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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Richmond Reports


olddude

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Now I want to hear more details about the first session!!! I'm dying to know how it went!!

 

Hmmm... I keep waiting for someone to start a new thread, but I guess we are all still in blissed-out recovery phase.

 

I thought it went very well; I certainly had a great time (see my post today in the June champagne thread). My perspective is of course the lower levels, but we had some terrific classes - it seemed to me that everyone was getting really useful and insightful corrections in the morning technique classes.

 

A small thing counted a lot for me; this is from the guy's perspective. Heidi and Julia came to the men's technique class the day before partnering began and we (there were two men) got some extra instruction in partnering. That gave us a leg up since most of the men in partnering class were hired pros. Last year the women got to dance mostly with pros, so a) we didn't, and :D we looked bad in comparison :blushing: This year was much more comfortable in that respect.

 

As before, Kathy Sawyer did an astounding job of getting 20 dancers who've never danced together and who all have very different training, to dance like a corps in the repertory class - all together and just beautiful. Us guys sit out the first half so we get to see this transformation close up.

 

No question, I'm going again. I've already arranged for a few private lessons to refine the men's variation so I can show it to Randall next year. Am I obsessive? Am I a dance geek now? Yes, it's true!

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Olddude has given us the first report, so I hope others will add as you all return.

 

Tell those of us (poor souls :D ) who weren't able to attend everything!! :blushing: What were the challenges? What new ideas did you learn? What new solutions to old problems did you find? What were the levels like? And what was the gossip in the "Dancer soup" each night in the hot tub :P ?

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I'm glad "olddude" gave in the first report. I didn't want to be presumptuous as it was my first time and I'm also new to these boards. :)

 

It was my first time in Richmond, having discovered the site by accident one day, around January of this year. I read all the info, including Ed's blog, once it was put up on the site, and immediately set up a private conditioninng lesson a week wth my fave teacher (who, on seeing my photos and having read my daily report to her from Richmond now is looking to come next year - YAY!!!). That, plus working out at the gym, helped me cope somewhat with the rigors.

 

I did the 3A placement class and wasn't asked to move down so I guess it was an acceptable level for me. My teacher here told me to take 3A once she saw the descriptions of the levels.

 

What were the challenges? In my case, not HURTING anyone in the corps (repertory) piece!! I'm not joking - I managed to put my knee on a poor lady's toe (in a kneel), sweep her leg out from under her when we both were doing tour jete (same piece), whop the head of our fabulous teacher in that same-said piece (she said her fault because she should have been kneeling but was on her way up as I was on my way down!), and whack another lightly in the stomach. All of these poor people were extremely gracious, however, but I still owe the one lady a stiff drink. Next year, I hope!! :-)

 

Other challenges: my ankles. They gave out on the second or third day and it was utterly painful to do classes. Funnily, they were okay in pointe shoes but demi-pointe was agonising. I had the strapped and wrapped most of the time just to cope. It's very frustrating when one's mind knows the body USED to be able to do the technique but the body won't cooperate. My hips also hurt in the first couple of days (a sign I was actually turning out properly perhaps??) but that went away after I did 20 mins of cycling at the hotel. I think they were just in shock. *grin*

 

New ideas learned: A muscle in the back that I hadn't been using was discovered on the very first day by Randall. Another teacher showed me how to adjust my hips so that my leg goes behind me properly, and more easily than I had been doing it. And Randall, again, showed how to contract the hamstring muscle for tendu - which might later help the strength for extension.

 

I found the 3A level sufficiently challenging but not so challenging that I couldn't work on placement. I'm overweight, and had had a broken ankle a couple of years ago, so working on placement is very important to me right now. Pointe class (beginner) was excellent! Actually, I found it all to be extremely valuable. All the teachers were so amazing!! If my ankles hold up this year, I may do the intermediate pointe class next year. I do take it weekly, at the least, here so it won't be a shock to the system next year if I do try it.

 

I must say, though, that the highlight for me the entire week was the Pas de Deux class!!! I'd never done ballet partnering before (only jazzy/modern stuff). It really was a trust situation. My torso hurt incredibly after each class, because one really does have to pull up as hard as possible to make sure that the men can move you with as little effort as possible. I did it on pointe and am glad I did.

 

Can't speak too much to the "Dancer's Soup" thing because I wasn't in there as much as I would have liked to have been. The supportive atmosphere there amongst the students at the camp was, by far, one of the best I've experienced. I take at a ballet school with kids, not other adults, because we have no real adult classes near me. I'm glad to be accepted into those classes that I can get, too, but it was so nice to see others of my age who (still) have the same passion for ballet that I have. I showed my pictures at the school back here, as I'm in the intensive program at the current ballet school (2 hours daily - better than nothing!). The little girls were impressed - especially with the partnering photos, and I'm sure seeing the pictures is what I think convinced my teacher to go for it next year. :-)

 

So that's my report. Sorry if it sounds rambling. I'm still on a high! :devil:

Edited by Redbookish
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Wow, only two guys, what a shame. Injuries and a new job prevent me from going this year. Ladies, you don't know how lucky you are to have men to partner with.

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Hi Ripresa!

 

Yes, it was when I went there two years ago. We didn't have many foreign visitors but several different ethnic groups within the US. I attended the second session.

Edited by Redbookish
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Is the camp ethnically diverse?

 

Most definitely - at least it was in the June session this year. :-)

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It should be in the welcome packet. The place is called "Art of Massage" and they give us a discount (although I will tip as if it's the full amount). I had two massages - one on Wednesday and one on Saturday. Both the people I had were fantastic!

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I've split off the posts which were just about logistics and dietary sensitivities to their own dedicated thread Richmond Logistics to leave this thread clear for discussions of the main aim of the Richmond ADC: improving ballet technique!! :P

 

I'm hoping to get there next year for a holiday, and I'm interested in how pas de deux and repertoire went for the women if you don't do pointe work anymore?

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Repertoire wasn't on pointe for us, at least for levels 2 and 3A and I don't recall anyone doing the upper division on pointe, to be honest.

 

Pas de deux for those who didn't do pointe still looked good, in my view. I chose pointe, and am glad I did. But those who didn't still looked really great! :-)

Edited by Redbookish
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...

I'm hoping to get there next year for a holiday, and I'm interested in how pas de deux and repertoire went for the women if you don't do pointe work anymore?

I'm not sure of the exact phrasing, but as I recall, at level 2 pointe is "discouraged", at level 3A it's "optional", 3B is "encouraged", and 4 is "expected but not required". Something like that anyhow. Since 2 and 3A are merged, as are 3B and 4, you can see that pointe is not universal even at the higher level performances, and not unheard of at the lower level.

 

From the audience perspective, pointe is more showy - but a mixture works perfectly well. I was not really aware of who was on pointe or not in the rep pieces, and only slightly aware in the women's variations and the pas de deux.

 

The only difficulty I found last year as an inexperienced partner was that the difference in balance between pointe and demi-pointe is substantial and could easily throw me off; for this reason I asked my partner in the rep if she would make the choice early on. Fortunately she was quite willing (and her balance was so good to begin with, partnering her was more delight than terror!)

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If any of you who have been there any year had to make a choice between repertory and partnering class, what would it be and why?

Sorry if this sounds like a pageant question.

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If any of you who have been there any year had to make a choice between repertory and partnering class, what would it be and why?

Funny! The first time, I thought I might skip the performancea, and certainly the partnering. Well, I couldn't back out of the rep at the last minute, it would screw up eveybody else's preparations. And I could not very well skip the men's variation, since it was choreographed for the two of us and wouldn't make any sense with just one part. And Heidi didn't give me a choice on the pas de deux - she had everyone scheduled in groups with partners before we realized it. I think she does this on purpose. :yes: I was just as glad afterwards though.

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If any of you who have been there any year had to make a choice between repertory and partnering class, what would it be and why?

Sorry if this sounds like a pageant question.

 

 

We never really had to make that choice. The classes were at different times, if I recall correctly.

 

I would have a hard time choosing between the two since they are so very different, though. They are both so much fun and challenges in their own way.

 

A somewhat funny story about pas de deux two years ago. I guess it's not so funny for the guy, he's probably still talking about what happened. Our combination was loads of fun and we worked together pretty well until the third day of practice when I had an assisted glissade to the side and my partner stepped slightly too far forward and I caught him with the tip of my pointe shoe as I was sliding my foot to the side. I didn't actually land on his foot, I just caught him as I was moving sideways. It really hurt! I felt really bad for the guy. But, truthfully, it wasn't really my fault. The movement was in the expected direction, he just mistakenly stepped forward instead of to the side with me. I don't think he had partnered much with someone in pointe shoes before and it was quite an eye opener. Even so, I felt really bad. So guys, partnering with someone en pointe is definitely different than someone in ballet flats. Be sure and stay out of the way or you might get hurt! :yes:

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I think Laschwen, if you have to pay for the extra classes and are NOT doing the performance, then go for partnering. It's an experience you will never forget.

 

Repertory is corps de ballet style stuff, so if you do have to make the choice (e.g. half-day people have to, if I recall correctly), you'll need to stick with what your choice is because rep is a big group thing. One person not in it some of the time will be difficult to choreograph for the teacher doing that sequence.

 

I would recommend you email Heidi and ask her for advice on this, and to clarify what you have to do.

 

My improvement in the repertory was that after two days, I managed to execute all the steps without hurting anyone else. I still owe that one lady a drink... :innocent:

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