Limericks, heels, dynamics, class and more!
Ms Mary E is back with her next bubbly and bright blog for all ballet/ dance/theatre lovers!
Hello again, thrill-seekers in tights!
I threw together a couple of limericks for you to start the week.
There was an old dancer in Ealing
Who had a peculiar feeling
With one leg on the barre
She pliéd too far
And hit her head hard on the ceiling.
If you look up quite hard at the ceiling
Of St Peter’s dance studio in Ealing
There’s a tiny balloon
That deflated too soon
And got stuck there - it’s cute and appealing
The first is clearly ridiculous (as limericks generally are) but the second is true. Have a look next time you do class at St Peter’s. Floor barre would give you the best view.
Which limerick do you prefer? I need feedback from all you gorgeous dancers.
In fact, I had an idea that I might open a Ballet4life themed limerick competition!
Post your contributions in the comments section and let’s see what literary talent lies beneath your exquisite upper body nuance. If you don’t, I will just make up some more and feel lonely but don’t feel bad lol.
All images are copyright of Ballet4life and may not be reproduced with prior permission.
Ms Mary E is with fellow dancers on our Summer Dance Intensive. She is third from the left and her teacher Beatrice Ghezzi is first on the left.
I have been ill this week so just did one class on Thursday morning with the divine Miss Beatrice. It was just one of those low-grade viruses that saps all your energy and insists on a banging headache through the night. Too much inactivity can make things worse after a while so I decided to blast out the last vestiges of whatever it was with a good ballet class. Ballet class is a panacea, as we know. (I will tell you how I danced my way out of work-related anxiety another time).
It was a bright sunny morning in the studio and how lovely it was, as usual, to see so many familiar faces and hear the buzz of friendly chat as people warmed up at the barre. If, like me, you are hopeless with names, in a way it doesn’t really matter at ballet class. We understand that we are all there to dance and there is immediately a social bond. Shared experience is such a great way to make friends. Donna, our director and founder, knows everyone’s names. I don’t know how she does it. I remember when I turned up at my first ever B4L class and she made a point of greeting me warmly, asking my name and gently finding out a little of my dance background. That was really touching. I was drawn in.
Back to Beatrice on that bright sunny morning in the studio.
It is evident from the outset of all Beatrice’s classes that she has planned exactly what she wants to work on. The centre practice will echo her focus at the barre. So, the opportunity for development is there. For this reason, there is a palpable air of excitement in the studio before she looks up at the clock, walks forward and beams, “good morning”. I think It’s ok to say good morning back, by the way. I embarrassed myself by booming a solo reciprocal greeting that day. I was getting up off the floor and hadn’t quite strapped my consensual etiquette filters on.
Of course, there are the necessary demands of pliés, tendus, frappés, battements and so on but at every class, there is a fresh approach. New music perhaps. A different focus on what she is aiming for us to achieve or at least understand. Sometimes upper body movement, sometimes head direction or rigorous attention to placement to list a few. Beatrice often talks about dynamics. She totally gets the relationship between music and movement and the different feelings that movements can describe. Well of course. She’s a professional dancer! Her vocabulary for describing dynamics to us is extraordinary in its passion. Quite abstract sometimes .... “beamy”, “juicy”, “tack, tack”, even “ha ha!” Plucking words out of the air like little jewels. I love it. It’s inspiring. But I digress.
This week the focus was getting your heels down in pliés in fourth position. Solidly technical but if mastered gives scope for better artistry. I realised for the first time in 50 odd years that my back heel has never been properly planted in this way before! It makes a massive difference.
Ms Mary E in a Ballet4life class a few years ago, dancing with joy!
Note to self: Calm down. Everyone probably already knows this. Just because I get excited when I have these balletic revelatory experiences, doesn’t mean everyone else does. But did you?!
I have a friend who works at LAMDA and we often go to see the final year students’ productions together. The standard is impressively high. Every production I have seen there has been outstanding and the tickets are £15. Seriously you don’t need the West End if you can’t afford it. This time we saw “Little Shop of Horrors” The array of talents and skills necessary to perform a musical of this calibre are extremely demanding. These kids had all of them and some more. It looked easy. It was thrilling. It was funny. It was slick and moving at the same time. Never missed a beat. Blistering raw talent.
The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art ( LAMDA) is in Baron’s Court, in the place where the Royal Ballet School used to be. As we walked back to the tube station, we passed a row of extraordinary studios on the Talgarth Road, which were purpose-built for artists in the Victorian era. My friend told me that Nureyev and Fonteyn used to share a flat there when they were dancing together in London. Who would have known? I suppose even legends need to eat and sleep.