Company Class, Yorkshire Dance, 31 July 2921
Author Sarah Lambert   © 2021 Powerhouse Ballet, all rights reserved

Ever since we set up Powerhouse Ballet we have invited Annemarie Donoghue of Nothern Ballet to give the last class of the year.   This is always one of the highlights of the year.   It was particularly special this year because it celebrated our staying together and staying motivated through a very challenging time.   

The class took place at Yorkshire Dance between 14:45 and 16:45 on 31 July 2021.  That was 30 minutes longer than our usual time.  It gave Annemarie a chance to repeat exercises, give corrections and work on pirouettes as requested by several members.  For some of us,  it was our first day back in the studio.  None of us had been back for more than a handful of times.   We had all attended online classes but there is all the difference in the world between training in a studio with a  well-sprung floor and following in a kitchen or sitting room.

Our company class coincided with a summer school and a number of other events which left Yorkshire Dance short of travelling barrres.  That was an irritation but not a catastrophe because we used chairs instead.  Indeed, Annemarie turned it to advantage by encouraging us to do glissés and a number of other barre exercises in the centre.   In previous company classes as well as her classes for dancers over 55 at Northern Ballet Annemarie has worked on improving dancers' balance.  In her last class with us before lockdown she challenged is to attempt fondus and developés on trampolines.  No trampolines were available on this occasion but she asked us to finish many of our exercises balancing on one leg.

Much of the time available for centre work was devoted to pirouettes.  Pirouettes had never been my strong suit but I had seen to have forgotten even the basics in lockdown because Annemarie noted that I had been turning dedans rather than dehors without my even realizing.   Annemarie has a very useful exercise to balance the body in preparation for a turn which I remember from my classes with her at Northern Ballet.  She drilled us in that exercise until she felt able to include a soutenu and pirouette in a delightful adagio.

Soon - far too soon - we came to the end of our two hours.   Sarah took the photo at the top and Bo the photo below.   Although attendance was down because of conflicting commitments, family holidays and concern over Covid, we still filled every corner of the studio with movement.  There was laughter and lots of smiles.  Most of us had travelled long distances to be there.   Three of our members crossed the Pennines.  Another came down from Ripon.  Yet another from South Yorkshire.   And one of us had magnificently trekked up from Birmingham.  We all felt a sense of achievement.   It was good to work with Annemarie again but also good to train together

Author  Bo Zhang  © 2021 Powerhouse Ballet


  1. Thank you so much for organising this class Jane, and to Annemarie Donoghue for leading it. I very much enjoyed coming up to Leeds to meet you all again. It wasn't my first time back in a class with you after the lockdown but last time I was streaming it and couldn't do many exercises.


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