Nutcracker Intensive 19 March 2022
© 2022 Jane Elizabeth Lambert All rights reserved


Despite surging coronavirus cases which included two of our friends we resolved to hold our Nutcracker intensive at Dance Studio Leeds on 19 March 2022.  Because of those infections, I decided to convert the strictly in-person event into a hybrid one.  Four of our artists including two who suffered from coronavirus followed the full intensive on Zoom, The rest of us were in Studio 1 at Dance Studio Leeds in Mabgate Mill,.

As some of the most worthwhile events that I have ever attended in the 54 years since I first took up ballet were the choreographic intensives offered by KNT Danceworks several years ago, we modelled Saturday's intensive on that programme.  We invited Jane Tucker of Northern Ballrt Academy who had taken most of KNT's workshops to work her magic on us.

We started with floor exercises on pilates mats between 12:99 and 12:30, continued with cardio exercises which seem to be attributed to Yoko Ichino, rattled through a 90-minute class that included all my favourite exercises and spent the rest of the afternoon on adapting Ivanov's creation to our capabilities and resources.

The result by 18:00 was a piece that belonged unmistakably to The Nutcracker but was within the skills and experience of every single participant in the workshop.   As I had to sit through most of the workshop owing to what the late Earl of Stockton might have called a  "little local difficulty" I watched with satisfaction my fellow dancers grow in confidence and skill.   I taped the final run through and was mightily impressed.

Towards the end of the afternoon, Katie Geddes, the proprietor of Dance Studio Leeds invited us to dance our piece in her Autumn gala.  One of our members who studies in Manchester gave us reason to hope for a similar invitation to our home city even earlier.

Since speaking to Katie I have booked Studio 3  f0r a 90-minute slot on every weekend of September for rehearsals.  If we are invited to dance in Manchester I shall book more space between now and the show.  If Jane can't rehearse us herself I will ask her to appoint a ballet master or mistress to conduct those classes and rehearsals on her behalf.

Our next class will be given by Fiona Noonan at Huddersfield University on 30 April between 12:00 and 13:30. Fiona trained at the Queensland Ballet Academy and later danced with the company.  She has a great eye for detail and motivates her students to push their boundaries and extend them. It was Fiona who led me back to the barre 10 years ago after an absence of many years and I shall always be grateful to her for that lead.   Just before lockdown, Yvonne Chalton of the Dolstra Dance Centre in the Netherlands invited Fiona to rehearse us for her ballet "Morning" from Grieg's Peer Gynt.   I shall encourage Fiona to consider using some of Grieg's music and Yvonne's choreography in that class.

I should like to thank Jane Tucker and everyone who attended the workshop whether online or in-person for one of our best events ever.


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