An Unforgettable Class

Maria Chugai of the Dutch National Ballet
Author Rob Becker © 2019 Maria Chugai: All rights reserved

Maria Chugai made a lot of friends in the North of England with her class on 21 April 2020. It was my first class since 29 Feb 2020 when Jane Tucker delivered our last company class in Manchester. I was beginning to wonder whether I would ever clutch a barre again or watch another ballet.  All those thoughts were dispelled when Maria offered us a company class over Zoom.

We did have a few technical hiccups with Zoom owing to my unfamiliarity with the package but on the whole, the class worked very well.  The feedback that I received from those who attended Maria's class was remarkable. "Inspiring", "wonderful", "unforgettable" were just some of the adjectives that I received.  And indeed it was.  The direction that we received from an artist of the Dutch National Ballet who had trained at the same school as Pavlova, Karsavina and Nureyev lifted each and every one of us.

That class prompted me to do two things.  The first was to arrange some more online classes to make up for the ones that we had missed in March and April over lockdown. The March class was to have been given by Charlotte Ingleson of Ballet North UK.  I asked her to deliver it to us online last Saturday and she did us proud.  She gave us a full 90 minutes.  It was the very next best thing to a class in the studio.  Again, the feedback was phenomenal.  I have invited her to give us another online class while lockdown is continuing as well as a conventional class in The Dancehouse just as soon as we are allowed to return there.

I have also arranged another two classes with Jane on 16 and 30 May.  If you have not signed up for the 16 May you had better get your skates on because it is filling up fast.  I am limiting Zoom classes to 15 because that is about the limit a teacher can see in "Gallery View" if he or she is to offer corrections.  As Mark has told us more than once, "A correction is a tip, not a rebuke." We need as many of them as may be necessary.  The link to register for Jane's class on 16 May 2020 is right here,

Jane gave us our first class in Huddersfield almost two years ago and she gave us a joyous anniversary class with David Plumpton at the piano in Yorkshire Dance two years ago.  Amelia whose leg was in a cast and who had come to watch and listen could not stop herself from joining in. Jane will give us our anniversary class this year though it won't be quite the same over Zoom.  However, the very first Saturday we are allowed back into a studio she and David will give us the class of our lives.

The other thing I did as a result of Maria's class was to launch "Stage Door",  This is a new service to keep balletgoers in touch with their favourite artists and dancers in touch with their fans,  After Sunday lunch we chat with one of our favourite dancers, choreographers, composers or other artists over Zoom. Gavin McCaig and Kevin Poeung of Northern Ballet launched the service last Sunday and it was magic. Maria will be our next guest this Sunday at 3pm and if you want to talk to her you had better get your skates on.  The registration page is here.

I have had several offers of online classes and Zip talks for June which I shall take up if we can keep the momentum going.  So, like every other opportunity or gift in life, use it or lose it.


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