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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Classes in London


2 Left Feet

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After much pushing from my partner and friends, I am thinking I might try to fit a class into my schedule while visiting London next week. The only days available will be either Wednesday the 14th or Thursday the 15th of May. Any good classes in London on one of these mornings. Mornings only, I'm afriad. Our evenings are already booked (Jack the Ripper tours, haunted London tours, typical creepy tourist stuff). I'm staying at the Grosvenor House hotel in Mayfair.

 

In Los Angeles I'm a pretty solid intermediate level adult. In New York I'd be intermediate or one step lower. Not sure how classes are rated in England, but that's about where I'm at technically.

 

Any help directing me to a class would be welcome. Not sure if I'll actually get to fit one in, but I'll try. Also, what are dress codes in adult classes like in England? Here in Los Angeles it's pretty loose.

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There are classes on in the mornings here:

 

www.danceworks.co.uk (then go to 'timetable')

 

I don't know what the level's like but it's a good drop-in kind of place. (I've only been to inter and lower levels.) I've had a class by Raymond Chai before, he was great. Dress code is whatever you're comfortable dancing in.

 

Shame you can't do evenings - you could have come to Renato Paroni at Central School of Ballet on the Thursday.

 

I hope you have an excellent holiday! London is best at this time of year.:)

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An evening could be possible if I really wanted to make it happen. I won't rule anything out just yet.

 

I checked out the site you gave me. They have beginning, advanced and pro. Would that be kind of like beginning, intermediate and advanced?

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Guest beckster

2Leftfeet, there are also elementary and intermediate classes at Danceworks which are on during the evenings. Therefore I would read advanced as "advanced" ! ;) If you could make it to a thursday evening with Renato that would be so cool - I might even break my "English style only" rule to meet you!

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I think pro is for people who were (or almost were) professional dancers. It would probably be best to phone in advance and chat to them about your specific circumstances to see how you could fit in.

 

Oh yes, it would be exciting if you made it on the Thursday night!:)

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The Central School site is a really nice site. How close is it to Mayfair? I am not sure baout the Thursday because it's our last night in London. Could make things difficult with the other half.

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The closest tube station to Central School is Farringdon. From Green Park (tube station in Mayfair) you're looking at about 25 minutes (less if you're lucky...)

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The Tuesday night class may be easier to make for me. We get in from Paris about 3:00 PM that day. I'll have to check all this out with the other half to make sure I won't be killed first. We leave this afternoon from Los Angeles, so I'll be out of internet contact for a couple of days.

 

This could be fun if it works out. Would love to put some faces with the names here on BA.

 

Ed

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Hey London BA friends. Back from Paris. Ill PM you guys with my hotel info. Tomorrow nights class is best for me (Tuesday night)

 

Ed

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I've been to Danceworks. I thought it was a lot of fun, and neat to be right across from Selfridges.

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Hey guys:

 

Tried to PM you last night. N o idea if it worked or not. I'm back in London. Came in last night to get out of Paris ahead of the rail strike in France today. I'm up for Renatos class at Central School tonight at 7PM. May not be able to make any other clases after that.

 

I now have web access, if somewhat unreliable. I'll check back to see if we're on for tonight or not.

 

Ed

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Hey guys:

 

I got your message that you couldn't make it -- after I got back to the hotel from the class. No problem. I figured out real quick you guys were not able to make it.

 

Renato was a very interesting teacher. He reminds me of Pedro from Richmond in the way he creates terms and uses language to his own ends. I was not expecting the class to be quite as basic as it was, though. But, as I was on vacation any class was a bonus.

 

I never did make it to danceworks and I never could figure out where exactly it was.

 

I'm back home in Los Angeles now. I gained 5 pounds on the trip (mostly in your hospitable home town -- the cheesecake at Fortnum and Mason was something I could not say "No" to) so I'm ready to get back into the studio and burn it off again.

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Hey Ed, glad you had a good holiday (and you're supposed to put on weight on your hols, so don't worry!);)

 

I think it is interesting that you found the class basic. While the barre exercises are not complex, it is quite difficult to do everything as perfectly as he wants them to be done! You will be relieved that you did not go on Thursday, we had to do one exercise 3 times on each side until he was satisfied. It wasn't that boring either, because each time we were looking out for something else to do better.

 

It is in the centre that I find the class most challenging. It is not like a traditional class at all in the sense that it is a bit slower but it is so demanding. I often wish that the class was more 'European' in style (I'm not sure if this is a good way of putting it) but I do like the way there are lots of opportunities for expression and doing things precisely.

 

I have been to too many classes in London where the teacher is not interested in what the class is doing, and sets things way too fast and difficult for most people (except for the 'stars'.) Renato seems rare in that he really appears to enjoy teaching adults and making everyone, whatever stage they are at, feel equal and talented (or at least like they have potential talent.) While I am not always satisfied with the exercises that we are given to do (I like lots of petit allegro and pirouette exercises, and we don't get a lot of this) I will continue going there because I have never been in such a friendly studio. And in many ways that is what makes the biggest difference.

 

I'm not having a go at you, but I wanted to let you know why I think the class is set at the level it is. A good class here is hard to find! I'm interested in what you thought, and I can't really imagine what classes must be like in the States where there seems to be many more options out there for adult ballet dancers.:)

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Kate:

 

I did not think you were having a go at me so don't worry. Preferences in class style are as different as colors in the rainbow.

 

I liked Renato. I liked his attentiveness, the ease in which he ran his classroom, the fact he made every student from the most able to absolute beginner feel comfortable. I also felt he was very good at figuring out what the common problems were in a group and making sure they were corrected.

 

One thing that had me puzzled was that he kept saying, "In America they do..." this and that. Took me a while to figure out he was refering to the Balanchine method. I guess this is where I was disappointed. I had hoped to take a true RAD style class while in London, mostly to get the experience of another style. In America, styles in classerooms tend to be a melting pot of everything out there so getting a class that's just Balanchine or just RAD is pretty rare for adults.

 

As far as it being too easy, thats a judgement call as well. I'm used to smaller, more intense classes. My experience in the states is that the term "open class" infers a tougher level of technique and a faster class. I went into Renatos class not even sure I could handle it because of this. It was only my preconceptions that made it anything less than what it actually was, nothing more.

 

In fact, it's rare to find an adult teacher so focused on technique like Renato. Thats why I like my teacher here in Los Angeles. She has a nice mix of moving the class along while diong her best to make sure your technique is correct.

 

If I'd had the time I would have taken the Thursday night class. But there was a very attractive apple martini, an equally lovely bottle of wine and a great dinner with friends waiting for me in Richmond. I wasn't about to miss that. LOL

 

Ed

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Hey Ed, thanks for your reply. I see what you mean now!:D

 

I don't know if you could have gone to a decent RAD class - I have not found one I can regularly attend here yet!

 

I was interested in what you said about the Balanchine style. I have often wondered what he was talking about and I knew Renato did not teach in a style I had experienced before, but he does tend to call it the 'American way' rather than Balanchine, and this confused me!

 

I think in London, and the UK, 'open class' just means you don't have to sign up for a series of lessons in advance. I quite like the system, although it does take a longish time of making sure one attends regularly to actually feel like one belongs to a class.

 

Anyway, thanks for making that clear for me. And by the way, WHAT is an apple martini? Sounds delicious!:cool:

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