Sunday, 5 August 2018

Powerhouse Ballet August Update

Leeds Company Class 28 July 2018
© 2018 Powerhouse Ballet: all rights reserved

Last week's class with Annemarie Donoghue of Northern Ballet was the best class ever in terms of numbers with 21 attendees, and it was also very enjoyable.  But the excitement generated last week has been quite overtaken by events,

On 31 June 2018 I wrote that we had been offered a slot at Move IT in Manchester on 16 or 23 Feb.  I had originally planned to stage the pas de six from Bournonville's Napoli because there seemed to be nothing in the piece that I had not been taught at one time or another by my teachers at Northern Ballet or KNT.  However, Beverley Willsmer, who had actually danced that pas de six, warned me that it was nothing like as easy as it looked.   She advised us to commission our own work if we could.

As a result of her warning, I wrote on Powerhouse Ballet's website:
"I thought of the pas de six from Napoli but Beverley who has danced that work tells me that it is nothing like as easy as I had supposed. I should be very grateful for suggestions from members of the company and indeed anyone else."
I was wondering where on earth I could find a choreographer as I penned that article.

As soon as I had published that article,  the eminent dancer, choreographer and teacher, Terry Etheridge, contacted me through Facebook with an offer to create a ballet for us.   This was an exceptional opportunity and I grasped it with both hands.  Not only has Terry enjoyed an impressive career as one of the first members of the company that is now Northern Ballet, a soloist at Festival Ballet, artistic director of Hong Kong, head of dance at Urdang, principal of Rambert school and guest choreographer for the Royal Swedish Ballet school, he has many years experience of teaching and creating ballets for dancers just like us for he is resident choreographer of Duchy Ballet in Cornwall.

One of the dancers with whom Terry has worked at various times in his career is our ballet mistress, Beverley Willsmer.  She has also danced with Festival Ballet as well as in Germany and she was ballet mistress to Chelsea Ballet which is another amateur ballet company.   I am proud to say that I danced with Beverley in my very first show at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds in 2014.  Until Jonathan Barton advised me last April that one can watch a performance or one can do a performance but not both at the same time (see Visiting Taynuilt 4 May 2018) I used to position myself close to Beverley at the barre in the hope that some of her brilliance would rub off onto me. I am not sure that any did though I certainly learned a lot from her.

Terry will be in  Leeds on 15 and 16 Sept 2018.   He will hold an audition in the form of a class on 15 Sept from which he will select his cast.  He will invite the dancers he chooses back the next day to create the ballet.  I shall take thorough notes and so will Beverley.   We shall film the choreography at the end pf the session. 

Beverley will then invite the cast back for rehearsals starting immediately after each company class beginning with the 22 Sept in Liverpool.   Other rehearsals will take place in Leeds on 27 Oct immediately after Jane Tucker's class, Manchester on 1 Dec immediately after Karen Sant's and Leeds on 26 Jan 2019 immediately after Fiona Noonan's. We might even be able to squeeze in a rehearsal on 28 Nov immediately before or immediately after our workshop with Ballet Cymru.  Yet more rehearsals will be arranged by Beverley as and when necessary.  If you want to be in the show and can commit to the rehearsals here is the link to our Evenbrite page. We have room for only 6 more dancers so if you want to audition don't leave it too late to register.

The show is only one of a number of great events for you.   Don't forget Yvonne Charlton's master class on 22 Sept in Liverpool and Ballet Cymru's workshop. Fiona Noonan, who has CRB clearance, will also teach a class for  younger dancers.  We need to find a Clara (aka "Marie"), her horrible little brother who smashes the nutcracker, his even sillier little chums who disturb the girls with their drums and trumpets while they are playing with their prezzies, mice and some toy soldiers for The Nutcracker which we hope to dance at least in part next year.

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