Our Best Day Yet

Yvonne Charlton's Repertoire Class
© 2018 Gita Mistry: all rights reserved

Our company class in Liverpool on 22 Sept 2018 was our best day yet.  We welcomed 28 dancers to Z Studios in Devon Street and would have taken more had we been able to find a larger studio.  They came from Colwyn Bay in the west to Lincoln in the east and all points in between.

Mark Hindle gave us a 90 minute company class which included a very thorough barre, pirouettes, an adagio and various jumping exercises.  One of the hardest exercises for me was performing the warm up jumps with my eyes closed.   Mark has a great eye for detail and makes lots of useful corrections. At the end of the class he explained that a correction should be regarded as a gift and not a reprimand. It is a tip from the teacher to student to make him or her a better dancer.

Sally, my very first teacher at St Andrews, had taught me that 50 years ago.  She advised her students to keep a notebook for corrections and I still do that.  She also taught me always to thank the accompanist for the music and the instructor for the class at the end of each session.  When she wanted me to jump she used to clap out the time for my grands jetés and I still hear her clapping in my minds ear whenever Karen, Jane, Mark or Annemarie sets me a jumping exercise.

Until the beginning of this year Mark had been dancing the lead gazelle in the Dutch version of The Lion King in the Hague.  An even stronger link with the Netherlands was a repertoire class by Yvonne Charlton of the Jos Dolstra Dance Institute in IJsselstein.  She taught us her own version of a dance from Don Quixote which she had created for her own adult dance students in the Netherlands.  While I don't think we can say that we mastered it we all had a jolly good try.  Even though it was far from easy we enjoyed it tremendously.

I have already received requests to bring Yvonne back to the UK.  In response to those requests, I have asked her whether she would like to license us to perform her work so that we could add it to out repertoire.  She has no objection in principle and is prepared to return for an audition and workshop similar to the one we did with Terry Etheridge in Leeds.

After watching Gita's video of  Terry Etheridge's ballet, the cast of that piece rehearsed it before members of the company who had not attended the workshop after the audition. It is already looking good to me.   After the performance Gita distributed energy bars to the cast and everyone who had attended the company class and repertoire class.

Yvonne did not come to us as a stranger.  Several members of our company met her at the opening of the Amsterdam ballet season earlier this month.  I made her acquaintance at the New Moves gala last year.  She is not our only Dutch friend.  Individual members of the Dutch National Ballet have taken an interest in our company and have given us lots of encouragement.  One of the most promising young dancers have even offered to give us a class.  Their kindness has been overwhelming.


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