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Michelle_Richer

Simply Adult Ballet

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2 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

Wowser! Grade 8 at 81 (ignoring the Daily Mail’s error about the RAD’s “most advanced exam”) - that’s a brilliant achievement! Many congratulations to that lady.  Wonderful. 

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6 hours ago, Anna C said:

 (ignoring the Daily Mail’s error about the RAD’s “most advanced exam”)

 

Well, Grade 8 is the highest Graded level. And would we really expect the Mail to know about and/or understand the Vocational Grades? 😉

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Amazing to be motivated to take exams at 81 and to put in the hours required to pass it well!! 

 

Perhaps an an example of continue to use it or lose it!

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OK so I had a dance-related dream last night, with the extra feature that I can remember the choreography:

 

prepare croisé 4th

tombé pas de bourré

piqué arabesque, arms to 3rd

sissoné fermé

repeat 2x, adding a small cambré

attitude derriére, on a relévé, allongé

ditto a la seconde

grande battement

failli through and repeat twice from the tombé

do a waltz turn with an allongé arm

second side

 

Also there was a whole staging - two parallel lines of big wooden boxes/sheds/some kind of cubical, light frame structure, set down in a hole, with the audience seeing it from above and behind my right shoulder. There may have been more dancers on the far side of the boxes; I was heading down the lane between them. I don't remember any music, but it wasn't silent as such, just missing the audio. The boxes are definitely nicked from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the down in a hole thing from Pina Bausch. Various bits of the choreography came up in class recently but I think the little cambré came from the documentary on Nureyev.

 

I am crushed that my subconscious mind is such a plagiarist.

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I have rarely had dance related dreams but around six years ago when I returned to ballet classes after a 20 year gap and could hardly get of the floor at all in jumps I had a couple of dreams fairly close together where I was jumping high enough to touch the ceiling ....flying round the room virtually ....and of course it seemed perfectly normal in the dream. 

A typical wish fulfilment dream I suppose....or ...was my subconscious saying I should have gone in for Astrophysics instead all those years ago! 

Though not long after these dreams I badly sprained my Achilles which took me straight out again for six months.....after overdoing the jumping in a workshop .......so perhaps an unheeded warning after all: Don't even think of trying for the ceiling just yet ....just keep your feet on the ground ....or there will be trouble!

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, LinMM said:

I had a couple of dreams fairly close together where I was jumping high enough to touch the ceiling ....flying round the room virtually ....and of course it seemed perfectly normal in the dream. 

 

Funnily enough, I quite often have dreams too in which I perform incredible entrechats (dix or douze!) in which I'm hovering, virtually flying.

 

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They were pleasant dreams I remember they had a nice feeling about them. 

Unfortunately didn't help me get much higher off the floor for real.....though am slightly better now than back then! 

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I have “hovering” dreams a lot, but they’re nothing to do with dance, just getting around from A to B!

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Six o'clock penché often feature in my dreams. As do pirouettes that I just keep turning and not come down. I'd slow down and mentally think "let's turn a few more" and I'd magically do another 3 or 4 before stopping in retiré and *then* coming down.

 

 

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Since visiting to my Physio at Northern Ballet I managed to get a referral from my GP back to see the same Orthopaedic surgeon that organised my MRI scan. The appointment arrived in the post soon after, only to be followed a few days later with over 20 duplicates of a cancellation and rebooking of another Orthopaedic specialist on the same date.

 

That has now taken place and that person has concurred with my physio’s assessment and has also said he can not offer a clinical solution to the rupture of the muscle as it has been too long since the injury. Initially he checked my strength pushing the leg forward and back but its height was far less than 45 degrees and he thought that was OK. I then demonstrated the bunching of the muscle with a slow sustained lift at not much more than 45degrees, the muscle bunching into a solid lump soon occurred and even when I dropped the leg, it took a second or too to subside and still considerable painful.

 

I have ask for an ultra scan to be done and he has agreed, he has also suggested I ask the ultra scan people to scan it during the severe cramping. I now have a date for that too in early February as it couldn’t be done on the day. I will also be asking for the images of the ultra scan to help define properly  the best course of action in strengthening what’s left with my Physio at Northern Ballet.

 

As it is my physio gave me a set of exercises to help with strengthening, I have combined them with various other exercises which include strengthening for pointe, which is really where the observation was first made by my teacher( the differences between the two legs) . As time has gone on we have taken a more holistic approach by incorporating some of exercises learnt from Ballet West last year and my also stretch class with Sander Blommaert. Although its only part way done, its being documented, set to music and ultimately each exercise will illustrate the muscle groups being targeted. At the moment this program take around 2 hours to complete, but its more likely to be nearer  3 by the time we are finished, so I’m not likely to run it for more than 3 times a week. For the moment I’m doing this in conjunction with one of my teachers but ultimately with the help of my Physio at Northern Ballet too.

 

 

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Was nice to see the mirrors open for Barbara Peters on The Greatest Dancer this weekend - our household was definitely willing her on!

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Well it is lovely to see an 80 year old dancing in this way .....have seen other videos of her dancing....however odd for her to be on this show ....slightly incongruous with the title of the show ...The Greatest Dancer! 

Are there categories according to age on this show then? 

There is a £50,000 prize for winning this!! Though I suppose at 80 ...if she were to win ....she could set up some Grant for a young person needing the money for training etc.

Im not watching the show any more as it all seems a bit of a farce....who is it aimed at? Some very unlikely people got through in the first week so decided the show is at best badly named at worse a bit of old rubbish! 

Not that Barbara Peters was rubbish of course but what is she doing in this show? 

 

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This coming Thursday (7th Feb) is the day for my ultrasound scan to confirm / or not the detached muscle above my right knee. The exercises given to me by my Physio in Northern Ballet certainly seam the help with strengthening, I can now developpe with the right leg to almost 90 degree and hold it for a good many counts.

 

However something appears to have bitten me in the bum. Recently I’ve started to learn Juliet’s solo for a rep workshop I’m doing with Sarah Lamb, most of it was going fine until I came across a turn which is repeated 3 times, the correct name of the turn I’m really not sure of. It appears to be a Grand Rond de jame en l’air en dehors en turnant, although many artists performing this piece tend to take the gesturing leg through an ellipse in terms of height. Although I can just about get the height initially in devant, but with the detached muscle in rotation I can’t sustain it and the movement looks awful. After struggling for quite a while, I had the bright idea of launching the Rond from just in front of second in an ellipse and then taking round to the back.  I know it a bit of a cheat but it gives me some additional height above 90 degrees and a nice shape.

 

Wow I thought that will get me by, however on the next day (Friday) I was starting to get pain in the right leg around the knee. Saturday was worse and Sunday today not much better. Too be fair I have had this before about 4 years ago when I was doing a piece from Le Corsair which had Fouette’s in it, that needed a trip to the physio too, and it turns out I was overturning (going too far round with the gesturing leg before whipping it in to retire). The down side of that was it took along time to clear up.

 

Monday I have a 2 hour rep session on this piece as I’m at the Ultra Scan department on Thursday which is normally my second session. I will check out with my teacher other options as it may be possible to treat it a bit like a grand pirouette and rotate the body during the turn, rather than afterwards.

 

I just hope this incident doesn’t mask the detached muscle in the scan due to possible additional swelling.

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17 hours ago, Michelle_Richer said:

Grand Rond de jame en l’air en dehors en turnant,

 

Bloody hell. On intensive week last year we did the grand rond en l'air in every barre, which was handy as it was in one of the rep pieces, but turning with it sounds challenging. Not as much as turning *against* it would be, but enough.

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I have to say I don't understand the step Michelle is talking about .....she will have to show me next week.

I can only envisage a sort of ronde de Jambe en l'air turning coming round into an attitude to finish off the turn ....if it's turning that is 

or I suppose just extending into arabesque so that you finish with an arabesque turning ....but it would be only possible to do it once in my view not a repeat step as say fouetté turns are......you would not be able to bring the arabesque leg through quickly enough to start the next ronde de Jambe en l'air if it was repeated.

Are you talking about Italian fouettés Michelle? 

Edited by LinMM

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Can do a renverse with grand round de jambe movement but you’re probably right with Italian fouetté!

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I think I need to see a demonstration to see exactly what Michelle means!

It could be she is describing a combination of steps/ moves which appear to be like one movement. 

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Thank you Lily_883 you are absolutely right, furthermore that is the Youtube clip we were give to base our rep on, but as always I tend to base mine on a number, as there are few aspects of this that are not quite as nice as they may have been.

 

 

Thank goodness today the right knee seems much better and after a 2 hour stint on this, so far tonight there are no ill effects.

 

Originally the combination was gallop upstage with the right leg in front, step left in front and renversé to face the audience, then grand rond the right leg front to back creating an ellipse with height with its crest just after a la seconde, left arm would follow the leg by bringing it up through first , through 5th  on the crest in a sort of circular port de bra (see the clip), on landing the gesturing leg derriere, then another renversé to face upstage for next gallop.

 

Today’s version for me which I guess has just developed by feel rather than design although we did try a couple of ideas. The rond starts with the gesturing foot on the ground but slightly over-crossed with the supporting leg, the action of the opposite arm and for want of a better word flinging the leg up to the crest of the ellipse give it some additional acceleration to achieve a respectable height. Then turning like a pirouette on the fall, thus removing the need for the renversé to orientate the body upstage for next gallop. With this I had no ill effects on the knee thank goodness and the who movement doesn't look unattractive.

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Just to share with you all i was invited to dance in the USA at the Ballet Beyond Borders competition, as a late 30's adult it was something of a special opportunity but I still took a little convincing.

We landed at 23:58 on Thursday & got to the hotel at 01:30 ish, at about 04:30 I was awake (curse you jetlag!) & at 10am I was ferried to the studio to begin to learn the 10 minute dance the choreographer had been working on since May last year, the next 4 days were spent dancing 3-4 hours a day with about an hour & a half dedicated to learning the dance, luckily I was able to pick it up quite quickly, Monday was a rest day then Tuesday was stage walk through, we had a full grand concert piano on stage we had to check our positioning with.

Wed-Fri the competitions started so I made the most of the classes, it was rather amazing to be in class with professional dancers from Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet & Ballet BC to name a few, I was a bit intimidated going into the senior / professional class even more so when Charla Genn (who I'd taken class with in the previous week) told me I wouldn't be able to do all that was coming but to just sit out what I couldn't & listen / learn when I sat, it was good advice, I did well at the barre but about 3 or 4 movements into the centre things started to get very advanced so I swallowed my pride & sat out rather than trying to force it & ending up injured.

 

There's so much I could ramble on about but I'll save you the details, At the gala when we were getting ready there was none of the emotion I felt the first time I performed on stage I was just super focused on doing the best I could & not screwing up, the dance went well & we got an amazing applause which was so very kind, I was awkwardly waiting for the curtain to close but got waved up from the wings to take a second bow.

It took a long time to process all the emotions, we flew back the day after the performance which wasn't the cleverest idea but once home there were plenty of tears & I have so many amazing memories I'll treasure. I may be invited to another in LA later in the year where I intend to dance Gamzatti & this dance again.

gala3small.jpg.fc7c7eb9eae593eaab2a35ab96011c01.jpgeveryonesmall.jpg.db5da912cf47c58762185c264115e3dc.jpg

 

Edited by sophie_rebecca
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Hello Sophie-Rebecca, thanks for sharing this with us.  How absolutely fantastic for you!

 

Please feel free to ramble on, I have loved reading about this.

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Thanks for the clip of Ferri dancing Lily 883.

Not sure what to call that movement at around 38-40 in .......not a true renverse ....a sort of grande ronde de Jambe en L'air into pas de bourree travelling backwards so no arabesque or attitude turn following the ronde. 

 

That looks like a truely amazing experience Sophie Rebecca!! I've not heard of Ballet Beyond Borders before.

When you say it was a competition were you taking part in that .....or dancing as an additional act in the gala show these comps  often have? Was it an Anglo American thing or world wide competitors.  Wonderful achievement anyway. 

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This is a renverse ...there is a lot of instruction and advice etc in this video but at several points she does a nice renverse ....the body has to curve around into attitude for this move! So Ferri not really doing that in the Juliet dance! 

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It’s more like a demi- rond isn’t it as it doesn’t look like she goes to the back at all, and no beautiful back movement that you get in a renverse. Perhaps it doesn’t have a name, it’s just a piece of choreography!

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5 hours ago, LinMM said:

That looks like a truely amazing experience Sophie Rebecca!! I've not heard of Ballet Beyond Borders before.

When you say it was a competition were you taking part in that .....or dancing as an additional act in the gala show these comps  often have? Was it an Anglo American thing or world wide competitors.  Wonderful achievement anyway. 

 

It really was! yes it's a 3 day competition topped off with a Gala, in the morning of the gala there's lots of talks on a diverse range of subjects like a dance highlighting the missing & murdered native american women & human trafficking pandemic in north america to diversity in dance then there's a gala made up of guest artists (I think that was technically me but feels weird to be referred to as an artist!) & the best of the competition dancers, there were dancers from Italy, Romania, Israel, USA, Brazil, Portugal, China, Korea & that's just the ones I can remember, I was the only Brit there sadly but it meant I got to carry the union jack onto stage at the end which was cool 😀

I've said they need an adult ex pro & amateur category for next year 😉

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I went to the Ultrasound department on Thursday and met the lady that was going to do the test, she said she needed to get at my knee, I said no problem I have my leotard on and went to remove my shoes, she said quite abruptly you don’t need to take those off just take your jeans down. I also informed her that my orthopaedic surgeon said the scan should be done after my leg had been lifted to highlight the muscle swelling/ irruption.  She said I know what to do I have the orthopaedic surgeon instructions, which she waved in front of me, the only thing I thought I saw was a grade 5 rupture, but looking at the grades of  muscle ruptures / tears there are only 3 grades which I found out later:

 

Grade 1: Mild damage to individual muscle fibers (less than 5% of fibers) that causes minimal loss of strength and motion. These injuries generally take about 2-3 weeks to improve.

 

Grade 2: More extensive damage with more muscle fibers involved. However, the muscle is not completely ruptured. These injuries present with significant loss of strength and motion. These injuries may require 2-3 months before a complete return to athletics.

 

Grade 3: Complete rupture of a muscle or tendon. These can present with a palpable defect in the muscle or tendon. However, swelling in the area may make this difficult to appreciate. These injuries sometimes require surgery to reattach the damaged muscle and tendon.

 

So I guess my interpretation from the brief glance at her guidance must have been incorrect.

 

However there was a test that was carried out by my orthopaedic surgeon is a muscle strength test which he used by asking me to push my leg against the resistance of this hand and then also pull back on to it. This has a scale of 0 to 5 for muscle activation:

 

That was the point at which I indicated that particular test didn’t illustrate the problem I had and that’s where I showed my orthopaedic surgeon the irruption of the muscle swelling with extension.

 

 

The Ultrasound lady ask me to sit on the side of this examination bed with my jeans around my ankles and my shoes still on, she started to run the ultra scan sensor over my upper leg, then she ask me to raise it. I felt really stupid as I had to raise both feet, again I tried to take my shoes off, but she insisted they stay on. With the leg only just raise there was slight bunching of the muscle, I really didn’t think it had done the test justice but she said she could see the tear, it was on the top quad muscle the “Rectus Femoris”, from her manor I was beginning to think it was treatable, but when I tried to probe into what she had found she clammed up and said her report would be submitted to my orthopaedic surgeon. I then ask her if I could have a copy of the report together with images of the scan.   She asked why did I need it and what was it for, it seamed as if she didn’t want me to have it, but I insisted, she then went see someone about it, I guess to take advice.

 

When she returned I was told there would be a form to fill in and I would need to go to the reception at X-Ray and they would sort it out for me.

 

Even that wasn’t strait forward, but it’s now on its way

 

Sophie

Very well done on your performance in America, you certainly have come along way. I’m so envious of your adventure. I also love your choice for the next one “Gamzatti”, that a gorgeous piece I took that up to Ballet West about 3 years ago.

 

Sadly I missed an opportunity to dance in a Gala that would really have loved too, It was to be at the end of a course run by teachers of the Vaganova Academy and also some of Vaganova model students, initially this was to be held by Pro Viva La Dance Ballet Academy in  Mikkeli Finland. I waited ages for them to confirm the date as we had previously met their Artistic Director in Saint Petersburg at an International Dance Council event were our company “The Alive Ballet Company” performed extracts from the ballet Don Quixote at their Gala. Unfortunately when the date came through it was the week immediately after our summer show in London, so that was a non-starter. The Pro Viva La Dance Ballet Academy had a later course, this time in Saint Petersburg, unfortunately that got cancelled. Beyond that we lost too many dancers to fund a similar trip, but I still keep in contact with that Academy as I also do by remaining a member of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO. I know they have events in the USA but I think they are only in Florida.

 

 

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The plot thickens; originally both my orthopaedic surgeon and my physio suggested too much time had passed since the injury for any clinical solution. Basically I had resigned myself to that providing the diagnosis was accurate, hence my insistence of the Ultra-scan to confirm the diagnosis.

 

I now have the report and Ultra-scan images too

 

The essential part of the report said: “Scanned over the anterior right thigh with leg both relaxed and extended reveals a small area of scar tissue measuring approximately 5mm by 11mm within the anterior medial aspect of the rectus femoralis muscle. On dynamic scan the muscle moves as a whole.

I note the injury was 18months ago, appearances suggest a healing partial tear of the rectus femoralis muscle.

 

Although I was unhappy with the way the scan with an extended leg took place, as far as I was concerned the matter was closed. However today I have a further appointment with the Orthopaedic surgeon on the 4th March which is totally unexpected.

 

I guess if nothing else he can try and explain why full leg extension wasn’t used which produces the irrupted swelling, which takes time to recover when relaxed.

 

 

Juliet’s Variation

 

I’ve come across quite a challenging little turns piece that spans 1.08 to 1.19, however I am using a slightly more elegant clip to the one posted by Lily_883, its basically a gallop into a step over (for pivoting foot), for a one and a half turn en dehors pirouette where the arms are taken to fifth, but the end of the turn ends with the gesturing led extended en l air and the arms open to high “V” (palms down). My issue is controlling the stop without a sort of juddering finish which I guess is a little too much power to dissipate during breaking through the floor, needless to say too little and you simple don’t complete the turn.  Any advice would be most welcome, as this piece is virtually done and is most likely to be incorporated in the rep I take up to Ballet West in the summer.

 

This Saturday Adrian and I will be visiting Ballet West at there performance of Nutcracker in Edinburgh, at the same time we should get this years date set for our intensive week with them during the summer.

 

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A couple of weeks ago I managed to visit my physio at Northern Ballet, I think she was a little shocked at the way I had beefed her exercises up a bit, consequently I have come away with twice as many exercise routines as I started. While at Northern Ballet I also managed to take a class in, but unfortunately the train arrived too late for me to make the morning workshop (Victoria) on Leeds Grand Theatre stage.

 

I have also increased my local body conditioning classes plus our Sunday BBT toning class after rehearsal is also back. Hopefully partner stretching will soon follow and my splits improvement.

 

We are doing a couple of performances with BBT at the BBO studio on Saturday 1st June at 14:00 and 16:00, so not many weeks left, which means we shall still be doing a rehearsal on Easter Sunday, with a lot of rep to catch up on from September last year, some of which we haven’t danced for a very long time. One of the drawbacks of two new teachers I guess, but never the less we have to catch up.

 

Initially I ask if I could perform some of my own solo’s which I will need to show my artistic director, there is an opportunity on the 7th April but I certainly will not be ready as my intention was to perform 4 solo’s. Apart from playing catch-up as I was away in Liverpool last weekend, my other focus at the moment is on prep for Juliet’s Solo Workshop on the 13-14 April with Sarah Lamb.

 

It feels like rep is coming out my ears as I am still going through rep for Ballet West in August and organising costumes and props for both myself and Adrian. The only real difficulty I have is acquiring a replica “Lute” for Paris(Adrian) from Romeo and Juliet, I guess if push comes to shove we will have to make one.

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