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Michelle_Richer

Simply Adult Ballet

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Following on from my last post the week running up to Sunday the 7th April was extremely hectic as I had intended to focus mainly the Juliet solo in preparation fort the workshop with Sarah Lamb on the 13th and 14th, however I was told I needed to demonstrate my Le Corsaire solo on the 7th, it was a must. After Mondays one-to-one rep session which was split between Le Corsaire and Juliet, it was clear Le Corsaire still needed work, Thursdays rep session was extended to 2 hours and dedicated to Le Corsaire and I still wasn’t totally comfortable with.

 

I danced it on the 7th at BBT, I guess as a bit of an audition and its been accepted for inclusion in the show, although it still needs some polishing running up to the show. From the rep we have learnt during rehearsal this has been split between the dancer and finally each of the dancers we asked if there was anything else they wanted to offer for the show. I added Odette’s solo from Act 2 of Swan Lake and The Russian Dance for older Russian versions of Swan Lake, I offered to dance these at our next rehearsal after Easter.

 

Later that week the cast list came out and my 2 additional solo’s were not on it, my first thought was they had been rejected. The week up to the workshop was mostly dedicated to Juliet’s solo.

 

During the meet and greet with my Artistic Director at the Workshop I took the opportunity of asking about my 2 additional solo’s, he thought I understood they were ok providing I demonstrated them on the 28th as previously arranged and the cast list wasn’t actually cast in stone as I thought.

 

Odette’s solo I guess is most familiar of the two to me as I only danced it as a treat to the local Silver Swans on the week they broke up for Easter, it went down so well some of the Swans have asked me to bring and dance more of the solo’s I’ve been working on, and by agreement with the teacher it is to be one a month.

 

The Russian Dance I'm a lot less familiar with, I think its been around 3 to 4 years since I last danced it and the muscle memory really has gone out of my body. So needless to say I have a heavy focus on relearning this one for the 28th.

 

The BBT Repertoire workshop on Juliet’s solo turned out to be a really fabulous workshops one of the best I have ever attended. Firstly  the advance information included the daily schedule and a youtube link as an example of the solo, but of course the choreography does differ between companies, as this did, but only in a few not too significant details, but challenging never the less.

It allowed those that wanted too, to become familiar with the main structure of the choreography prior to the workshop, for me that worked particularly well as it gave me the confidence on the final day at our sharing performance to dance this solo alone.

Although we were told we were to perform this solo in groups of no more than three at a time, I danced it on my own; furthermore I went first and loved it. But at the same time I can’t say it was easy.

 

Although we all got lots of help and personal correction from Sarah Lamb during the teaching/rehearsal phase, when it came down to our performances Sarah only focussed on the positives with complements which was brilliant for those that didn't do quite so well.

 

For me I got told off before I started (in a nice way of course). I started just left of centre stage, mainly because the rep travelled initially to the left, but Sarah indicated I should be at the up-stage left corner as all other solo’s start there. Firstly I knew that wasn’t true but was the most common starting point, also it would not allow me to travel left. I mentioned I had to have room to travel to the left. So Sarah came out and danced the first phrase in front of me, however she started about ¾ to stage left and about 2/3 upstage. My rational for starting close to centre stage, its necessary in small studios like my own and that of my local rep coach to have suffient room to travel to stage left for that choreography. I then took Sarah suggested prep point and proceeded to dance through the solo, but could help but to give Sarah a large flamboyant full down curtsy after my performance.

 

The final icing on the cake came when we all got a certificate for the workshop presented by Sarah and our photo’s taken with her.

 

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I can report Renato Paroni has finally done it and led the last Thursday class before starting his new gig. I think I managed to take all the various last classes, but this was apparently the one. He will still be leading Tuesday nights at Central School.

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I see Sarah Lamb is involved with another rep workshop this Sunday at The Place, hosted by The London Performance Company, Sarah is teaching and coaching Cinderella solo Act 2. Unfortunately for me Sunday is rehearsal at BBT and we have only 2 rehearsals left before out summer show.

I would have really liked to have done this one, as some years ago I attended a RAD rep workshop that was originally down to teach this solo, but on the day they changed it to something that was said to be more fun. That wasn’t why I was there.

 

BBT are also hosting a rep workshop on the 24th and 25th of August  with  guest teacher Royal Ballet first soloist Tierney Heap who will be teaching and coaching the Queen of the Willis variation from Giselle. Sadly I will miss that one too as it the week after I return back from Ballet West, so no time to prep for it.

 

Now with only 2 rehearsals left before the show, things feel they are getting a lot more serious,  I have removed any unwanted clutter from the mirrors in my own studio and finally have the camera system working that give full floor coverage. One aspect that I never planned or foreseen was using my local Silver Swans as my Audience for serious dress rehearsal runs, I am now down to performing a solo in costume every other week, during the break between their ballet and tap class, I guess for me it does make me work that bit harder not only in front of the Silver Swans but their teacher too, at least I am performing in-front of friends, so it wouldn’t be all the world if it went a bit pair-shaped. Their applause is always very welcome. Another advantage is there studio is much larger than that of my own and better replicate the environment I will be performing in on Show day, also occasionally I will have to still consider hiring studio space for those pieces that travel a lot, in fact I’m having to hire the large GoDance studio in Sleaford this Monday for one of the solos I’m performing on show-day.

 

 

 

 

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Last Sunday was a full dress rehearsal for both our summer shows on Saturday the 1st of June. No corrections as such for my solo’s for the last two weeks, however one of the costume change time between a corps piece I’m dancing and my second solo in our second show is a bit tight, but I now have a helper in place to assist with that one.

 

I think for me my first solo is the one I find most challenging in terms energy and stamina required. It’s the first three and a half minutes of  Odalisque PDT from Le Corsaire danced as a solo, which I have recast for Medora, rather than one of the Odalisque. The piece has quite a high content of grand allegro particularly towards the end.

 

Although I have enough stamina to complete the piece, I do have to hold back earlier on some earlier movements to conserve energy that really annoys me. Very close to the beginning there is a series of temps leve's, I really do want to “give them more welly” so to speak, similarly with a phrase that contains a couple of pas de chats, I really would like to make them much bigger, but that will deplete my energy for later on. There is also a couple of crossings from stage left to stage right and back again that contain a grand jete through second in both directions, again I would like them higher and flatter.

The real killer is the last section which commences with three grand jete/ arabesque combinations; inside that end piece is also an entrechat-changement- entrechat followed by a  temps leve out and a temps leve back and then the entrechat-changement- entrechat is repeated.

 

If I attempt to dance the solo through twice in quick succession then the second set of entrechat-changement- entrechat is where I run out of steam. I mentioned this issue to my local rep coach and she suggested going on to porridge for breakfast as it releases energy more slowly, she is an active marathon runner as swears by it. If anyone else has any useful tips in extending stamina for grand allegro, I would be most grateful.

 

In an effort to help improve elevation for the entrechat’s and build strength I decided to do a large sustainable repetition of changements 3 times a day, using an 8 x 8 count music twice through for 128 jumps, which gave me a daily total close on 400, I ran that for about a week without too much trouble , I guess curiosity got the better of me and I went for a double in one go for around 250 changement, that was really hard and I had to give up with only two or three short. The next day I could feel a presents in my left knee, I wasn’t sure if it was down to overuse of something in  that solo, so needless to say for the time being I have ceased them and for this remaining week and just doing a maintenance run of all my show pieces  a couple of times a day with a real push on Thursday when I hire the large studio at GoDance in Sleaford again.

 

Although the Le Corsaire solo is quite tiring I do recover quite quickly and in reality there are several pieces danced by other dancers before my next Corps piece and it’s at a far more leisurely pace.

 

After the show my full focus is on Ballet West, I then have to add to the Odalisque the 3 solo’s and the end section where all three dancers would normally come together, making me a fourth solo. The initial intention was to add all this together which would extend out to close on 10minutes, I can only try it and see, but its not all the world if I extend the breaks between the solos or alter the order as I am taking a total of 10 pieces up to Ballet West this year

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It seams an age has passed since our BBT show even thought is only a month ago. It also seams quite a wrench from the regular rehearsal routine every Sunday and the associated preps on Fridays and Saturdays too. Initially I though it would be great to get the weekends back to spend and enjoy with my Adrian, but in reality I couldn’t help keep looking at the time on Sundays and thinking where I would have been at that time if I were at rehearsal that day, it felt as if I was something was missing.

 

Sadly as our Founder and Artistic Director has taken up full time teaching at Elmhurst, so will no longer be running the BBT performance group. For me this break feels like the end of an era although my period with BBT a little less than a year.

 

My focus now is on Ballet West and the 11 pieces of rep we will be taking up in August, the remainder of the year will be focused on body condition and strengthening for pointe and no Christmas performance to get ready for.

 

However there has been a strange turn of events, the free weekends have partially disappeared as Adrian prefers to do his rehearsal with me for Ballet West on Saturday mornings when he is fresh, rather than after work on Fridays, at least we still have Sundays free.

In a away it has worked out for the better, as it difficult to keep so many pieces of rep in current body memory, to that end it leave me free for Wednesdays and Fridays for full run-throughs of those pieces that are considered finished, as a contingency I can always do full run-throughs of the pieces Adrian is in, rather than just focus only his part.

Another event that has developed in an unforeseen way is with the Silver Swans I attend, originally our teacher choreographed a short piece for our group based on the opening music of Swan Lake, it was developed slowly over a few weeks, but sadly not everyone was on board as it was suggested to be our showcase video for our patrol, I also asked our teacher if she would like me to dance Odette’s solo from act2 as part of it, and her response was would you, but as time went on the momentum diminished with not every one on board to be videos. However in the mean time some of the ladies suggested I bring some of my performance pieces in and dance them during the 15 minute interval between the ballet and tap classes, I mentioned this to our teacher and she was very supportive as this would demonstrate where exercises in ballet class leads, at the time I suggested I would dance a solo for them each month. For me it was a captive audience that gave me just a bit more motivation to get things polished a little more, however I have been taken over by events, instead of me having a captive audience I feel more like a captive dancer as I’m now performing between the classes every other week, and even on my weeks off I’m often asked if I have something for them that week.

About 3 weeks ago I had one of the ladies assisted me with the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain variation from Sleeping Beauty, she was the queen. I had taken a crown and a royal cloak in for her as her costume, I also taught her the gestures I wanted her to carry out during my dance, she did them beautifully and took the final bow with me to our captive audience, she was really chuffed, it was a delight to see. I know I have won a few more over but unfortunately I don’t have time to adapt anything until I’m back from Ballet West next term. Last week we had a man join us Swans, sadly he wasn’t a seasoned dancer, however it was my week to dance Juliet’s solo from Act 1 which excludes the short partnering section at the end, however just by chance he stood and watched at down stage left corner, which was where Romeo would normally stand with his lute, and of course made to flirt with him as Juliet does in that piece, just loved it.

 

However there is now a fly in the ointment, A week ago I started a new body conditioning class using Swiss balls, is broadly similar to PBT but very basic, when I initially enquired I ask if they did Adult ballet, the answer was yes but she had only one dancer, she seamed quite concerned and hoped that wouldn’t put me off. The class is on the same day and time as the Silver Swans, but as there is only one dancer I wondered if it were possible for the time of this new class to be moved.

 

I attended the fitness class, there were only 4 or 5 off us, I then ask about the ballet, was her dancer one of the ladies at the fitness class. No was the answer, so I asked the name of this dancer in case I knew them. It was my very first ballet teacher and the ballet class was for Advance 2 Cecchetti. I must say that put me on my guard somewhat. I did attend there ballet class and thoroughly  enjoyed it, ok many of the terms were unfamiliar and the barre was a bit unusual, in any case I was placed between them as I always had someone to follow, we did about 45 minutes of barre and a similar time in the centre. I mentioned the fact my classes clashed, but sadly commitments of teacher and our other dancer wouldn’t allow them to move it, that meant I couldn’t really continue it, our teacher said I would be welcome any time. To be fair they really couldn’t have been nicer, which leave me between a rock and a hard place as I really would like to continue that class and also the relationship I have built up with the teachers and the lovely ladies of the Silver Swans. A real quandary.

 

For the moment my focus has to stay on Ballet West, at least we have nearly all the costumes and props covered, the lute for Romeo (Adrian) was a bit of a problem so it has been substituted for a Mandolin, Adrian’s Slave-master costume for Le Corsaire is being collected on Friday as we had a successful fitting 2 weeks ago and all seamed well.

 

One piece of exiting news from my Artistic Director of the Alive Ballet Company , She is organising our sister contemporary company to perform in the Adelaide Fringe 2020. She is also to form a local ballet company in Australia and when she does she will be offering our old classical group of dancers the opportunity to perform out there, I’m really looking forward to that but I guess it will probably 2021 before that happens.

 

 

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That's a long way to go to perform Michelle!! Better start saving now!! Combine it with a round Australia trip!! 

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On ‎03‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 20:34, LinMM said:

That's a long way to go to perform Michelle!! Better start saving now!! Combine it with a round Australia trip!! 

 

Well I wasn’t thinking of doing a one way trip and yes I will need to save as I would like to take Adrian along with me, he is not so keen on going so I will have to pay, but who knows my ballet fan club may come along too, that is my brother and his other half as they both travel out to Australia once or twice a year, she has some close relative out there. I'm not sure but I think they are located somewhere near Adelaide, so who knows, but fingers crossed. I know they both came to see me with LAB when we performed Le Corsaire and also when we performed “Paquita” with Alive.

 

Did you managed to book the two workshops with ENB at the Coliseum, I’m in both, just watching out for the one at Milton Keynes to come on sale, which is also Le Corsaire.

 

Alive are also trying to arrange a classical workshop in London, this time for September, I did offer to help arrange it but haven’t had a reply yet, but I will keep you posted.

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Yes booked both the ENB workshops. I hope the Alive Workshop is towards the end of September .....the first half of the month looks like I'm more or less constantly on the move all over the place ...up North out East and down South west ....literally!! 

The ENB by the way have just sent out a survey on what classes people may be interested in doing when they ( finally) move to City Island  so it does look like they will eventually be continuing with similar classes to Markova House....one of the questions was would you be interested in drop in classes which would be great if you can do that regularly as often I can only attend some London classes fortnightly depending on the day etc.

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Hi Linmm

 

I haven’t heard any more from Alive.

 

I also complete the ENB questionnaire, I guess it all depends on the number of classes and the spaces taken. When I first joined them most classes were over subscribed so were limited to something 27 dancers a class. Most class members were existing student as they got the advantage of priority booking before it was released to the general public, then you had to book for the whole term. There was the odd class that had space, which eventually was made available for drop in.

I know in the past there were some existing dancers that were late in there bookings, loosing their place as there were also dancers moving up from a lower grade.

 

Normally I wouldn’t be interested in drop in, but when I’m clear with prep for Ballet West, I wouldn’t mind doing the odd class at ENB to satisfy my curiosity in the new building.

Otherwise I really don’t want to take anything extra on this side of Christmas, I have already said yes to starting part time so to speak with Cecchetti Advanced 2, although I have no intention of following the exam root. I’ve only 2 weeks left with the Silver Swans before they break up, I’m performing the Odalisques 2nd solo for them on their last week, after that I have a continuous run on Cecchetti, as that teacher is not stopping .  In the new term I’m alternating each week between the Swans and Cecchetti and see how it goes.

I’m just waiting to hear from the Cecchetti Facilities secretary at the ISTD as I couldn’t find a Cecchetti Advanced 2 DVD although my teacher said it existed, the ISTD shop do stock the Cecchetti Advanced 1.

 

If I haven’t found a place in an Amateur performing company in the New Year then it’s quite likely I will go back to ENB, but it will again be 2 sessions in the same evening providing it’s a weekday evening.

 

I had another reminder about how crowded and unreliable the weekend train service is yesterday. I went down to London to see Lisa’s LPC  perform. The first train had to pick up additional passengers due to a cancellation before my station, so it was both full and late. I caught the next train which had a minor delay but was almost full, but this time I did manage to get a seat. To make the day even worse my car was playing up on the way home and had to go into the local garage today, so consequently I lost today’s rep session on La Bayadere Shade Cabriole solo. Apart from all that I really enjoyed Sundays LPC performance.

 

 

 

 

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Less than 3 weeks to go before our week of one-to-one intensive at Ballet West, this year we are covering as much in a day as Adrian and I did all week last year, it really is going to be challenging (11 pieces).

 

Following on from my car problems in the previous post, which meant I lost one of the last three sessions with my rep coach, where I already planned in 2 sessions for the La Bayadere Shades Cabriole solo, with the Monday session missing I really couldn’t let the schedule slip so I had to go it alone by looking a several youtube clips of the solo and sorting out the options from the slight differences in the variation.

 

At least I was able to make a start rather than go in cold for my reps session on the following Thursday. Fortunately I was able to book a double session for that day. As it turned out with the prep I had already done I didn’t need to spend any more than an hour with my rep coach. I must say I really enjoyed dancing that piece as both the cabrioles and the gallops that preceded them had a real sense of lightness and elevation, I was flying.

The second hour was spent on relearning the Shades first solo, as I had previously learnt it at BBT just before Christmas. Although I had an exceptional teacher at that time I did go through a number of clips to establish the differences and the mix I wanted to incorporate in my own version. My rep coach and I continued with this on the following Monday , her last day with me. Although we have technically finished the sequence, I still have to tidy up the musicality/ timing of the grand jete / pirouette section.

 

Once home Monday afternoon it was time to run through the Le Corsaire Odalisques 2nd Solo as I would be dancing this for the Silver Swans the following day. Shock horror when I went through it, I couldn’t do the hopping arabesque backwards using the left leg as the supporting leg, the foot just fell flat as if there was a real absence of strength, the right foot was fine I could hop backwards on the ball of that foot all day. Oh poo I guess I had over done it with the shades cabrioles as the feet must have taken a hammering whilst I was learning that piece on my own.

That really worried me as it was the Silver Swans last class before the summer break, I even got up at 5.30am to run through the solo after a quick barre warm-up, but the back hops was far from perfect but marginally better. Thank goodness on the day after ballet class they didn’t let me down. It always is quite a challenge to dance a solo in there studio without any form of rehearsal, it is literally go and dance, of course that’s what they expect now.

 

I'm not sure how things will unfold with the Silver Swans next tern as I will only be attending them every other week, the weeks between will be my Cecchetti Advanced 2 class. The dilemma is, shall I dance a solo for the Swans every week I am there, or shall I make it every other week that I am there. In reality I still have quite a lot of familiar material that  I can switch on.

 

A really nice surprise today , the other dancer at my Cecchetti class was on holiday, so I got a really nice one-to-one session. My new teacher is really nice but quite strict over technique. This class is running through the summer holidays so I should get a good run at it with the exception of my week away at Ballet West.

 

Just to let everyone know ENB are taking bookings for both taster classes and regular classes in there new building in Docklands, I've booked the Wednesday (2nd Oct) tasters for Intermediate and Advanced but I wont be taking up the classes this side of Christmas, as I want to concentrate on body conditioning and pointe work once Ballet West has been completed. In the New Year it all depends if I'm with another Amateur Performance Company as that's where my true passion is.

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11 hours ago, Michelle_Richer said:

Just to let everyone know ENB are taking bookings for both taster classes and regular classes in there new building in Docklands, I've booked the Wednesday (2nd Oct) tasters for Intermediate and Advanced but I wont be taking up the classes this side of Christmas, as I want to concentrate on body conditioning and pointe work once Ballet West has been completed. In the New Year it all depends if I'm with another Amateur Performance Company as that's where my true passion is.

 

Hi Michelle, I remember you saying previously that ENB recreational classes operate a priority booking policy for those already "in their system".  I haven't taken any ENB classes before but booked a few days ago onto a pair of Beginner and Improver taster classes (the ones on 30th September, as 1st October clashes with my regular class). Do you happen to know whether this means I'm now "in the system" for priority booking purposes, or whether I don't get that status without having taken a term of classes?

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I’ve just checked the original email, there is no mention of priority booking, so I would take it that you have your place. I think they have a larger capacity at the new building anyway. Assuming you attend the classes you have booked, if they are intending  to operate a priority booking system in the future,  you will receive notification about a week or so ahead of releasing next years classes it to the general public so to speak. As it was, it was important to book your place promptly, as when it went open , you may well have lost it as they we often over subscribed. I remember a few existing dancers loosing their place through late booking.

 

I’m unsure as to when you no longer qualify for priority booking status, as I certainly received it up to last year and I think I left about 3 years ago. Hope that helps.

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Thanks.  I'm switching my regular class at City Lit from a Tuesday to a Thursday in the new year, so there's some hope of me fitting another regular class in on either Mondays or Tuesdays from then.  And the new ENB location is relatively easy for me to get home from.

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ENB have just released the booking details for their Le Corsaire Adult Ballet Workshop at The Milton Keynes Theatre on the 23rd of November. Its not in the usual place on ENB website but if you follow the London Le Corsaire link in divides down to both venues, however when I used the online booking, a message came up to contact the box office, which I did and made the booking over the phone.

 

Holistic Ballet also have an Autumn Intensive on Entrance of the Swans from Act2 of Swan Lake, held at the Place on the 21st-26th October (no 24th)

Time:  8pm-10pm, Thursday (no course),  Saturday: 5:15pm-8pm

Cost: £170 / £150 if booked and paid by 20th September 2019.

I will not be booking that one as I’ve danced Entrance of the Swans many many times

 

Only one week to go to Ballet West and all is not well as I had planned the last two weeks seriously cleansing the 11 piece I’m taking there this year.

However thing went pair-shaped  at the beginning of last week. Monday went really well although I had avoided the pieces with Grand Alegro in them, but intended to limit the number of those I did in any one day. Tuesday first thing is my hairdresser before ballet, as Tuesday at one time was rehearsal. On leaving the hair dressers I noticed my right leg was a little stiff going down the stairs but that wasn’t unusual, about an hour later I attended my Cecchetti ballet class, a second one as one-to-one as the other student was on holiday, that was  absolutely fine and I really enjoyed it. I had intended to do a little rep practice later that day but other things got in the way,  I was absolutely fine when I went to bed. Wednesday morning when I woke up, my right knee was extremely sore and I notice it had no bedclothes on it. I knew then that this could become a problem but was just hoping I had got cold in it.

I ceased ballet then until Saturday morning and I covered one piece that Adrian is dancing with me plus a simple barre session with him. Although my leg was a little uncomfortable it was a lot better. In the afternoon I helped Adrian in the garden as it was a gorgeous day and things just went down hill.

Now the right knee is badly swollen  and I can barely lift it to the ankle of the other leg. The upper rim of the knee cap is extremely sensitive to touch and needless to say I cannot cross my left leg and support it on my right knee. In fact I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to have difficulty walking, the only real rest bite is to lay flat with my legs extended. It really is a puzzle as to what has instigated this as I cannot recall anything injurious in the past couple of weeks or so, it is really annoying and so frustrating.   I guess I’m just going to have to keep an eye on things and really hope I don’t have to cancel this years trip.

 

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Sorry to hear this Michelle and hope,the knee improves.

Sometimes with injuries it isn't necessarily any specific thing that you may have done but can be a build up of stress over time.

Unfortunately this type of injury is usually telling you to rest for a while which is not what you want at this moment I know but I wouldn't do anything at all this week and take up to Ballet West what you've got as it is so far.....treat it as work in progress! But do be careful your knee isn't sore for no reason.

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Wishing you a speedy recovery Michelle :( knees are tricky things, take care of them xxx

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Hi LinMM

 

I managed to get in and see a Physio today through a cancellation, she thought I may have accidentally twisted it with knowing it, and there was a large build up of fluid which she tried to disperse with manipulation, that hurt like hell, but it did increase the range of movement a little. Although its very swollen, regular application of  ice does tend to help , but pain killers don’t touch it. I am to see her again on Thursday. She also suggested I rested from ballet for the remainder of this week.

For the moment Ballet West is still on, but I will have to trim the schedule as there is no way that the right leg will recover enough to stand 11 pieces of rep with around half of them containing a good deal on grand allegro.

Ballet West this year will be I will do what I can, even if its not quite polished. In any case I get a second shot at the cherry by performing that rep in costume for the lovely ladies of my local Silver Swans.

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I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that our session at Ballet West this year didn’t quite go as planned.

What did surprise me was how much I had lost particularly with our Juliet piece by not dancing through it for two weeks before the event, it was really frustrating the silly bits I was getting wrong. It wasn’t that I didn’t know it, I had just lost it from within the body against the melody of the music. It took a while on the first day, but it did come back. Although eventually we did manage to dance through everything that was scheduled for that day. We had had advance notice from our teacher that she could not cover Tuesday as she had a couple of important meetings that were mandatory, but could organise cover for us.

As things just prior to travelling to Ballet West were uncertain, I declined the cover, and suggested we review things at the end of day 1. It was clear we could continue, so the plan was Adrian and I would see what we could salvage from the remaining less demanding pieces of rep to fill the remaining two days included a shortened showcase in costume as is our tradition on the last day at Ballet West.

Tuesday I guess I pushed things as far as I dare, we had gone through all the less demanding rep including that of day 1, I then started on the Le Corsaire rep, both the Odalisques solo’s 1 and 2 were danceable, I tried the double turn pirouette/ arabesque combinations of solo three, although I did manage to run through three of those successfully, they didn’t feel that secure, so I didn’t proceed with them. I also took the end sequence of the Odalisques PDT, the one that starts with three grand jete/ arabesque combinations as I find that difficult initially to judge its travel and spacing, that was a real no no, I just didn’t have any power in my legs to manage that one which really was no surprise, but never the less was somewhat disappointing as we had included Adrian as the Slave Master in that one.

Needless to say I didn’t even attempt my two solo’s from the La Bayadere shades.

 

The real shocker was The Russian Dance from Swan Lake, I regarded that as a relatively easy piece and not very demanding at all. it began ok until I got to the piece where I kneel down on to one leg, firstly as I lowered down using the top of the foot to slide down on the gesturing leg to the knee, the last inch was an uncontrollable drop, at first I ignored it and did the associated port de bra. When it came to the rise, which ordinarily is no problem, I simply could not get up. I repeated this phrase in disbelief and I rolled over on the rise. The third time I managed to get up but it wasn’t very elegant, all the strength of the supporting leg simply wasn’t there. My first thoughts were, this piece could have been danced during the remaining week, if I  practice the rise and fall of the kneel to strengthen at the hotel.

 

Later Tuesday evening my ankles were really sore especially when pointing my feet and particularly going down stairs at the hotel, that was painful. Just before we turned in I checked my emails, I had two from Gillian our teacher to say she would no longer be available to cover us but could organise one of her teachers to cover us, or if we wished could still use the studios for the remainder of the week as a close family member had been rushed into hospital in Glasgow and she would be remaining with them..

 

It seamed pointless to continue with a new teacher with the state of my legs and would most probably sustain further injury. Instead Adrian and I would sadly have to abort this years session at Ballet West and use those day as a  holiday in Scotland.

Saturday was I guess the worst test of my ankles as Adrian and I had to go down from level 6 to level 2 on the stairs on a tour of Liverpool football club’s new stand,, as we usually end our week that way, as a thank you from me to Adrian for all his effort.

 

My legs are much improved but not fully what they were before, however I have continued the last two weeks with my Cecchetti Advanced 2 class, really enjoying it.

However I’m starting to ramp thing up next week prior to resuming normal classes on the 9th, with my first mini performance for the Silver Swans on the 10th with the Le Corsaire Odalisques first solo , the one full of brise’s

 

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Well at least you are still in one piece and although disappointing for you this year that part of Scotland is a great place to spend a couple of days if not dancing. 

By the way I can never get up from a ballet style kneeling on one leg these days without giving a surrepticious 🙄( to me) highly noticeable to others 😬 Push off with my hand!! 

When we were learning the waltz from Cinderella on Chelsea Ballet Summer Course a few of us ....well three of us...were allowed a different pose to the kneeling one in the choreography to save our old or injured knees!! 

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Hi LinMM

I most definitely agree with you comment that this part of Scotland is a great place to spend a couple of days if not dancing. :

Wednesday we had to go back to Ballet West to pick some of our kit up from there and continued east on the A85 until it joined the A82 ( Tyndrum), that was a lovely spectacular ride for Adrian through the Great Glen, we followed t A82 all the way up to Fort William. Although the weather forecast wasn’t great, it was fine with a good deal of sunshine while w were on the road.

Thursday I took Adrian South to the town of Lochgilphead, then I had a little surprise for him. Every Thursday when we finish at Ballet West we call at a little café in Taynuilt for tea and cakes, its become a bit of a tradition with Adrian and I, but we were along way from Taynuilt. Unknown to Adrian there is a little single track road with passing places that follows much of the shore line of Loch Awa through Ford, Dalavitch and Kilcrenan, then finally passing by Ballet West from the opposite direction to what we were used too, Adrian was quite worried and thought I was completely lost, bless him.

 

Ok about not being able to get up from a ballet kneel without a push up. I think the most scary time for me was the Sunday the week before when my right leg was at its worst and I really couldn’t bend it. The most difficult thing was going to the loo, imagine trying to balance and lower ones self down with the left leg whiles the right leg is extended out, some very black thoughts went through my mind, is this how life ends, by not being able to do the most basic things. Thank goodness some movement did come back relatively quickly, but it does make you think. 

 

For the moment descending the stairs just feels a little bit stiff but improving, this coming week is a full ramp up of ballet for return to the new term of classes on the 9th.

 

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My start back of the new term of ballet has felt like swimming through treacle as my legs haven’t yet fully recovered from what I can only describe as an over-use injury prior to our Ballet West session. However during the intervening period I have continued to attend my Cecchetti Advanced 2 classes.

 

While I have attended the Cecchetti classes I have had the opportunity to video them, both my teacher and our other student consented for me to do this. By videoing what we do has been extremely enlightening for me, it has raised as many questions as it has answered. The beauty of only 2 students in the class is the amount of feedback we both get , it also allows me to be quite vocal in asking questions which simply isn’t possible in much larger classes without appearing disruptive or hogging the teacher.

The exercises we are doing are taken from the exam syllabus, there is no DVD available from the faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD. The details of the exercises come from a combination of sources, some refer in-part to that of Advanced 1 (DVD available) and from of two documents  “The Advanced 2 Examination Specifications” and a book called “The Manual” which is  “A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method)”. In some instances the Examination Specification does give proper references in the Manual eg page and section references, but its very much like being a detective to sort out precisely what is expected in a particular exercise and it can be quite ambiguous.  When we start new material there is often a bit of a debate as to the interpretation of the standard, I remember at the last class, our piece of center practice for arabesque and attitude turns, before w got anywhere near the turns themselves, we had to go from a tendu devant up into attitude on demi-pointe , whilst it didn’t specifically use the words of releve or plie or similar meaning, our teacher concluded we must launch the attitude leg from a rise of the strait supporting leg, though I guess not totally impossible , it was extremely difficult  and for me just didn’t feel right, we were both encouraged with the comment “you can do it, you are both big girls now”. We did try.

I know there are several things that I have come across that don’t quite gel with me and also some of the exercised don't exactly fit the music as I would expect, even our teacher wishes there were a DVD for as the gold standard.

I have tried repeatedly to contact the coordinator of the Faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD but she has never replied to my emails of phone messages as to future availability of Advanced 2 DVD’s.

In shear desperation I have check out the availability of video material on both youtube and Cecchetti organisations around the world. The only place I could find something covering that standard is Cecchetti Australia, it has a total of 5 video downloads, the fifth one covers pointe work, each of these is 25$ Au. However to download these, the country must be contained in the country list, the UK wasn’t. Oh poo how am I going to work around this one, One of my old Artistic Directors has emigrated to Australia and I still have contact with her, as I should be performing out there as a guest dancer towards the end of 2020, so that was running through my mind as a possibility. I emailed Cecchetti Australia to tell them I had created an account on their website but unfortunately the UK wasn’t on their country list, how should I proceed. The following morning an email was waiting, to say the UK had been added to the country list, and a detailed procedure of how to download the files.

Needless to say I tried with a single file first of the “Au Milieu and Pirouettes”, to satisfy my curiosity over the rise or releve issue (releve it was). It went like a dream and the download only took a minute or so. Later that day I downloaded the remaining three files. I must say I was really impressed by the help I received from Cecchetti Australia, I just wish Faculty of Cecchetti in the ISTD were as responsive, I guess I’m just going to have to call in and see them on my next visit to ENB.

At least now my two teachers and I will be singing from the same song sheet whoopee.

 

Sunday in preparation for this week back, I thought I would just run through the Odalisques third variation, as it is a piece I want to dance for my local Silver Swans, especially as I wasn’t able to dance it at Ballet West. Horror that really didn’t go well, the first assemble which uses my strongest combination of legs was seriously lacking in power, to be fair, that shook me a bit, I wasn’t expecting that and that variation was down for practice at my Monday morning rep coaching session. It still wasn’t particularly good and I guess its still going to take a little while to regain that strength, on the positive side the 5 double turn pirouette/ arabesque combinations were far better than I expected.

 

Going forward as I’m not performing this Christmas, I’m focusing a lot more on body conditioning and preparation for pointe and consequently taking on a slightly higher level of risk. I think it would be much more prudent to reduce the number of variation I take to Ballet West next year to around 4 solos and a couple of Pas de Deuxs, rather than 11 of this year.

 

 

 

 

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Not quite on the chair dancing level yet ...but might not be too far down the road!!

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