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Michelle_Richer

Simply Adult Ballet

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On ‎20‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 11:45, SwanFlake said:

Michelle, I'm completely envious of the amount of ballet that you do!  

Thank you SwanFlake, but in reality as time goes on I’m trying to do less in terms of classes, as that’s not really effective for my learning. I’m trying to leave sufficient time for analysis correction and preparation, rather than hoovering up all available classes, which I once did.

 

I think my special thanks must go to Peony and the other members of the forum tat tried to point me in the direction of the Enrico Cecchetti Dipolma DVD. Unfortunately I’ve only just started to look at it. Its absolutely brilliant, there is so much commonality between that and Advanced 2, in many cases even the music is the same. Sadly I’ve only had time to look at the first 3 sections on the dvd, there is no Barre section on the dvd. These are  2 Port de Bras, Traditional centre practice, 3 Adage and 4  Centre Pirouettes. I guess the only significantly big difference is with the pirouettes which are 4 turns instead of doubles with Advanced 2.

For me one of the things I like about the way this dvd has been put together, it less like a demonstration and more like a ballet class with a teacher  Diane van Schoor. She corrects a small number of dancers, even though those dancers are all professional, 3 from the Royal Ballet and 4 from Birmingham royal ballet. The studios used in the pieces I’ve seen, look like those in the Royal Opera House as I recognise the Macmillan studio in some scenes. I would certainly like to do class with that teacher.

 

As it is I will be starting my one-to-one Cecchetti on  Wednesday the 8th of Jan, I know its not going to be easy by any means, as every little bodily movement will be scrutinised until it conforms to Mr Cecchetti methodology.

 

Rehearsing the Swans is sorted for Tuesdays, at least I know where I’m going with that one. Finish the Swan Lake act2 Coda we started, Summer its extracts from Don Quixote as this will be an easy one to costume, then Nutcracker extracts for Christmas, assuming I can keep our ladies suitably inspired.

 

Rep for Ballet West looks like Mondays now, although I was hoping for Fridays after attending a New Ballet Fit class close by, I’m now just waiting conformation with my new rep coach for Monday mornings.

 

As regards classes for pointe, for the moment I'm going to wing it, I have the plan that me and my previous coach set up, plus I’ve ordered Lisa Howell’s beginners pointe DVD to help fill any gaps in the short term. However I know my Cecchetti teacher also teaches pointework and she is aware I will be calling on her in the near future.

 

 

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Murphy's law is a popular adage that states  "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong". Or so it seams.

 

1) The day before Christmas ever our economy 7 supply to night storage heaters stopped working, its down to a faulty time switch which is part of the sealed tag electricity meter installation. I reported it to British Gas, our supplier, the day after boxing day, we cant have anyone out to fix it until the 10th Feb, I’ve also raised a complain email with them too.

 

2) Adrian my partner fell sick with a really nasty cold and hasn’t shaken it off and sadly wasn’t able to accompany me to ENB Le Corsaire performance at the Coliseum yesterday.

 

3) I ordered a DVD pointe course from Australia and tracked it back to the UK, found when it had arrived at my local Post Office sorting office that duty was due and could be paid on line, I called in that Saturday morning but was told it hadn’t been processed on their system yet, but I could pay the duty on-line. Needless to say I paid it that day on line expecting it to be delivered Monday morning. Monday morning the Postman bought a bill for the duty, I told him I had paid it, showed him the on-line receipt. He said I should be OK for me to collect it.

At the sorting office they wouldn’t allow me to have as it had been put out for delivery the next day, however If I hadn’t paid the duty, but brought the card in to pay, and paid the duty to them then, they would have given it to me there and then Grrr.

 

4) A new year phone call from my Silver Swans teacher and dance school owner advised me someone from RAD had forbidden them to allow me to teach the Silver Swans rep, as I hadn’t been trained by RAD for Silver Swans, also I wouldn’t be covered by their insurance. To be fair that was a real shock, especially as the request to be included in my rep during their class brake came from the Silver Swans themselves. But never the less I have always seeked the permission of the teacher and discussed everything before hand with her and it had always been a really wonderful and supportive relationship .

I guess it all started when I allowed one of the ladies to accompany me as the Queen in the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain Variation. The roll was largely passive but contained a lot of mime gestures between us through the choreography; I also took in a royal robe and crown for her costume.  I think the thing she loved the most, was at the end of the piece, when I took her hand and we both took our curtseys together, I know she really loved it and it gave me such joy to see her pleasure. Since then I have had several of the ladies express an interest in doing something with me.

At the end of the last half term before Christmas I approached the teacher about coaching volunteers from the Silver wan ladies during the break between the Ballet and Tap classes, she was very supportive and at the end of the class that day told all her dancers I had an announcement to make. I announced what I had proposed for volunteers after the half term break, I also indicated my method of coaching, and for those that attend rehearsal to the final video showcase there would be a “Certificate of Achievement” in recognition of voluntary participation etc. This would be signed by me as the “Choreographer and Repertoire Coach”, and not the teacher. As I explained to the ladies their teacher teaches the ballet steps and movements between them, I create the dance and how its to be performed, I know some will think I’m splitting hairs but that my perspective, I’m as careful as I can be without knowingly treading on anyone’s toes . By signing as “Choreographer and Repertoire Coach” I’ve also included on the signature line Member of the International Dance Council – CID and the crest of the International Dance Council, both of which are on the signature line which I am perfectly allowed to do under the membership rules.

This last Tuesday I went in to say my “goodbyes”, I felt really awful that I had let the ladies down, however the ladies and their teachers have made me promise to come back periodically and do class with them and perform more of my solo’s for them as I have been doing over the past year or so. I think everyone of the ladies gave me a hug before I left, it was so sad and I felt quite choked.  

 

5) Pointework: Although I have been strengthen for pointe since just after Ballet West in August with the help of my rep coach, I lost her at the end of November, however just before she left I took a foot stretcher in as I was getting frustrated with progress even though I had physio working on my feet and ankles too. What we did find using a foot stretcher with my old broken bloch point shoes, it did allow me to create a reasonable line without a huge amount of pain, afterwards I was starting to see some meaningful improvement. I was hoping by December I would at least be doing some relatively basic exercises on pointe but that wasn’t to be and I extended it to Christmas day. I think it was the day after boxing day that I first put my new Freed pointe shoes on, I had attached the ribbons with the help of my teacher/coach back in August when I was first had them fitted. I remember her advising I should walk around in them first and do basic rises well before attempting to physically break them in by hand. Well that hasn’t been that successful and quite uncomfortable even though I’m using gel pointe shoe pads. So I have invoked plan B, last Monday I bought some of my original Bloch Serenade pointe shoes, I didn’t even bother getting the fitted as I have had them before and my old ones fit like carpet slippers, they are really comfortable other than I have broken the backs on them. I checked before hand I had both tread and ribbons, collected them on Monday only to find the ribbons were too narrow, however I did find some of the original, just about enough to do one shoe. As I was I Sleaford on Friday for a fitness class, I would call in to the ballet store and get the ribbons then, which I did.  In the mean time I have followed the pointe shoe preparation guide on the DVD by Lisa Howells  and Vicky Attard, as far as I have gone is to locate the arch at the beginning of heal and start to massage the shank there, its much tougher than I expected,  Lisa suggests massaging it in increments which is as far as I have got, already it’s a really nice and comfortable fit to stand on pointe, I’m still to do the softening for the semi-pointe break and sew the ribbons on, but that’s all work in progress. I’ve also booked a beginners pointework workshop with Franziska at Holistic Ballet at the end of February.   

 

6) I have finally have a rep coach for the future but unfortunately for her first week she has had to cancel, oh poo I really wanted to get started on La Bayadere for our intensive week with Ballet West in August, I'm doing less there this year as I'm effectively on a war footing for dancing on pointe, as I’m throwing everything in to it, I even suggested at one time my physio use a steak tenderiser to bash my feet to soften them to increase the arch in his foot stretching. However most of rep for Ballet West will not be on pointe, only one PDD if all goes well.

 

7) Rail Disruption:  Yesterday was another on-stage workshop at the Coliseum with English National Ballet learning a piece of rep from my favourite Ballet “Le Corsaire” and then I planned to seen the afternoon performance with Adrian my partner. Sadly Adrian was ill from a nasty cold and was too ill to make it. The day before I checked train times as it’s usually an early start for me. Oh shock the normal 50 minute train journey from Peterborough to Kings Cross was going to take 2 hours including a change at Ely, to do this I was up at 3am, if I hadn’t booked to see the performance  I think I would have cancelled the workshop, but I made it and really enjoyed it.

 

8) When I arrived home Adrian had the presents of mid to check rail disruptions for the following weekend as I planned to be with Enavant Ballet doing a Pirouette Master-class. Things were even worse, the 50 minute trip was going to take around three and a half hours with 4 changes each way most with replacement buses, needless to say I cancelled the Pirouette Master-class.

 

9) So I think Mr Murphy has really had a hand in all these things going wrong and finally to top it all, I had a ballet mug with two pointe shoes on it and my name, I have had it since around 2013/14 and Adrian bless him broke it last week. Do you really have to be this tough to survive with Mr Murphy around in ballet?

 

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Well hope the rest of 2020 goes better than the start of it has done. The post office fiasco ....which looks a bit like one department doesn’t know what the other is doing ...and Gas people are a joke! Feb 10th! The winter could be over by then! 
Travelling at weekends can be a real pain in the winter time when they are usually working on the lines. I’ve got the half bus journey half train thing on next Saturday as going to ENB gala.....just hope can make it by 2pm. 

There are always very strict protocols about teaching others where any organisations are concerned. Because the class you were teaching came under the Silver Swans and was in a public studio etc then the RAD would feel responsible for anything being taught in their name. I know it was technically in the break so bit of a grey area ....I think it was because you were formalising it more ...rather than running through a piece with friends who wanted to learn it sort of thing. If your teacher has let this go for so long now it could be because she saw the break as technically out of her supervision. 
Perhaps  it was the certificates idea which she needed to check out I’m not sure ...as she appears to have gone along with it until now. 
You will just have to go and get the Silver Swans qualification to teach Michelle! 
I find it quite interesting that this new ballet exercise with the big ball thingy ...can’t remember the name offhand ....seems to only require a weekend of training before you can teach it ...unless I’ve misunderstood that. 
Still at least you are free to do the Cechetti course as that is pretty demanding anyway.  

 

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I am going to jump into this thread and ask what are you wearing for adult ballet classes? I am a mum who never danced, just sat in the car while DD danced, active (size 10/12) but never went to the gym. 
I have been challenged by my DD to join adult ballet class this month and to try what is really going on in the studio.

What do you ladies wear? I am sure i will not go full time with the classes so do not want to spend too much. I am planing to wear my DD soft shoes she left behind but what on top? Thank you x

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I tend to wear a leotard with leggings over the top, though most adults in my class tend to wear regular gym clothes - leggings and a tank top or tshirt. I'm tall and can't stand the feeling of my top riding up or sweaty armpits which is why I stick with a leotard. I only to break out the tights for when I'm dancing with teenagers, preparing for an exam or doing a workshop. In that case, I'd also wear a skirt to feel more covered up.

 

For your first class, I'd say wear something comfortable that you can move in. I wouldn't go out and buy anything yet, though it's very easy to get sucked down a dancewear rabit hole. Even an old pair of tracky bottoms would do as long as they aren't dragging on the floor and likely to trip you up.

 

Good luck! I hope you enjoy your first class.

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Well at least you are a great size for any over the counter ballet wear you can buy in the shops!! 

However as you are trying this out I would just find some track suit bottoms and wear a t- shirt that goes with them etc. 

Or are you in a position to borrow either tights  and/or leotard from your daughter .....or is she much smaller? 

Otherwise tracksuit bottoms as long as not too baggy around the ankles should be absolutely fine. 

 

Obviously if you haven't got any track suit bottoms either and so will have to splash out on something then I can recommend the M and S leggings in various colours and patterns and you might even get a t- shirt there to match!! Some might be in the current sale too! 

Hope you enjoy it anyway 😊

 

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LNER looks pretty ghastly for the next couple of months.  Some weekends already announced as don't go to London 

 

https://www.lner.co.uk/travel-information/travelling-later/kings-cross-upgrade/

 

Others with very reduced service.  

 

I often drive to Stevenage and just get the train from there - at present more reliable than getting the train the whole way from the Midlands, as so many services that you can jump on for the last 20 minutes.  I  stay at the Holiday Inn Express so I can park my car and just walk to the station.  £4 for as long as you are staying ..

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I wear either a leotard with 3/4-length leggings over the top, or a leo and tights with a chiffon skirt.  Depends how I feel on the day - I'm really curvy, have gained a few pounds recently, and I find there's a fine line between feeling confident and feeling large!

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thank you ladies for your responses. I am not brave to go into leotard (yet) but will get some simple leggins and loose top to start with. I am nowhere near to fit my DD tights or clothing (i tried and you all would laugh) i only fit into her shoes as we have same size. I migh add her wrap skirt i found in her wardrobe to look a part. 
Thank you again x
 

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Hi I hardly ever wear a leotard....they rarely pull up far enough to be really comfortable on me but you are a much smaller size so you should be able to find a good fitting one for when you feel more confident. 

Uniglo also make some nice tops which look a bit like you are wearing a leotard and their leggings/ tights are really soft and feel nice on slightly less leg gripping than say Bloch or Capezio tights but easier to put on ....no hopping around on one leg trying to get the second leg through ....it's like they don't want you to put them on almost 😬 

I hope you will tell us how you got on in your first class 😊

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I wear a leotard and black tights over the top. In this weather it's usually a long-sleeved leo, and I wear knitted wool shorts as warm-ups, and a thin cotton long-sleeved t-shirt. I can't bear baggy stuff when I'm dancing - I like everything firm & tight, including my hair - which is very long and always pinned into a bun. I've tried just a pony tail  but I hate it when I'm turning or doing a cambre forwards. I tend to do pliés and tendus in socks, and then change into my canvas shoes - I really like to work on warming up my feet as close to the floor as possible.

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Hi LinMM

The Ballet Exercise with the big ball thingy is called Progressing Ballet Technique, I think there is also a large franchise behind it. I used to attend PBT classes at one time until they were dropped do to lack of numbers. My former rep coach used to add in periodically those types of exercises in  her Monday morning body conditioning class but would never call it PBT. Similarly my Wednesday body conditioning class run by my Cecchetti teacher uses the large Swiss balls in the same way.

 

Ok about your comments about my escapades with RAD:

The comment : ....I think it was because you were formalising it more:

 This wasn’t something that just happened or developed, it was planned. At the beginning of the half term before Christmas, I laid the plan out complete with full documentation of the Corps de ballet rep, a sample template of the Certificate of Achievement, at the end of the previous term I had discussed it too.

 

For me this was always intended to be formal and presented as professionally as I could make it. The plan was 3 such sessions over the year, each resulting in a video showcase  performance to be presented to their patron Anglia Rippon. The first which we were working on, was inspired by the Coda from Act2 of Swan lake, I would kick it off with Odettes solo (me). Costumes for my Swans, I was providing  in he form of romantic tutu skirts and feathered head-dresses, they would provide white T shirts.

 

The Summer piece was to be inspired by Don Q, with he Market place scene, followed by the Entrance of Kitri (me), then my lovely villages would dance an adapted  Seguidilla (fan dance), I would close it with Kitri’s solo from Act 3.

Costumes for this one is quite easy with colourful gypsy skirts and tops., I have a plentiful supply of fans and roses for their hair.

 

Christmas piece was to be inspired by the Nutcracker, with my lovely ladies dancing an adapted version of Waltze of Flowers, Sugar Plum Fairy solo (me), Grand PDD if I could persuade my Adrian to partner me. All would dance an adapted version of the Finale.

 

As for “If your teacher has let this go for so long now it could be because she saw the break as technically out of her supervision.” I really don’t  think that applied and to be fare she was usually in the studio watching with the ladies who were not dancing (our audience), and I certainly remember here passing the comment to me, “they did really well didn’t they”

 

As for “You will just have to go and get the Silver Swans qualification to teach Michelle!” “ No I have no wish to be a BALLET TEACHER”, I see coaching rep as being somewhat different. In any case if I were on a course with RAD being taught how to teach its likely to result in a big of clash of cultures, I’m talking now specifically about teaching rep.

 

I have fallen out many times with RAD, particularly at Elmhurst when the only information they would release, was the name of a ballet for a rep workshop, for me that’s  unacceptable,  it seams totally unstructured and down to what that particular teacher feels like teaching on the day, the focus is on her, not her dancers who are paying for a service and represents extremely poor value.

 

The thing that sets me apart from RADs style, I have the rep documented  before we start coaching any rep, which includes pictures of all significant poses etc, every dancer has a copy, I always give the schools teacher a copy out of courtesy too

Dancers will follow my demonstration which would be much the same as any other class. However before I close the session, I dance through the next week’s work so my dancers know what to expect, rather than being freighted of the unknown for the following week.

 

Hi FlexyNexy

 

Just coming back to your original question about what Adult Dancers wear, if I can take my Swans first of all. When I first joined them, it was either dark mostly black leggings or thick tights, but always ballet slippers, again I think at that time they were all black but I may be wrong, it was like being at Saint Trinians. As time as gone on and possibly because I wear traditional ballet class wear, several of the ladies have now wear colourful wrap round skirts and a few leotards too. No one has copied me yet with a tutu, as for about the past year, every other week, I have danced a solo in full costume during their break, but never at class.

Basically go in ballet slippers, that’s a must and comfortable clothing and see what everyone else is wearing.

 

 

Hi Meadowblythe

Thank you for the link, sadly I see Saturday the 29thh Feb is affected when I have a Pointe-work workshop. I think my only solution is to drive down to Cockfosters then pickup the Piccadilly line into London Grrrrr, another early morning start

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To teach RAD Silver Swans you have to take part in Silver Swans Licensee Training.  To be eligible to attend the training you must be an RAD Registered Teacher or have passed RAD Intermediate (or the equivalent thereof) AND a Level 4 ballet teaching qualification.   Quite strict criteria which can only be a good thing as those attending Silver Swans or any licensed RAD classes know that the quality of teaching will be of a good standard, delivered by a qualified teacher (who has the appropriate insurance).   

 

Unfortunately, anyone can refer to themselves as a “Coach” yet take no responsibility for injury or accident during a “coaching” session.  It’s one thing dancing a solo for your classmates during the break but quite another to start “teaching” your fellow students - especially when it’s the RAD teacher who has paid to hire the studio, paid her public liability insurance, paid in time and money to do the teaching qualifications and licensee training and - most importantly - would be responsible if anything untoward happened in class.   

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Yes I think that the issue was that you were branding it as "coaching the Silver Swans" rather than "coaching a group of ladies who I first met at a Silver Swans Class". The RAD are being ultra-vigilant with the use of their Silver Swans brand, and they will immediately be all over anyone who is not specifically licensed to teach it, &/or teaching content that is not part of the programme.

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