Annemarie Donoghue's July Company Class: "Even Better Than Last Year"

July Company Class
© 2019 Holly Middleton: all rights reserved  Reproduced by courtesy of the copyright owner















On 27 July 2019, we welcomed Annemarie Donoghue and her accompanist, Alena Panasenka, back to the Dance Studio Leeds for our last company class of the year.  Because Annemarie had given is a particularly good class last year and Alena had plated for Yvonne Charlton at the special morning workshop last February, we were expecting a lot from them. They greatly exceeded our expectations.

Like all the teachers at Northern Ballet, Annemarie follows the Ichino technique, We start off with a brisk walk around the studio which quickly turns into a run.  We then progress rapidly through the barre exercises before beginning a beautiful adagio.  She next drills us in pirouettes from various positions including one that we do not try very often.  To my great surprise, I managed a complete revolution as did several others. "Rather better doing it this way," whispered Elaine. Not easy but it was very satisfying. We then did warm-up jumps,  glissades, sautés and jetés and some joyous grands jetés to finish.

You can tell when there has been a good class by the buzz afterwards.  I once overheard David Nixon mutter that it was the best sound in the world. Even before I left the studio members were asking me when we could get Annemarie back. When I thanked her for the class I asked her whether she would like to give us an extra class in the winter.  She very kindly said that she would.

Annemarie also offers private coaching.  Last Saturday two of us took advantage of her offer to work on pirouettes.  She started us off with pliés to get our postures right.  At first, we worked on both legs, then on one leg only and finally on relevés.  Annemarie prescribed relevé exercises for both of us at home.  She noticed that I have greater difficulty rising on my right foot than on my left and showed me an exercise to strengthen my right leg to compensate, Finally, we tried some quarter, half and full turns from various positions. To my great joy and surprise, I found that I was often more successful on my right leg than on my left.  Annemarie's sessions are by appointment and can take place on Saturdays and evenings. Her fees are very reasonable.   As there were 2 of us we paid her £23 each for an hour's training.  Her fees for training one student are £35 per hour.

Annemarie is the first teacher who taught me at Northern Ballet.  She teachers the over 55 classes as well as the children   It is not easy for me to attend her classes at Northern Ballet as they take place during office hours but I am always glad when I do.

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