Monday, 17 February 2014

The Coster gets his Answer - the Royal Ballet School's Open Classes

Covent Garden   Source Wikipedia

Do you remember the conversation between the coster and the porter about the new open ballet classes at the Royal Ballet School?  The coster got really excited about those classes but he doubted that they were the likes of him or even  me:
"Cor! Wouldn't it be great to do one of them classes. Always fancied lifting a ballerina. But I suppose you've got to be Carlos Acosta or Lauren Cuthbertson to get in there. They do say you need "previous experience" after all. What do you reckon that means?"
The porter couldn't help him so he had a little word with me and I sent a little email on his (and indeed my) behalf. Here is what I asked:
"I would love to take Paul Lewis's classes but I am uncertain as to what is meant by the phrase "some previous experience of ballet." To be more precise I would like to know whether my "previous experience" comes anywhere near Mr Lewis's required entry standard.
I never studied ballet as a child but I did take some classes when I was an undergraduate at St Andrews between 1970 and 1972. I took up ballet again last year and spent one day a week in a mixed age, mixed ability class in Huddersfield. These classes were supplemented by Northern Ballet's weekly classes for students aged over 55. I am very keen and I work hard but I am rather elderly (65 tomorrow) and I am certainly not as strong as I used to be. I wobble like a jelly in arabesque and I cannot always get pirouettes from 4th or pose pirouettes right though I try. I live in the Yorkshire but I work in London could contrive to be in London every Wednesday except the 19 if I were good enough and if there were space on the course."
Here is the School's reply:
"Thank you for your enquiry about our Adult Ballet Open Class. We hope the information below answers your questions and look forward to seeing you in class.
Description of the class: this is an inspiring recreational class, accompanied by a musician, set at a General level for adults with some previous experience of ballet. Paul works hard to ensure that participants of all abilities enjoy and benefit from the class.
Day and time: Wednesdays, 7.00 – 8.30 pm.
Venue: Upper School, 46 Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DA. Doors open from 6.30 pm.
This term’s dates: Wednesday 12 February – Wednesday 2 April (including half term – Weds 19 February). Easter holiday: Weds 9 & 16 April
Teacher: Paul Lewis, RBS 1st Year Boys’ teacher.
Cost: £10 per class, payable to the teacher on the evening (this will be payable via our website soon, but not yet). This is currently a drop-in class with a maximum of 30 in the class. This is a new initiative and we thank you for your patience while we set up online booking. Until then, please call our Enquiries team on 0207 836 8899 on Wednesdays after 11 am to book your place for the evening class."
Now the words "Paul works hard to ensure that participants of all abilities enjoy and benefit from the class" seem very hopeful and suggest that they would let me in and that I could learn something but I have been warned by some knowledgeable folks on BalletcoForum not to get my hopes raised.

Post Script

There is an interesting account of what happened at Paul Lewis's class of the 19 Feb 2014 by Michelle Richer in the "Doing Dance" thread of the BalletcoForum.

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