Beginners' Ballet: Adam Pudney, 8 Nov 2017 Pineapple
One of my favourite dance teachers is Adam Pudney. He teaches at Danceworks and Pineapple. I have had only three classes with him but these have been some of the most useful ever (see Pineapple 20 Nov 2013 and (Another Slice of Pineapple 12 July 2015). If I lived in London I would be one of his regulars.
The last time I attended one of Adam's classes was on 8 Nov 2017. I had travelled to London to do what I had expected to be a stinker of a case that turned out rather well. As I had expected the case to go into a second day I had allowed myself an extra day in the Great Wen. Finding that I did not need it I had time to scurry off to 7 Langley Street for the beginners' class with Adam.
Every time I have attended Adam's class I have had to climb up from the basement to the very top of the building. I don't know whether Adam teaches in any other studio but that is where I have always found him. Climbing those stairs is almost a workout in itself. Unlike my teachers in Leeds who start off with a walk round the studio, followed by arm stretches, followed by a run (and in Jane Tucker's case a sudden change of direction), followed by jumping facing in, jumping facing out, jumping jacks and stretches in accordance with the Ichino method, Adam does not make us do any of that, but we are more than ready for the first exercise by the time we arrive.
Adam focuses on detail and he spends a fair proportion of the class getting the basics right. The video, Ballet Tutorial: Port de Bras with Adam Pudney on the Pineapple YouTube channel shows just what his classes are like. I was led back to ballet by Adam's compatriot, Fiona, over four years ago and although I am not exactly the right shape or size for ballet I was sure that I had picked up something. Too right I had. The first 20 minutes with Adam showed me exactly how many bad habits I had fallen into each of which he pointed out with enormous courtesy and corrected with equal assiduity.
Once Adam was satisfied that we had mastered the basics (at least for the time being) he proceeded to some barre exercises. More bad news for me. My pliés were terrible and my tendus not much better and as for my glissés and ronds de jambe, the less said the better. But we finished the barre and then proceeded to a difficult but very beautiful enchainement in the centre. There was time for pirouettes. Mine are appalling but I think I could actually get them right if I could take Adam's class regularly because he breaks the exercise down into elements that even I can understand. Those who take to them easily are annoyingly well-coordinated types who just do not appreciate the metal effort of rising onto demi, bending the legs, positioning the arms and spotting all at the same time. Though I doubt that he ever had a problem with doing all that at the same time, Adam is sympathetic. He understands that some of us do. And he really helps us to get it.
The class was over far in an hour. That was far too soon. I was just getting into my stride when Adam called us into the centre for cool down and reverence. Classes in Pineapple are quite a bit more expensive than in the North because you have to take out temporary membership of the studio but they are worth the extra. It was well over two years since my last trip to Pineapple. I hope I do not have to wait quite so long for the next one.