January Company Class and "Waltz of the Flowers" Workshop
We had a record attendance at our January company class with Annemarie Donoghue on 25 Jan 2020. It was particularly good to see our ballet mistress, Beverley Willsmer, and our costume designer, Amelia Sierevogel, again. It was also pleasant to welcome several new faces from Birmingham as well as other friends from that city who had trained with us before.
Annemarie's classes are never easy but this one was particularly challenging. Possibly the most difficult thing that I have ever been asked to do in any ballet class is fondus and dévelopés on a trampoline. As my sense of balance is quite literally all over the place I attempted it en plat on terra firma and even that was difficult enough for me. I am proud to report that most of my classmates accepted Annemarie's challenge and carried out her instructions with aplomb.
After Annemarie's demanding but very enjoyable class, champion chef Gita Mistry appeared laden with energy bars, fruit, dates, nuts, organic chocolate and other goodies which we demolished rapidly, Gita also stayed to take the video of the start of Jane Tucker's Waltz of the Flowers workshop as well as some still pictures for our records.
Nichola Hodson and I had attended Jane's Waltz of the Flowers choreography class at KNT's Day of Dance in December so had some idea of what to expect. Nichola changed into a magnificent classical tutu that she had recently commissioned from Amelia which reminded us of the scene and helped to inspire us. At Manchester, we had completed about half the piece. We reached that point relatively quickly in Leeds. Although we felt as though our limbs were about to fall out of their sockets by the end of the course we managed to dance the whole piece from the top. Ending with a celebratory pirouette we experienced a real sense of achievement.
Jane has very kindly agreed to rehearse us again after our February company class at the Dancehouse on 29 and as many times as we need after that. Mark Hindle will teach us "Snowflakes" which is the other big piece for the corps on 14 March 2020 and he will rehearse us again in Manchester until we have it off pat. The long term plan is to stage the whole of The Nutcracker but in the interim, we shall get bits of choreography under our belt. We shall, therefore, invite Terence Etheridge to teach "Aria" to a new cast and maybe work on another creation and flying Yvonne Charlton back to England burnish "Morning" and "Don Quixote"
Our next big event takes place next Saturday when Alex Hallas of Ballet Cymru will teach us his beautiful ballet based on Carl Jenkins's "The Armed Man". I saw the company's pre-professional dancers perform that piece in Cardiff last year and it quite bowled me over. Though we can do the piece without men it would be so much better if we could persuade some to learn it as there is a very strong role for a male artist. I am repeating my invitation to Andrew, Ian, Luke, Peter and all the other gentlemen who have trained with us over the last 18 months to register for this course.
I may be wrong, but I would not be taking a very big risk were I to bet the farm on Hallas becoming as famous for his choreography as Chris Marney and Kenneth Tindall are now. I forecast a brilliant career for Xander Parish when I first saw him in York in 2008 and again for Michaela DePrince when I saw her in Ernst Meisner's junior company. I wasn't wrong about them and I doubt if I am wrong about Hallas. Sign up for the Hallas's workshop and can tell your grandchildren: "I worked with Alex Hallas at the very start of his career."
We are sprouting wings and will soon fly.