Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Yvonne Charlton

Yvonne Charlton
© 2018 Yvonne Charlton: all rights reserved
Licence Reproduced with kind permission of the owner

On my trips to Amsterdam to see the Dutch National Ballet I have made a number of friends and acquaintances. One of them is the teacher and choreographer, Yvonne Charlton.  I met her and two of her students for the first time at the Dutch National Ballet's New Moves last year. We renewed our acquaintance at the Junior Company's fifth anniversary show in April.

Yvonne is head of ballet at the Institute of Dance and Movement Jos Dolstra in IJsselstein (an ancient cathedral city in the province of Utrecht a little under 30 miles from Amsterdam) and has taught there since 1989.   She teaches ballet, including pointe work, and Pilates to adults, children and young people.  She has students at every level of proficiency from absolute beginners to advanced.  She trained at the Nel Roos Ballet Academy which is now the National Ballet Academy and is accredited in the quality register of the Dansbelang NBDO and by the Royal Academy of Dance.

In addition to her classes at IJsselsrein she arranges two special workshops every year in collaboration with the outreach department of the National Ballet. Each workshop focuses on an extract from a ballet in the company's current season.  A dancer from the company demonstrates the piece and Yvonne helps the attendees master it.

Yvonne has also created her own versions of The Nutcracker and Peter and the Wolf for her students in collaboration with the Utrecht symphony orchestra which they perform in December.  The photo below appears to show a curtain call at the end of one of her students' performances.

© 2018 Yvonne Charlton: all rights reserved

The following photo shows some of her students in action.

© 2018 Yvonne Charlton: all rights reserved

One event to which she referred that aroused my curiosity was “Vrouwtje Klein Sprokkelhorst”.  Now I have not yet had an opportunity to study Dutch formally but I can work out a lot because it is first cousin to English and closely related to German which I did study at secondary school. I still use that language in my work when I look up prior art.  I know that "klein" means little in German and is likely to mean the same in Dutch. I remember from Ted Brandsen's Coppelia that the suffix "-tje" is a diminutive in Dutch because his Swanhilde is called "Zwaantje" or "Little Swan".  "Vrouw" is pronounced exactly like "Frau" and must mean "lady". So, as an educated guess, "Vrouwtje" may mean "Fraülein" or "Miss".  The words must mean "Little Miss Sprokkelhorst" but that does not take us very much further,  I googled the words and found that there really was a little Miss Sprokkelhorst who lived in IJsselstein in the 1930s with unusual water devining powers that came to the attention of the Queen of the Netherlands and who is remembered at Christmas for some reason or other (see De Kerstavondvan mevrouw Klein Sprokkelhorst).

Yvonne will be in Liverpool in September and has offered to give Powerhouse Ballet and anyone who wants to train with us us a special repertoire class on the 22 of that month (see A Very Special Class in Liverpool - and Leeds is filling up 22 July 2018 on the Powerhouse Ballet website).  She proposes to teach us two or, if time permits, three of her own works.  The class will take place at Z Studios at 42 Devon Street immediately after our usual company class with Mark Hindle.  There are some lovely dancers in Liverpool (as indeed there are in Manchester, Yorkshire and further afield) who could do justice to Yvonne's choreography.

Registration for Yvonne's class and Mark's on 22 Sept will open immediately after our Leeds class on Saturday. Even though I have hired the largest studio I can find in Liverpool I think we will fill it very quickly.

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