So Proud of those Dancers

Company Class 27 Oct 2018
© 2018 Gita Mistry: all rights reserved
Reproduced with kind permission of the author

Jane Tucker gave us our first company class in May 2018 (see We have a Company 27 May 2018). Eleven turned up on that occasion. We welcomed her back on Saturday for our October company  class. She had twice as many dancers in her class this time. They came from North Wales in the west, the Yorkshire coast in the east, Ripon in the north, Birmingham in the south and all points in between. 

Jane's classes are never easy but they are always fun.  They start with a gentle walk round the studio. We rotate our arms. We break into a trot.  Suddenly we are told to turn round. "You were expecting that, weren't you?" exclaimed the dancer in front of me.  "Oh yes" I said. "I have taken Jane's class before."  We started to skip facing in, then out, then Jumping Jacks, stretches and head rolls.  Saturday was the first really cold day since April but we warmed up in no time.

After the usual barre exercises - pliés, tendus, glissés, ronds de jambe, fondus, frappés and grands battements - we were called into the centre for glissés away from the barre.  For our adagio Jane has her own version of the entry into the Kingdom of the Shades which involved pivots and penchés.  We followed with pirouettes and even had a go at fouettés.  For the last 20 minutes we jumped. We began with warm up jumps in first, second, changements and échappés, followed up with glissades  and  jetés, an enchainement combining everything including two temps levés and finally some glorious grands jetés across the studio.  Company class was scheduled to end at 16:30 but Jane gave us a lot of extra time.

Immediately after company class Jane held out first pointe class.  To my great joy and surprise nearly all the dancers joined the class.  It was the first time I had seen them on pointe.  Although they varied in attainment and experience they were all impressive.  I was very proud of them.  I was also proud of those who were not on pointe but followed the exercise on demi.   Christine won a round of applause at one stage with a dazzling display of chaînés.

In the final minutes Beverley Willsmer conducted a rehearsal of our ballet which is beginning to look very polished indeed.

Gita Mistry visited us half way through the class. She brought some delicious chocolate muffins and rocky road sweets which she and a young assistant had packed in Halloween tubs.  Gita had helped to weld us into a company - indeed almost a family - when she served lunch at Terry Etheridge's workshop.  Everybody talked to everybody else on that occasion and I think some real friendships were formed.  We have been building on that moment ever since. Beverley also treated is to Halloween candy and that was delicious too.

We did have some serious business to discuss.  I answered questions on the proposed corporate structure for the company, when and how we could perform Terry's ballet, our arrangements to bring Yvonne Charlton from  the Netherlands and much more.   One question that we have to address is distance.   We come from all parts of the North and indeed beyond.   We will continue to alternate classes and rehearsals between Yorkshire and the Northwest. We shall try to hold at least one all day event a year in Wales and another on the east coast with top notch instructors at each venue.  When we come to stage The Nutcracker and other full length ballets we shall take a leaf out of Ballet West's book which allows its Edinburgh and Glasgow associates a chance to shine. They rehearse locally before joining the students and teachers from Taynuilt just before they go on tour.

Our next event is our workshop with Ballet Cymru which we shall host at Yorkshire Dance on 28 November at 18:00 followed by the launch of the Powerhouse Ballet Circle at 19:30. There we shall get to know Darius James and his dancers a little better over Welsh wine and bara brith.  Our next company class and pointe class will be at the Dancehouse on 1 Dec.  Karen Sant will give us that class.  She is another excellent teacher and that event will be good too.  I shall set up Eventbrite pages for those events in the next few days.

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