Author Roy Gray
Licence Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Folk in the rest of the UK tend to be very unkind about Essex even though there is much to admire in that county. For a start it possesses some beautiful countryside as you can see from the photo of the River Chelmer from which Chelmsford derives its name. Also, it has one of the nation's oldest ballet companies of which I am proud to say I am a non-dancing associate member.
In order to graduate from associate to dancing member one has to be accepted at an audition which takes place once a year. Those who are accepted are considered for the annual show in March as well as special events and workshops.
This year's auditions will take place on 24 June 2018. There are three classes of membership and the criteria are as follows:
"GENERAL DANCERSThose who are accepted for any grade of membership are expected to show a reasonable degree of commitment to the company. Obviously I can't do all that from Holmfirth but I would have applied for general dancer membership like a shot had I lived in Essex. Those who can make the grade and offer the required level of commitment should apply by completing and lodging this application form before 10 June.
Age 13 years on 1st September in the year of the audition and holding a Grade 2 Ballet certificate (or above) or be working at an equivalent level.
Age 13 years on 1st September in the year of the audition – Female dancers should be working “en pointe”.
Age 10 years and not more than 12 on 1st September in the year of the audition and holding a Grade 2 Ballet certificate (or above) or be working at an equivalent level."
If you are accepted at the audition you qualify for all sorts of fun things like workshops with Ballet Central and Sir Matthew Bourne's company, New Adventures. Ballet Central's took place on 22 April and was aptly described in the notice to members as a "perfect after show treat." You can say that again. I am green with envy.
Chelmsford's joint patron is none other than Chris Marney who was a magnificent Count Lilac in Bourne's production of The Sleeping Beauty and is now Artistic Director of Ballet Central. The dancers from Chelmsford Ballet have an opportunity "to sample innovative and exciting repertoire and work on story telling and characterisation in dance" on Sunday 8 July 2018. The blurb from Chelmsford (appropriately on a lilac background) states:
"This is an amazing chance to participate in a workshop specifically tailored for the Chelmsford Ballet Company, which will allow all grades of dancing members an opportunity to understand the process of narrative dance and to work on characterisation."Finally a note to my fellow Northerners. We could do this sort of thing if we ever get Powerhouse Ballet off the ground. In the short term Karen Sant has offered us a day's intensive training in Manchester, Ballet West a week in Scotland and Terence Etheridge a fantastic experience in Cornwall. We have got Northern Ballet and Phoenix on our doorstep. They would almost certainly be willing to help. We have excellent links with all the other leading companies in the UK and even beyond.
But in order to get off the ground we need a full class of dancers in Huddersfield on Saturday 26 May 2018 at 15:00. You have the opportunity of a FREE 90-minute class with Jane Tucker, one of the best teachers in the business, for which you would have to pay £7 plus a £5 registration fee in Leeds or £15 in Manchester. Opportunities live this do not grow on trees.