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A lot of things seem to happen on Monday evenings. It's the night that the London Ballet Circle meets for its talks. Last Monday it was Ballet Black's first Friends evening (see Ballet Black's First Friends' Event: A Rehearsal with Chris Marney 14 July 2016). A few weeks earlier I was on my way to Trecate (see From Italy with Love 1 July 2016). Before that I was travelling back from Hungary (see My Trip to Hungary 23 April 2016). For all those reasons and more I had got out of the habit of visiting The Dance Studio, Leeds for its Monday evening Beginners and Improvers Ballet Class.
That is a pity for the class is good. It is held in a convenient location at Mabgate Mills less than a mile from Northern Ballet where there is plenty of free parking and at the very convenient time of 19:45 which enables me to do a full day's work before grands battements and ronds de jambe. There is a nice bunch of students in the class and until a few weeks ago it was run by the studio's founder, Katie Geddes, who is lovely. Last Christmas she organized a trip to The Nutcracker at The Grand (see Northern Nutcracker 19 Dec 2015) and a great party which raised funds for the NSPCC.
Katie is on maternity leave just now and one of the members of the class showed me some photos of her little boy who was born in May so huge congratulations to her and best wishes to the rest to her family. Since Katie went on leave her class has been taken by Sara Horner. According to the studio's website:
"Sara has been performing and teaching for over 11 years since completing her professional training at Performers College, Essex. During this time, she has worked in corporate shows, Pantomime, Cruise ships and Theatre tours of the UK and abroad, as a lead female vocalist, dancer and backing artist. Sara is also a freelance dance teacher teaching in numerous establishments in the West Yorkshire region. She is also Principal of Sara Horner School of Dance teaching ballet, tap, and modern to adults and children in Leeds."Essex is the county of The Chelmsford Ballet Company and Just Ballet so anyone trained there must be good.
And so she was. Distracted by a passionate conversation about mobile phones I lost my turning and had to drive round acres of urban blight by the motorway before I found my way to Mabgate Mills by which time I had missed warm up and plies. However, I caught the rest of the barre which proceeded briskly with combined tendus and glisses, fondus and ronds de jambe, developpes, cloches and barre stretches. Embarrassingly I was the only member of the class who couldn't get a right leg on the barre and as they were travelling barres there was no lower rail. However, I could get my left leg up. Dunno what's gone wrong with my right leg. I could manage it OK this time last year. No doubt a sign of ageing. It's the only thing holding me back from putting my name down for Jane Tucker's Bayadere intensive in Manchester next month (see La Bayadère it is 2 July 2016).
Be that as it may I enjoyed the adagio, the pirouette exercise which Sara worked into a little enchainement, glissades and assembles and the temps leves and grands jetes at the end. As I said in Dance Studio Leeds Beginners' Ballet Class 23 Oct 2015 the studio in which class takes place is not exactly cavernous so we have to apply the brakes after the second step hop let alone the step across the puddle which is how I was originally taught grand jetes but it was a lot of fun and the cool down and reverence came far too soon.
I thoroughly recommend this class especially while Northern Ballet is closed for the vacation. It costs £6.50 for a 90 minute session which is about average for the North of England and well below the cost in London. There is a good teacher and nice atmosphere. Everyone makes an effort but it's not edgy or competitive.