Tuesday, 9 September 2014

It's not every Class that you can use Lord Canning's Eyes for Spotting

One of the chandeliers in the magnificent ballroom of
Liverpool town hall
Photo Jane Lambert 

A few weeks ago I had the honour of meeting Councillor Ian Selby the Mayor of South Kesteven at a dance event (see "Chantry Dance - Making Connections" 30 Aug 2014). This evening at another dance event I met Rachel Plant the Lady Mayoress of Liverpool. The occasion was an evening of dance classes in support of the Lord Mayor's charities in the magnificent ballroom of Liverpool Town Hall.

The classes were given by Karen of KNT Danceworks whose complete beginners' class in Manchester I reviewed on 29 Aug 2014 (see "So Proud of Manchester - KNT Danceworks Complete Beginners Class"). Karen offered us three beginners' classes in ballet, jazz and contemporary. Like most of us who turned up at the town hall I took all three classes and enjoyed them all.

As you can see from the photos on its website Liverpool town hall is a magnificent building and the ballroom is probably the most impressive part of it. Some idea of its grandeur can be obtained from the photo of one of its chandeliers. There were well over 30 dancers in the room.  All of us were women and most were in their twenties or thirties though they were several who were not far short of my age.

As there was no barre in the ballroom we had to execute pliés, tendus, glissés, ronds de jambe and grands battements unaided which I found quite difficult but a very good discipline. Next we did a port de bras starting with a chassé to the right, arabesque and soutenu which was repeated on the left. We practised it together and were then divided into groups in which we performed it again. The next exercise was chaînés. Karen told us to spot something. Immediately to my right was a massive portrait of Lord Canning so I locked on to his eyes. Usually one has to make do with a door handle or a vase on the piano. Such was the glory of the setting. Next we had jumps and finally temps levés from right to left and left to right. And then, alas, the reverence. Like every good dance class it was over all too soon.

In the room next door the Lady Mayoress welcomed us to refreshments and a display of materials in aid of her mothers' charities. There were poems, sweets, badges and other goodies. Rachel Plant gave us a short presentation on dementia aided by a game of dementia friends' bingo in which she taught us some of the facts of the condition. Clearly that is a topic on which Ms Plant has considerable expertise.

After the break Karen gave us a jazz class, This was a first for me. After a warm up we learned a routine. I found jazz much faster than ballet and I struggled to keep up. However, it is also very exuberant and I am certainly coming back for more.  We practised the routine as a group and then performed it in groups.

Karen allowed us a few minutes to grab a drink and then on with contemporary which was another first for me. This was he hardest part of the evening largely because it involved a lot of floor work which us not easy for a 65 year old. However, I gave it my best shot and after two or three goes I think I was getting the hang if it by the time we had to do final stretches.

A few weeks ago someone posted on Facbook: "You can't buy happiness but you can buy a dance class and that's kinda the same thing" Judging by the chattering and laughter, tonight's classes showed just how true that is.


I have embedded a tweet from Liverpool town hall with a lovely picture of our teacher and the Lord and Lady Mayoress at the entrance to the town hall,

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