Powerhouse Ballet's Romantic Ballet Workshop
|Sara Horner and Members of the Company
On Sunday 24 Sept 2023, we combined our September company class from Sara Horner with Jane Tucker's intensive workshop on La Sylphide. We enjoyed the workshop so much that we have decided to rehearse it over the next few weeks and offer it to Dance Studio Leeds's Celebration of Dance at the Chroma-Q Theatre in Leeds on 25 Nov 2023.
Even though it is set in the British Isles La Sylphide is performed much more frequently outside the United Kingdom than in it. English National Ballet has recently added it to its repertoire and Scottish Ballet has a variation by Sir Matthew Bourne but all the other performances that I have seen have been by foreign companies. The one that sticks in my memory is Queensland Ballet's (see A Dream realized: the Queensland Ballet in London 12 Aug 2015 Terpsichore). For those who do not know the ballet I have written a brief primer and linked to a performance of the whole work by the Royal Danish Ballet on YouTube.
We started our intensive at noon. Sara Horner who has taught me at Dance Studio Leeds and Northern Ballet delivered a 90-minute class. Sadly I joined just in time for the Grand Allegro because I had to collect a colleague from York, settle the studio hire and complete individual warm-up exercises at the barre. However, I enjoyed what I did and it was clear from the expressions of delight on the faces of the dancers that everyone had had a great time.
Jane arrived just as we finished our cool-down and reverence. As I was not sure how many would attend the workshop I decided to advertise it as a "Romantic Ballet intensive". When she arrived Jane announced that we would dance La Sylphide. The extract that she has chosen is where James meets the sylphs. He walks among the sylphs for a while and then as Løvenskiold's music rises into a crescendo he executes an elegant solo. On Saturday we recruited a very promising James to accompany our supertalented sylphs.
Even though I have lost some weight I would never pass myself off as one of them in a month of Sundays. However, there is a role that would suit me down to the ground. I would love to dance Madge, the witch who takes her revenge on James for his inhospitality by selling him a diaphanous shawl that is toxic to sylphs. Madge does not appear in this scene but if we ever run La Sylphide in full I shall audition for that role.
The cast for the show is not yet closed. If anyone wants to join us the next rehearsal takes place at Dancxe Studio Leeds between 14:00 and 17:00 on 8 Oct. I shall circulate a reminder in the next few days