s, by this time I guess I was feeling a little bit guilty of not supporting the activities of my company, so I booked it. I was told Desiree Ballentyne would be conducting the workshop, which was also available for dancers outside the Alive Ballet Company; I was also informed it contained some rep.


Rep for me changes everything, so I contacted Desiree by email, she was very open and extremely informative about the rep she was intending to teach, for me that was a big plus point. On the day of the workshop I was first in after Desiree, once I met her I realise we had met before, furthermore I had a photo of us both on my phone at her ENB Swan Lake Master class. The general standard of what was taught I guess was around intermediate, however what I do remember was the abundance of helpful tips that came from her.


Desiree also teaches ENB’s Monday night Adult intermediate class, at the time I did check it out but the Monday night advance class was discontinued when Tom Linecar- Bolton left. I left there at the same time as it’s really not worth while in both time and travel to do a single ENB class.


If Desiree was to cover both ENB classes (Int and Advance) in the same evening, no question, I would make a point of being there.



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Thanks to @TYR and @Michelle_Richer for information about Ms Ballantyne's classes. I took her class on Sunday (even though Renato Paroni was teaching later). It was a really wonderful class - I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a lovely flowing stretchy juicy class, with some really beautiful choreography.  (waves to Tyr - we passed as I was leaving and you were entering the studio at Central - ready for Renato's class: I hope there were some good jokes!)


It wasn't a beginner class - you needed to know the basic technique, but it wasn't one that was so complex in choreography or so fast that you lose technique (you know that sort of class?) and I leant some interesting things about dynamics in the tendu and grande battement and really taking up space. It was just what I needed after two days of sitting down. And a bonus was that there were only about 12 of us - so we had tonnes of room in that lovely big upstairs studio 3 at Central.


I think as I get older I'm "collecting" interesting and different approaches to technique - and Ms Ballantyne's class was like that. Gave me lots to think about, and I want to do it again!


On the theme of trying out new teachers, I also tried out Karis Scarlette's beginner class at Danceworks yesterday - it was a very basic class, and I think that rather coloured my view. Ms Scarlette is utterly lovely & charming & funny, teaches really well, but I didn't find any moments of "oooh!" as a new way of looking at the same old same old (although she gave me a smart correction of my abiding bad habit of my ribs flaring). Not helped though by a tiny studio. But it was a nice gentle stretch after a day in meetings. But the level was basic, and although I'm a great advocate of going back to basics all the time (I certainly need to!) I didn't gain any new way to think about those basics in the way I always do in Hannah FRost's or Adam Pudney's classes.

Edited by Kate_N
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Meant to say, in case I sound rude or unappreciative of Ms Scarlette's class: it was lovely & graceful, with a lot of emphasis on correct alignment & getting on your leg. Some quite tough stuff using flat foor & demi-pointe balances at the barre, and at the centre. Flowing port de bras in the centre. 


But a truncated class because the 1st 20 minutes were taken up with filming something for "Unilad" (a noxious lad-style sexist organisation), unfortunately. We didn't jump or move across the floor, other than an adage temps lié. But the centre work was graceful & dancey at the basic beginner level. 

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24 minutes ago, Kate_N said:

the 1st 20 minutes were taken up with filming something for "Unilad" (a noxious lad-style sexist organisation), unfortunately


didn't know they did ballet....DB joined our class, so we had a total of four teachers counting Renato, three of them as students.

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I would have stayed on to do Renato’s class, but I had tickets for an art exhibition that I wanted to see before it closes. 


The Unilad thing was Ms Scarlette teaching a complete non-dancer (and I mean completely) to do some ballet moves, as part of a competition to be Britain’s most boneless man. It’s apparently going to be an advert on the Unilad website. 


I can’t wait to see it. 



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