|Water colour 1893|
Author: US Department of Agriculture
Yesterday the dance classes that meet in the Dancehouse theatre's studios were due to present their summer show in the main auditorium (see Showcase and Move It at the Dancehouse 8 June 2016). Unfortunately a problem arose on Friday which our principal teacher, Karen Sant, explained in her Facebook page:
"As some of you may know, part of the ceiling in the theatre has come down so the auditorium at The Dancehouse is not safe to use. Myself and some very lovely ladies have been ringing places all morning trying to find another theatre that will have us but no one can at such short notice. There was an option to do next week (but I know that some of you aren't available) or postpone it to September (I said we can do another show by September!). I have asked Dave (theatre manager) if we can have a studio showing and he said it's fine as long as 1 - I know I'll be charged full rate for the studio - between £100 - £150 p/h, 2 - only 50 dancers allowed, 3 - 1 guest per dancer, 4 - it's okay with Richard (studio manager). I'm currently waiting for them to speak to each other to get the go ahead but I wanted to keep you in the loop."She then asked the dancers: "Would you be up for a studio performance tomorrow?"
Karen took a poll of each of the KNT dance classes which produced the following result:
"Okay so I've had to make a decision. Not everyone has voted but I can't leave it any longer. The majority have voted for studio performance tomorrow and show next week. However I've received lots of messages saying they can't do tomorrow and also lots saying they'd prefer to perfect the dances for September. SO studio performance tomorrow is going ahead! I will get another poll going for you to decide on show next week or show in September but tomorrow is currently the most important thing to deal with so I'm going to concentrate on that."Not all the pieces could be accommodated in the studio but the class that I usually attend was one of those that could.
I would loved to have taken part in the show but I could not do so for a number of reasons one of which was that it clashed with the Birmingham Royal Ballet's performance in Birmingham of John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew between 16 and 18 June 2016. Now Cranko is my all time favourite choreographer and The Taming of the Shrew is my very favourite of his works. I have only managed to see once before in more than thalf a century of serous ballet going. Now wild horses were not going to keep me from seeing that show, especially as Elisha Willis was due to make her farewell appearance in the matinee performance (see Roz Law Birmingham Royal Ballet star Elisha Willis on ditching dancing for stitching 14 June 2016 Birmingham Mail).
The advertised performance was due to start at 19:30 which would have given me just enough time to catch the start of the show if I caught the 17:31 train from Birmingham. However, during the drinks interval in Birmingham I received a text from Karen stating that the studio performance would start at 19:00 and only a few of the pieces would go ahead.
As soon as the reverence was over I sauteed up the stairs, ran towards New Street which is hidden in a department store, dashed down the stairs and made a grand jete through the doors of the train just as they were about to close. We were packed like sardines and it was standing room only to Stafford but I aspire to be a dancer so I wasn't going to worry about that. I repeated my sautes and jetes and running in Manchester and arrived at the Dancehouse a few minutes after the show had started.
According to Karen the pieces that went ahead were as follows:
"Ailsa's pieces:I arrived just in time for the Dance of the Flowers from The Nutcracker. All my friends were in lovely white costumes with flowers and they danced the piece so beautifully it nearly made my cry. I could not help but rise to my feet which I very rarely do even for the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden.
Pre Intermediate Ballet
The next piece was a duet by my teachers Karen Samt and Mark Hindle. "Are these really my teachers?" I thought. "They are so good." It should not have come as a surprise because I attend their classes regularly but one rarely sees one's teacher as a performer and when one does it is a revelation. I am told by those who have reached that stage that pas de deux work is very tricky for both partners: the man because he has to apply considerable strength in a controlled fashion, the woman also has to be strong, both have to keep smiling and appear relaxed; and, of course, there has to be perfect confidence between them. There were some difficult bits in the piece that Mark and Karen had chosen including a fish dive. I was so impressed by them and I am so lucky to be taught by them.
The next piece was contemporary to the music of Paint it Black. The dancers appeared in black leotards, leggings and face masks. They were energetic and exciting. The audience picked up on the energy and became absorbed in the dance. I've only attempted a couple of contemporary classes and not continued with that genre because I just can't recover gracefully from the floor in anything like the time required, There was some very daunting floor work and some difficult turns. Again, I felt compelled to rise after the performance.
My favourite bit of the whole show was my class. Their piece included all the exercises that we had learned in class such as temps leves, arabesques and soutenus which were executed with precision and grace. However, there was one move that we don't learn every day and that was where Simon Garner and Tyson Collins had to lift one of the girls - I think it was Katie but I may be wrong because my eyes were on the boys as I was so amazed by them. The dance finished in a lovely coming together and presentation to the audience. Oh I was so proud of those folks. Earlier in the day I had clapped my hands raw and roared myself hoarse for Elisha Willis. I did the same for my classmates. I couldn't stop myself.
The last class was advanced ballet and that was the most accomplished and polished. There were a lot of jumps and some difficult fast turns. The dancers wore claret coloured shifts which flowed and rippled with their movements. Collectively they projected grace and beauty and some individuals displayed considerable virtuosity. They richly deserved their applause at the end.
I must have missed one of the performances as I arrived just after 19:00 and was told by the reception staff that I had missed the first 10 minutes. Simon Garner's Facebook page shows several dancers in white shirts and bow ties. It must have been their piece. I am so sorry to have missed their show, If it is to be repeated next week or September I look forward to seeing it then.
Of the four shows that I have seen at The Dancehouse I enjoyed this the most. The dancers threw themselves into the show and I think they excelled themselves. In the bar afterwards several told me they were conscious of that and that they wanted to put on a particularly good show to make up for their disappointment at not performing in the theatre. Also in the bar I learned that it was Katie Daly's birthday and that must go at least part of the way to explaining why she danced so well. I hope she had a lovely day. I certainly had a great evening.
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