Redbookish Posted June 16, 2008 Report Share Posted June 16, 2008 Well, I'm back from London and the fun experience of doing class on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. A shout out to Ami, Chinafish, and Trying to Improve who were also there, and about another 35 adult ballet students. It was really interesting, and at first the space seemed quite over powering, but our teacher was very encouraging and gave us lots of tips about how to dance in such a big space. So, to start at the beginning. We were met at the Royal Albert Hall Stage Door by one of ENB's wonderful & enthusiastic Education Officers, Rachel, and given ID tags for the rest of the morning. We were ushered through a series of corridors to a place to change and then ushered through more corridors to the auditorium, down some ramps and on to the stage. The RAH is configured at the moment in the round -- or really more like a long oval shape, so we had an imaginary audience all around us. Barres were set up all over the stage, so there was plenty of room. Our teacher was Laura Hussey, a First Artist in the company, and a really down to earth & talented teacher. She could see how nervous people were in such a big group in such a huge space, and she cheered & cajoled us on. She also set a wonderful class, with lots of slow warming up exercises at the beginning (I particularly liked that we did about 3 different tendu combinations) because it was 9.30am on a Sunday morning after all! The corrections were fairly general, as there were 41 people in the class, and of very different levels of ability. But I learned something from everything we did in class, and I liked the way we started off very simply, but were pushed more and more as the class went on. In the centre, for example, she gave us more or less complex options, and lots of pirouette combinations!!! That I liked a lot. But nothing was so complex that I forgot technical requirements in order to remember the combinations. In the centre we were encouraged really to try to fill the space, and o help us, we did the first adage and tendu-pirouette combinations in two groups, so there were just 20 of us filling that big space. And Laura stood halfway up in the auditorium, encouraging us to project out to the audience. She also gave us lots of tips about how to dance in such a big space, and find your spot and so on. Perhaps the most difficult thing (I found) was doing piqué posé pirouettes en manege in two groups. After about 8 turns around the stage, the auditorium kept whirling around even after I stopped! But great fun, really trying to step out, cover the space, but keep in a relatively neat & even circle with other dancers. Our final combination was a very simple grande jeté combination straight down the diagonal; interesting to see how many (or how few) jetés it took to get across the space. Then we had a coffee break in a meeting room, and were shown some of the costumes used in the current ENB show, Strictly Gershwin, and Rachel explained the complex processes of making, hand dying, and logging uses of each costume. We also got to talk to Laura about her career and her current work on the ENB's ballet for children adapted from Angelina Ballerina. Laura is as dancer, choreographic assistant, and manager of the ENB's Angelina Ballerina Company. It sounded like a fantastic career transition for a dancer into other creative roles, although Laura is still very much dancing -- she told us how she had to step into a role in Angelina at very short notice -- it is a male role, and so she's been learning all about partnering and lifting! She emphasised that the ballet version of Angelina is choreographed and danced as "proper ballet" (pointe, partnering etc etc), and then danced with mouse costumes!! She and Rachel told some funny stories bout dancers' reactions the first time the put on the mouse heads . Then we gt to watch the real dancers take class on stage! Most of the ENB Company were there, and also Tamara Rojo, guesting from the Royal Ballet. I'm afraid I don't know the dancers of the ENB well enough to comment moreon what we saw, so I"ll let otherscomment on that. Mainly what I enjoyed watching was the way a professional class is structured & paced. It started off quite simply, and may dancers were doing their own variations on the combinations set by the Balletmaster, obviously knowing what they needed to do for themselves. And we saw some spectacular turning, and some wonderful "messing about" with big jumps after class! It was a class before a performance, so it was obviously aimed at warming up, rather than extending skills. Quote Link to comment
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