Thursday, 31 January 2019

Powerhouse Ballet January Update

Fiona Noonan

On 16 Sept Terry Etheridge held a workshop in Leeds where he created a beautiful ballet for us.  He invited not only the dancers he had selected for the piece at an audition that we had held the previous day but also everyone who had attended the audition. It was a glorious day and it was then that we became a company. We had come from different adult ballet classes from across the North of England and North Wales. Although we had been very courteous to each other we had flocked to our own groups. All this changed at the workshop. Everyone chatted to everyone else. I sensed that some real friendships were being formed.

Those friendships were reinformed the very next week when Yvonne Charlton visited us in Liverpool.  I described her visit as Our Best Day Yet in a post to the company's website.  I wrote:
"I have already received requests to bring Yvonne back to the UK. In response to those requests, I have asked her whether she would like to license us to perform her work so that we could add it to out repertoire. She has no objection in principle and is prepared to return for an audition and workshop similar to the one we did with Terry Etheridge in Leeds."
Yvonne is coming back on 23 Feb 2019 when she will take the company class ar the Dancehouse Studios between 13:30 and 15:00. The next day she will teach us one of her ballets at Dance Studio Leeds between 09:00 and 14:00. Her music is Morning Mood from Grieg's Peer Gynt.  Alena Panasenka, one of Northern Ballet's accompanists, will play for us.

Yvonne has to catch a plane to Amsterdam immediately after her workshop so she cannot coach us but Fiona Noonan has very kindly agreed to do so. Fiona was the teacher who led me back to ballet after many years and I shall always be grateful to her for that.  She attended Terry's audition on 15 Sept and danced with us at our workshop with Ballet Cymru on 28 Nov 2018 (see More than a Bit Differently: Ballet Cymru's Workshop and the Launch of the Powerhouse Ballet Circle 29 Nov 2018). Last Saturday Fiona gave us an excellent company class.  It was one of the hardest classes I have ever done because we started with centre barre to develop our strength.  However, it paid dividends when we tackled pirouettes and a balancé, pas de bourré, pirouettes, dedans and dehors enchainment.

Many of the members of our company train regularly at KNT Danceworks which holds classes in the Dancehouse's studios every day of the week except Sundays and public holidays. KNT's principal is Karen Sant and she gave us one of our best company classes ever on 1 Dec 2018.  KNT is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a gala at the Dancehouse on 4 May 2019 the tickets for which are already on sale.  Karen has kindly invited Powerhouse Ballet to premiere the ballet that Terry Etheridge has created for us at her gala as her special guests.  As KNT has been listed in several publications as one of the top adult ballet classes in the UK this is a singular honour which I acknowledged on the company's website on 25 Jan 2019.

We now have to rehearse in earnest and our next rehearsal is fixed for 10 Feb 2019 at 15:00 at York St John University. We will of course also hold rehearsals of Morning Mood and Fiona will suggest dates, times and venues after Yvonne's workshop,  As we are as much a North Wales company as a Northern English one we are planning a day-long workshop in Mold which Martin Dutton of the Hammond has already agreed to teach.  We shall hold company classes at the end of each month and I have already booked our Jane Tucker for our anniversary class.

If our debut goes well we shall convert into a charitable incorporated organization and seek funding from Arts Council England and maybe the Arts Council of Wales, the National Lottery and other organizations.  As part of our social mission, we shall perform at hospitals, care homes and other institutions whose residents do not get many opportunities to watch dance.

Several readers have asked, "what has happened to my dance reviews?" The fact is that I have not seen any ballet since Birmingham Royal Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker in the Albert Hall. Talk about Dry January. I have been so busy with Powerhouse I have had little time for anything else.  But all that will change as of tomorrow when I shall see Scottish Ballet's Cinderella in Newcastle and Saturday when I shall see The Nutcracker by Ballet West in Stirling.