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Simply Adult Ballet: the progress of one adult dancer who took up ballet later in life


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Thank you, Kate; I agree wholeheartedly.  


Michelle, you have misunderstood me on several points and I have no idea where your perception of “stealing” has come from.  I won’t respond to all the points in your long post but I will say this:   Just because you disagree with ballet teachers does not make those teachers wrong, underprepared or unprofessional.  


Unless an attendee has Special Educational Needs, most people can pick up steps and sequences at a repertoire workshop providing they are attending the appropriate level class.  I don’t know about Adult Repertoire workshops but in the numerous workshops, masterclasses and auditions my daughter has attended over the years, there is always some guidance given as to the level of the class.  This could be last exam passed, current level being studied, years en pointe or even just how long you’ve been dancing.  From this information, the Teacher will target the repertoire accordingly and adapt it to fit the standard of the attendees.  


Unless the class is aimed at Advanced students with solid pointework, the repertoire will always be adapted and altered to fit the class level, which is why it’s not worth sending videos out in advance for people to memorise.  If you are attending the correct level class then you will have the appropriate ballet vocabulary and technique to pick up the steps during the workshop, albeit with demonstration from the Teacher where necessary.   If someone cannot do this then I’d simply suggest they go down a level as it’s surely better to perfect your technique at a slightly lower level first.  


Your qualifications may be impressive but they do not mean you are qualified to teach or coach ballet.  A Pilot may be extremely competent flying a Boeing 747 but does that mean they can or should instruct someone on how to drive a car?  Of course not.  To safely and effectively teach ballet, one needs to have reached a good technical standard to begin with (in the RAD’s case, as I’ve said, this is a Pass at RAD Intermediate*), only then can they begin the teacher training course.   This is several years’ long unless you are an ex Professional ballet dancer and covers safe practice, risk assessment, safeguarding as well as dance pedagogy and numerous other modules.  I know you have your own studio and a large collection of costumes but with no exams or qualifications, you have no evidence of good, solid classical ballet technique - which may be why your Silver Swans Teacher has drawn a line under your “coaching” sessions.


Speaking of Silver Swans, these seemed to be aimed at the over 55s and attract dancers of all levels, including those who reached very high standards in their youth, so I rather think you’re doing them a disservice by assuming they all have short term memory loss.


*RAD Intermediate is one of the RAD’s Vocational Graded Exams, originally designed for aspiring professionals as they are more difficult and more technical than the Graded exams and include pointework.  Young students usually take Intermediate at around 13 when their pointework is established.  They work alongside the Grades, which are more “dancey”.  


Several times in your last post alone, you have been disrespectful and on occasion downright insulting towards ballet teachers and the RAD.  This is not acceptable here.   






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Regards Adult Ballet workshops I have to say I’m not very good at learning a variation from videos🙄 ....that is if I have never danced it before. 
I seem to learn best by doing it ... then the steps stick in my memory more. 
Ive done a few RAD adult Rep workshops now and I’ve always really enjoyed them ( usually not long enough at 2 hrs!!) and realised with a general mixed adult group of course things have to be adapted. I don’t always enjoy learning the ‘big’ ballet solos either that are offered on some workshops. With those it’s more of a struggle than a dance experience for me 😩
One of the RAD ones did a version of the Ugly sisters ( Ashton based one) from Cinderella and had such fun doing that ...one of my favourite ones...we also did a bit from the solo with the broom and were given some old fashioned brooms to dance with! 

On another we learned an adapted version of the Garland dance from Beauty and the teacher had her work cut out trying to organise the number of people there into the shapes etc but it was like being in a real corps de ballet... a bit of trial and error but it worked wonderfully in the end and got a real sense of achievement at the end of the session. 

I’d love to do a workshop based on the second Act of Coppelia with Swanilda and friends in the dolls workshop because that would involve a bit of acting and interacting which I enjoy ....so here’s hoping!!!... ..
Obviously if I was a dancer with terrific and reliable Advanced skills and good on pointe etc I might want a more Advanced workshop based on Odiles Black solo from Swan Lake but most Adults attracted to Rep workshops are usually around Grade 5 to Intermediate level with just a few more Advanced level dancers. 
The ENB workshops are similarly run ( though they do some aimed at 14-18 year olds who may have higher level skills am not sure) and they usually teach group dances like Snowflakes from Nutcracker always fun to do...especially on the Colisseum stage! 
If you ever had to work with a choreographer they are not going to give you a video and say I’ve created this now go off and learn it!!

Ideas come as they create WITH the dancers in front of them so you have to be able to learn on the spot( and get used to them changing it next time you meet!!) But be able to respond and contribute ideas as a dancer to the process. This is not something you have prepared beforehand but as a result of being in the moment of a Dance creative process. 

Its absolutely understandable that the RAD a huge worldwide organisation has to be protective of its standards and be sure anyone teaching any type of course in their name has the relevant qualifications. 
Im sure this would be true of any large organisation involved in the teaching of others not just in the Dance world. 



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The "Silver Swans" brand is a registered trademark of the RAD, and as such they have the absolute right to impose whatever conditions they want on who can or cannot teach the classes, whether you agree with them or not.


One of the terms and conditions states "Only teachers that have completed the Silver Swans Licensee Training sessions are able to lead Silver Swans classes. The License is non-transferable and does not apply to a Dance School as an entity."


Another states that "Silver Swans Licensees are not permitted to create merchandise using the Silver Swans Logo."


So in a nutshell, by not only allowing you to coach a group of "Silver Swans", culminating with having them perform as such in front of a Silver Swans examiner, and then actually issue them Silver Swans branded certificates, she would be in clear contravention of her licence and the Code of Conduct she would have signed up to. If someone from the RAD has pointed this out to her, (perhaps after she approached them to move forward with the idea) she would have had absolutely no choice but to pull the plug on you if she wanted to be able to continue as a Silver Swans licencee.


So what you actually did wrong was attempting to do what you were doing under the Silver Swans brand. If you had dropped the Silver Swans aspects completely and just held independent repertoire sessions (not that I would personally be in favour of you doing that, for the reasons already explained by Kate N & Anna C) or - far preferably - had the teacher teach them using your arrangements and choreography (so your role would be limited to that of choreographer/artistic director rather than coach) the outcome may well have been different.


Please do not take this post as a personal attack Michelle - it is not meant in that way at all - I am just trying to explain the probable reasons to you of why this has happened, because from your post you seem to be reading all kinds of horrible things into the situation that simply weren't there, and getting upset by them.


Just try and see things from the teacher's point of view - she initially let you do it in good faith, probably getting swept up in your tremendous enthusiasm for repertoire - which is one thing that comes through loud and clear in all your posts on here - and then found herself in a very sticky situation with the RAD. At the end of the day she had to put her career and her school's standing with the RAD first - that does not mean that she would have taken any pleasure in stopping you from doing your sessions, and indeed she is probably very sorry that she has been put in a position where she had to upset you so much.



Edited by youngatheart
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I agree wholeheartedly with Anna on this. Disagreeing with ballet teachers (or their organisations) does not make the teachers wrong, unprepared or unprofessional and it is very disrespectful to suggest that it does.  

At the end of the day here we are talking about a difference in views between an enthusiastic dancer who has never danced professionally and only took up ballet in recent years and professional teachers and organisations that have many years of experience and training. This is not meant to be insulting to Michelle either or her standard of dance but it is just unrealistic to assume that any large organisation of any kind would approve an unqualified person going in to represent them. I dont think stopping Michelle coaching the silver swans was done personally but as said above the teacher cannot be in breach of the terms and conditions of her own school's position.

I also find the tone towards Anna rather unpleasant - it comes accross as rather mocking with comments like:"I wonder what Anne C would make of that so far, would she disallow it". 

Anna simply explained the silver swan's licensing/entry and training requirements. It was not personal

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I've enjoyed several rep workshops with the RAD and no matter what level they suggest it is suitable for, there are always teachers/advanced students at one end of the scale and those who haven't danced in 30 years/can't do a balancé so the instructor has to change the choreography on the fly to adapt to everyone's skill levels and how quickly people can pick steps up. My favourite part is working with a different teacher, in lovely studios and a live pianist. I'm not too bothered by what we're actually being taught.


Northern Ballet are doing a Cinderella workshop in Milton Keynes in April. Has anyone any experience of them before? I did a La Corsaire workshop last year with ENB and that was very basic even for beginners' standards.

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If a workshop is well planned I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the piece of rep to be advertised. Some people won’t care but others might like to watch the piece and get a feel for style beforehand, some might not want to attempt a solo, or a group piece, or a character dance etc. I wouldn’t expect an exact replica  as it’s up to the teacher’s skill to adapt and make the choreography suitable for those present. That part needs to be done on the day!

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I took part in the ENB Swan Lake workshop a couple of years ago at the Colosseum which was very interesting and enjoyable to take part in.

Based on the level of Dancers attending the Class and Rep were geared more to Intermediate level of attainment.

The Workshop ended with the perhaps one and only (ever) demise of Rothbart in Act Two surrounded by a group of rebellious Swans !

I am reminded after the ending of an ENB Dress rehearsal of Swan Lake in Manchester when,costumed as Odette the Ballerina decided to practice Odile's 32 Fouettes.An interesting sight to see !

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I expect there is an element of teachers having to think on their feet in any workshop or masterclass as many things on the day can affect how things are done.  I recently went to a sketching class - it turned out we were all absolute beginners and the teacher had to start from scratch, which she hadn't planned on.

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5 hours ago, Peony said:

If a workshop is well planned I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the piece of rep to be advertised. Some people won’t care but others might like to watch the piece and get a feel for style beforehand, some might not want to attempt a solo, or a group piece, or a character dance etc. I wouldn’t expect an exact replica  as it’s up to the teacher’s skill to adapt and make the choreography suitable for those present. That part needs to be done on the day!


I agree, Peony, and I think on the whole that the ballet the workshop is based on is advertised, especially by ENB when they run workshops linked to performances (e.g. you know you’ll be learning rep from The Nutcracker).  Of course that is reasonable.  What isn’t always possible - or reasonable - is to expect to be sent a video of the exact variation so each attendee can memorise it in advance.  Mainly because the repertoire will almost always be adapted, and as you quite rightly say, sometimes on the fly, but also, things can change; Repetiteurs can be ill or unavailable so another teacher has to be found who may have to teach another piece of repertoire.   These things happen but hopefully everyone involved can still have fun and learn something.  ☺️

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Yes. I think the thing I enjoy about repertoire classes & workshops is that you learn a lot about technique as well as learning the choreography. It's what we do class for - to put the technique into practice. I've been lucky in my home studio in that my teacher - an ex-professional and really well-trained as a dancer and dance pedagogue - knows much of the great classical repertoire, and gives us bits in class as part of our centre work. We spent most of 2019, for example, in doing centre practice derived from Giselle. This wasn't repertoire as such, but integrated into the barre and centre practice of regular class.

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On 22/02/2020 at 13:24, Kate_N said:

Yes. I think the thing I enjoy about repertoire classes & workshops is that you learn a lot about technique as well as learning the choreography. It's what we do class for - to put the technique into practice. I've been lucky in my home studio in that my teacher - an ex-professional and really well-trained as a dancer and dance pedagogue - knows much of the great classical repertoire, and gives us bits in class as part of our centre work. We spent most of 2019, for example, in doing centre practice derived from Giselle. This wasn't repertoire as such, but integrated into the barre and centre practice of regular class.

exactly this 

if i were to wish to learn a solo for  my own purposes, (  e.g.  to perform as a solo in a show or to take to a competition that allows  adult  amateurs to  compete ) i would be studying and practicing in my own time  and working  with  a teacher  / pro  i knew and trusted  to  get it nailed and not relying on  any  rep workshops or retreats   ( unless and until   TBR ' a ballet in a week'  happens  - which has been mooted as an idea for H to  explore given the number of award  winning choreographers in 'tTam TBR') ...  i suppose i maight  draw inspiration from having done  a piece  at  one of these sorts of events , but  equally   that same inspiration could come from seeing  the piece performed by someone else  live  or on video  ...  

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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.

Edited by Anna C
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Hello Michelle,


May I draw your attention to this post:  https://www.balletcoforum.com/topic/22271-from-the-moderators-topics-that-are-off-limits/?tab=comments#comment-312066


I have therefore edited your post to remove mention of one of the schools in the aforementioned post.


Kind regards,


Anna C on behalf of Balletcoforum Moderators




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7 hours ago, Michelle_Richer said:

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.

Well, no. Pedogogy  means the theory, philosophy and methodologies of  teaching. A pedagogue is simply a teacher, following whatever philosophy and methodology that particular teacher follows. That might mean that they are formal and structured in their approach or equally, if such is their philosophy, learner-centred, experimental, collaborative...

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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.   


Edited by Michelle_Richer
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I Think the mods will decline to comment on your last point Michelle. I will put my personal viewpoint as I’m not involved with any discussions with any of the schools! There are many schools freely discussed on here, both positive and negative. If a school have Complained regarding negative comments and asked to have them removed that’s fair enough but it would be unfair to only delete negative comments and leave the positive as that’s not a balanced view. It’s unfair to the other schools who are freely discussed. It’s also not going to be possible for one of the moderators to screen every comment to see if it’s acceptable to the school or not! You can’t have your cake and eat it....!

as regards your pointe shoes, has anyone had a look in person? Dancique in Birmingham are excellent and used to adult dancers too. I find a box liner in the narrower foot works well.

Your studio must be amazing, I find with a proper, sprung, floor the potential for injury is much less, also doesn’t really hurt if you fall on your behind!

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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..

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.




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.  



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  • 3 weeks later...

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.


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  • 3 weeks later...

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.



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  • 3 weeks later...


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.



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.



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.



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.



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  • 2 weeks later...

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.


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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

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You are definitely allowed to have someone in your own house if they are working for you, but whether you can travel to another location (studio/ hall etc) for your lesson I have no idea. All as clear as mud! 

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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.

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