NEWSLETTERS 2006

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October 2006

Hi again

So another end to another year, preparations for the next well underway and plans for our 10th anniversary year in 2008 being hatched ! It has been a very successful year for us with very even productions and the cherry on the icing of the cake -being nominated and then winning the TMA/Stage award for special achievement in regional theatres. A splendid ending to the Year! Redhill was a hard work end to our productions. On the good side the cast were a pleasure to work with and I have to say that apart from 2 of the older girls their behaviour in the the theatre was exemplary. The venue on the other hand was another story, it has been seriously neglected and under funded by its local council. The staff were excellent and helpful but it was a lot of extra work for us and a bit of a worry for a while but we pulled through and ended up with some excellent performances and 80% capacity. Redhill also has the slowest front curtain ever! It takes 30 seconds to close with no speed control (an eternity on stage) - that's councils for you- not a clue. But I have to say the worst thing for me in Redhill was the father who was an hour and a half late to collect his daughter after the the last show and didn’t even have the decency to get out of his car to apologise or offer an explanation for his lateness - unbelievable.
I shall leave the overview of the year to Emma who is doing a guest spot in this letter (not to be out done by Oli!) but I would like to say how impressed I was by the girls who danced Clara and as I always get to work with the youngest members of the company how I am always impressed with their concentration and dedication. They always cheer me up (yes, even this grumpy old man has a heart...) anyway over to Emma...

Beauty and the Sweets

I’ve never heard so much Tchaikovsky in one year in my life. Not that I’m complaining, he remains one of my favourite composers and I maintain that I will never tire of hearing any of his music, but after all seven projects this year being either The Sleeping Beauty or The Nutcracker (both Tchaikovsky works) I’m not surprised that one Act III Waltz started to blend into the other! The two ballets are, however, quite different, though it occurred to me that both deal with a young girl falling asleep and eventually waking up. But as for dancing the lead roles, Nutcracker is more of a sprint with one very demanding pas de deux at the end, and Beauty is more of a marathon with several pockets of technically challenging solos and pas de deux spread throughout the ballet. Both have lovely soaring music to carry you through the Grande pas de deux, and both feel like a real accomplishment when completed. We started the year with Beauty in Stevenage…

It’s funny to start the year with an ending. Roddie retired after our March performances of Beauty in Stevenage-- he was my partner for a year and a half, and had been a popular fixture of the EYB staff since 2000. I feel honoured to have been his last ever partner. To be honest, I don’t remember many individual moments from his final performance, as they were blurred by emotion, but I have one vivid picture of our final entrance in Act III when the Lilac Fairy (Julianne) blesses the Prince and Aurora (Roddie and me): As Rod and I looked up at Julianne I could see that she had a tear in her eye, and when I turned towards Roddie I saw that he did too, by the final pose of the ballet all three of us were in happy/sad/nostalgic tears! A nice memory. Roddie’s spirit lives on at EYB though; as many of you who did work with him know, during the curtain calls when the lights fade (EYB code to stay in a bowed position as the curtains close) Rod used to loudly remind the cast to “STAY DOOON!” A refrain that can still be heard at the end of every show-- though now uttered in a Scottish accent by another member of the EYB staff!

Conversely, the second set of shows were actually more of a beginning. The beginning of four Nutcrackers in a row; a new start for Julianne’s foot as it was now strong enough to tackle principal roles; and welcoming Oliver back to EYB as the Nutcracker Prince. In fact he was THE Nutcracker Prince, dancing with both Julianne and I at the next four venues. He is a lovely, stable presence as a partner on stage, and negotiated having two ballerinas very well. So well, that once in the studio the three of us worked out most of the Grande pas with me on Oli’s right arm and Ju on his left! Quite comical-- if not terribly traditional.

It was a long hot summer for dancing wasn’t it? I always enjoy the dichotomy of rehearsing the Christmas party scenes in 30C heat! From Manchester right through to Canterbury we were miming passing out gifts and admiring Christmas trees as the sun beat down outside. At least we had some respite from the heat in the fully air conditioned Ford rental cars we had to taxi us to and from rehearsals. I worked mainly with the Reed Pipes and Clara, and had four lovely sets of dancers, though a special mention should go to the Nottingham girls for their improved pointe work, as well as our Clara from Canterbury, Jessica Lake, who was one of the most conscientious young dancers we have worked with.

The year was bookended by Sleeping Beauties: Stevenage in March and Wolverhampton and Redhill for the final two venues. I went from having one partner in previous seasons (Roddie) to four in this one, Roddie, Oli, Matt, and Kasper! Oli and I had actually begun rehearsing for our October debut of Beauty back in July, and continued to work and think about it throughout the summer. As documented in Oliver’s piece for the newsletter (A View From Behind the Ballerina) he was having to jet back and forth between EYB and his other dancing job in France, so it was just as well he stayed with me when in London as we could fit in impromptu rehearsals in my kitchen. I think we were both pleased with our first attempt at the Wolverhampton Grande. It was a pity that Oliver’s other job called him back for performances the same weekend as ours in Redhill, but fingers and toes are crossed that he can fit us in next season so we can have another go!

Our final project of the year in Redhill saw Julianne and I sharing a Prince again, this time with Kasper, and my dancing the Bluebird pas de deux with Matthew. At first the thought of two new partnerships was a bit daunting, but I learnt that most things in dance can be worked out in a short period of time so long as both people have a similar and strong foundation— and a sense of humour. I’m happy to say that everything went quite smoothly. It was fun to do something a bit different with Bluebird, as it demands much faster movements than my other roles; and Kasper kept me laughing and on balance as my Prince. Both my groups of Friends were a pleasure to work with; their Act 1 is a long, tough dance, and hope they agree that the constant drilling paid off! Redhill, it must be noted, has by far the best gym floor we’ve ever danced on…in fact Julianne and I wanted to pull it up and take it to future schools with us!

So here we are in mid-November, with me wondering where April went! Now that I’ve been with the company for over two years (!) I understand the rhythm of the year better, and am less shocked when, for example, two days after a polished performance in Canterbury we’re suddenly in Wolverhampton on day 1 of teaching and rehearsing! The next year is approaching rapidly (we’re already auditioning and prepping for it), with more eager young dancers, more buns to be put higher, more ribbons to be cut, more full houses, and yes, more of our beloved Tchaikovsky!

Love Emma

At the certificate ceremony in Redhill commendations went to Chloe Voller and Donna Jackson (Friends), Justin Thomas-Verweij (Photographer) for his acting, Sam Butler (Duke) for improved pirouettes, all the Boys, Camilla Marchant (Nurse) for improved confidence, Briony Scarlett (Lilac/Russian) for performance quality, Laura Hammond (Charm/Cats) for constant practising, Shirley-Anne Rabe (Guest) for understudying and last and certainly not least Elizabeth Callander and Sophie Bassett who had to stand in on the performances as understudies. The Junior Prize went to Amy Gardener (Lady Songbird/White Cat) and the senior prize went to Georgina Craven (Cinderella/ Relative).

A few messages, Holly Puigserver is now doing Sunday classes at Elmhurst, Jeremy Weir is appearing in The Wizard of OZ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds as a Munchkin and a Lollipop Boy from Nov. to Jan, Amber Thompson received a £450 bursary from the Gifted and Talented scheme of Nottinghamshire on behalf of the Kimberley school and Zac Hindley as gained a place at the Hammond School and will be appearing as one of the twins in Peter Pan at the Southport Arts Centre (his brother Kaleb is doing well as a JA and their baby sister is in TV’s Hollyoaks!)

The EYB staff are all busy as usual, Matthew and Julianne will be performing with the Strauss Gala again, Kasper busy as always at the Urdang and also enjoying being a father for the 1st time, Oliver hard at work in France and Ireland, Emma using her organisational skills to help Miss Lewis prepare for next year and rehearsing with Matthew for our new production of Coppelia and I’ve been creating a new work for the Anglian Ballet Company. All of us looking forward to Christmas!!! Well that's it from me for this year, hope you all have a good Christmas and new year. Thank you all for a good year and as always... Keep working hard!

Dominic

 

October 2006

Hi Again

Just a short note from me as we have a guest spot from Oliver this letter. Our big news is that we found out last week that EYB has been nominated for this year’s “Stage Award for Special Achievement in Regional Theatres”!!! The result will be announced on the 16th of October. It is a very gratifying thing especially at the end of a very busy year. The performances in Wolverhampton were very strong with excellent ticket sales again (it turned out that the box office manager was an old friend of mine from my Rambert School days !). Unfortunately the cast let themselves down with their extremely noisy behaviour at the theatre, but once the riot act had been read several times they knuckled down and concentrated and the shows built each performance. Well enough from me, over to Oliver...

A View From Behind The Ballerina

This has been my first full season with EYB, and looking back over this season, its strange to think how much has happened. I am currently sitting in front of my computer in my flat in Toulouse, having just got off a plane after rehearsing in London around 8 hours ago; some of you may think that sounds very “Jet-setter” – I can tell you that I’m never sure which country of the old Concorde alliance I’m pirouetting in.

The season started with the sad announcement of Roddie’s retirement; we all wish him well and we miss him, but as Freddie Mercury once sang; “The show must go on!” – And so it did, but, in true theatrical fashion, not without a little drama.

I flew in from my full-time job with the Capitole Ballet in Toulouse, France, for EYB’s Nutcracker at Manchester, where I discovered that I was to have the pleasure of dancing with not only one prima ballerina, but with two. However, between Julianne’s left foot (post-operation) and Emma coming down with Pleurisy (causing her major chest pain); this was to be no easy task. It was a little touch-and-go for a while there, but of course, as always, it all came together in the end. Emma pulled through just fine, and we danced our debut together after just three rehearsals; Julianne’s foot held out brilliantly despite some minor stiffness and I managed to twirl and lift them both gracefully, even though I needed a week’s hibernation after the shows. This meant the real drama in Manchester was negotiating its treacherous one-way system!

At the subsequent venues things were definitely easier; Julianne was looking more confident and beautiful with every performance, showing no trace of her previous injury, and my partnership with Emma solidified and grew enormously. All-in-all, the view from behind my ballerinas was looking pretty good. I also enjoyed choreographing some of the Act II dances for Nutcracker, particularly the new addition of the Jig, the boys in Nottingham and especially those at Canterbury, who showed excellent team spirit and energy. The next three productions flew by with very few hitches, and despite Southend's absenteeism, Nottingham’s heat wave and Canterbury’s power-cut, they were three excellent productions.
Which brings us to Wolverhampton, and a change of production – bring on Sleeping Beauty!
Miss Lewis told me that I was to dance with just Emma for Beauty as we welcomed back Kasper to dance with Julianne. This meant that Emma and I could really work on our partnership and I think the results were very good; she made an excellent Aurora for me (thank you Emma). This is a ballet that is a real challenge for us principals; it is technically very demanding due to its purity of line, stamina requirements and sheer virtuosity. In classical ballets such as this you have nothing to hide behind and just your pure technique to save you. In addition, the characters of Aurora and Prince Alexander require a lot of dramatic input, so much so that Emma and I found ourselves reviewing old Sleeping Beauty videos at around midnight in her flat in London trying to get into our characters and work out how to interact during our love scenes.
Wolverhampton will be memorable for me due to the sheer volume of constant noise from the whole cast (more chatter than grandma’s dentures in mid-December), but also for the fact that during the course of this production I had to return twice to my full-time job for the Capitole Ballet (lots of air-miles!). The reality of flying back to England on the morning of the technical rehearsal and dancing on plane legs with the brain still thinking in croissants was harsh, but I wouldn’t have changed anything, I thoroughly enjoyed this production.
Now moving on to something that everyone who has worked with me knows I feel strongly about: KFC chicken wing arms (droopy elbows in 2nd position of the arms), and bad B+ positions (without smiles). Both are the bane of my life, but this year has given me two more: raked stages and rent-a-car drama. The man who thought of putting a stage on a slope had obviously never taken a ballet class in his life! What a nightmare (Southend, Nottingham and Wolverhampton), stages should always be flat and that’s my final word on the subject (maybe I should start a petition?). Also, renting a car is surprisingly hit-and-miss, and we had a few sticky moments at Sixti car rental in London. As designated EYB driver from London to the venues, I had all sorts of “FUN” in the rent-a-car office, but then, we always got there in the end.
Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities, I should maybe have called this newsletter: A Tale of Two Ballerinas, or, A Tale of Two Countries or even A Tale of Two Ballets, not to mention all the normal two’s like feet (pointed), arms (shaped), legs (pulled-up) and hands (soft). But I wrote this newsletter as a tribute to my two ballerinas and this season’s view from behind them, which has been “magnifique”. Thanks for 2006, and I hope to see some of you again in the future.
Oli

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the Songbirds-very well behaved and 10 out of 10 for effort, Lilacs/Russians who worked well together and at a good standard, Abigail Wells (Duchess) for her dramatic ability, Lisanna Huisman (Friend) very concentrated, Matthew Neuenhaus for professionalism good performance quality Rachel-Mary Weston (Jewel) for performance smile and improvement in strength and Elizabeth Austin (songbird) for improvement.
The Senior prize went to Cree Williams (Guest) for her performance and lyrical quality. The Junior prize went to Elisabeth Wilkes (Charm) for her sense of dance and enjoyment in every class, rehearsal and performance.

Quite a few messages this letter, Katelyn Severn passed her RAD grade 6 with distinction (98%), Charles Brink is doing classes with Graham Fletcher (Ex-principal of the Royal Ballet), Lucie Tipping won a £500 bursary at the Nottingham Stage Dance Festival and a scholarship to dance at the IDTA finals in Manchester, Helena Sandford is now a Yorkshire Scholar, Alfred Jago now attends both the Elmhurst pre-vocational programme and Junior Associates, Sophie Jones and Megan Gibson are now both at Tring, Caitlin O'Farrell (also at Tring) has been picked to dance with ENB in their production of “The Nutcracker” and Georgia Bould has been picked to dance in BRB’s production of “The Nutcracker”. Congratulations to all!

Apologies for the minor errors on the future performances list, I hope I’ve corrected them all now. The new web site should be up and running by the time I do my end of year letter. Until then, keep working hard.

Dominic

 

 

September 2006


Hi Again

So that was summer ! Quite insane for us, back to back projects in Nottingham and Canterbury and we are now half way through Wolverhampton, it’s all a bit of a whir and a blur but I’ll see if I can get some rhyme and reason out of it all. Two hugely successful productions, two excellently run theatres who understand what we do and give us their full support, two lovely Claras and two very different casts. The technical standard in Nottingham was very high this time around, a noticeable raise from 2 years ago. We had the highest number of repeat offenders we have ever had and it was very gratifying to see they had brought back so much of what they had learned and that they had been working so hard in the meantime at their own dancing schools. Nottingham was just as noisy as usual, nobody is perfect I guess. In Canterbury by contrast the acting was very strong, there was lots of extra business going on in the party scene which kept me amused each show (not easy). The two week summer course is always very intense and the cast in Canterbury coped very well and I was very impressed by the spirit of the whole project. It was good to have a group of older boys again - the Jig was a definite highlight- and we all got to have a wry chuckle at the developing inevitable backstage romances.... The open dress rehearsal was overwhelming again in Canterbury, over 500 people came! Mind you it nearly didn’t happen, the was a power cut just as the cast started arriving at the theatre and no one was sure when the power would come back, we had a very uncomfortable half an hour trying to work out if we would have to send the audience away and if we would be able to have any kind of rehearsal before the evening performance. Fortunately the lights all came back on and everything carried on. The one sad thing that happened was during the dress. Charlie Mather, one of the little dolls and sweets, was taken very ill and ended up in hospital and had to miss the shows. I’m sure you’ll join us in wishing her a speedy recovery. Understudies quickly stepped in and the show went on, I remember 2 years ago having to re-coreograph the morning hours in Coppelia during the interval while on crutches as one of the girls had twisted her ankle in the 1st half..... oh for a dull day! Always understudy! One of the nice things over the shows at both places was meeting past cast members from other productions in the audience come to support, it was especially nice to see Ellie Waite (Clara in Manchester) come all the way to Nottingham.

At the certificate ceremony in Nottingham commendations went to Clare Johnson and Emily Pottage (Lead Snows), Megan Singleton (Chinese), Josh Ecob (Jig/Spanish), Rachel Murray (for her acting, great as a harassed mother of 4!), Bethany Thornton and Melissa Barns (Flowers), the Sugar Plum Attendants especially Sarah Dale and Jasmine Barnes (who’s radiant smile never fails to convey her love of Dance) and the Reed Pipes for their group work and improved point work. The senior Prize went to Rebecca Wrench (Madam Bonbon) for he characterisation and impeccable technique - her double pirouettes on point were spot on every performance. The Junior prizes went to Grace Thorne (Snowflake) and Cerri Minall (Doll).

In Canterbury commendations went to Jessica Lake (Clara), Graeme Marsh (Mouse king), Kayleigh Wilson (Sugar Plum Attendant) for strength and professionalism, Stevie Retigan (Maid) for reliability and use of face, the two understudies who stepped in for the performances Suzanna Knuckey (Sweet) and Laura Thorpe (Doll), Amy Midgley and Amanda White (Flowers) for consistent point work, Paul Smith for performance flourishes and the Jig Boys. Senior prizes went to Scott Norton (for a smile you can see at the back of the theatre and personality) and Francesca Ardley (Flower). The junior prize went to James Carroll (Fritz) for his outstanding acting.

Quite a few messages over the summer, Paul Smith, Elliot Hawker and Jessica Kirkham are all starting at Central in the new term, Emma Walker is going to the Northern Ballet School, Jessica Lake will be at Elmhurst, Cora Vanaman and Jodie Rouse will be appearing in Pantomime at the Palace Theatre Mansfield, Jeremy Davidson got honours in his grade 2 exam, Zac Hindley is now a JA at Checcetti and his brother Kaleb is a JA with the Royal Ballet in Manchester.

Well that's all I have time for, back to Wolverhampton and Sleeping Beauty.... Keep working hard

Dominic



July 2006

Hi Again

Well summer is here and we are entering our busiest period, Southend done, Nottingham underway and Wolverhampton and Canterbury cast. There are so many familiar faces that I’m not sure where and when I am sometimes. Southend went surprisingly well. You might think that is an odd thing to say but we had real concerns as to whether the performances would be up to scratch. The first time we had everyone together was at the 1st performance. Illness and GCSEs can’t be avoided but there was a definite lack of commitment from certain areas which causes disruption and extra work for everyone else. The EYB experience is about development, if a student misses days of rehearsal then that development is disrupted and the full benefit wont be achieved, it is also disruptive to the other students in that group as time supposed to be spent on rehearsing is then used up on re-teaching. The choreographers then become frustrated because they never have a complete group to work with and my time tabling becomes a nightmare trying to make sure students are at their own rehearsals and can be available to understudy. It was very noticeable at the parents showing who had been absent and that there were understudies standing in. Of course this is only a minority, most of the students are there all the time and are fully dedicated to what they are doing and most of the time the absenteeism is through parents over committing their children to other activities or family events. So with a lot of extra work at the theatre the performances were surprisingly good with very strong acting and group work.

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Lauren Tovey (Lead Flower) for improved point work, Jasmin Turner (Flower) for reliability and focus, Charlotte Dickens (Reed pipe) for understudying everything, Harry Toynton for effort, Ashley Selfe & Daniel Looney for the fight scene, Robyn Regan (Reed pipe) for being an outstanding mouse and acting (excellent understudy for Fritz) and finally the Snowflakes and Flowers for their spacing and lines. The Junior prize went to Charlotte Edmonds (Doll/Sweet) for her professional approach. The senior prizes went to Victoria Quelch (Flower) for pure dancing and co-ordination and Daniel Looney for being the best Mouse king so far and as an actor doing class every day with the A group even though he was twice their age - dedication!

Sorry for not posting next years dates yet, but as I said this is our busy period and we don’t want to be inundated with audition requests until everything is finalised. There is a good chance we may be doing 8 projects next year! I hope we survive it...
A few messages, Eilish Coady has been offered places at Laine, Northern, Tring, and has decide to accept a place at the Doreen Bird school. Caitlin O’Farrell will be appearing with National Youth Ballet and her tuition fund for Tring is going well (congratulations to her parents - not a easy task). Hattie Archer is now with the Checcetti senior associates. Genevieve Heron has been dancing at the urdang Academy and is now also with the Royal Ballet Junior Associates in Birmingham. Samantha Hacklett is understudying Veruca Salt (she is doing the part for one performance) in a production of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole. In non-dancing news I got to see The WHO ! Nothing to do with EYB I know but I just had to tell everyone... OK, enough already

Keep working hard

Dominic



May 2006

Hi again,

Sorry for the lateness of this letter, I have been without internet access for the last 2 1/2 weeks so I am a bit behind with the updating of the web site. So... Manchester... quite an experience, the standard was very high so we had to push harder to achieve the maximum potential from the young dancers, they didn’t quite make it on the 1st night but certainly did by the last night! I have to say the reception at the end of each performance was amazing even by EYB standards, audiences often clap all the way through the closing section of Nutcracker but in Manchester the applause was so loud I couldn’t even hear the music! We had plenty of drama as well, Manchester’s one way system is a tale of fear and loathing in it’s self, the M6, Emma came down with pleurisy, hail storms, and the complete lack of unity on policy from the various councils around and in Manchester on licences (some said we needed them others not. One demanded signed doctors certificates and then backed down and said we did not need licences.) For the first time we had to hire in licensed chaperones, not cheap. Oh for a dull day. On the nice side of things Julianne was back as the Sugar Plum Fairy, foot much better if not a 100% yet. Julianne also celebrated her 40th last month and so did we, her husband threw a very posh do and a good time was had by all. We have also added a new dance for the boys in The Nutcracker, the Jig, which is very rarely performed in other productions, in fact the the only time I have ever seen it was in Peter Darrell’s production for Scottish Ballet, and guess who was dancing it? yes- Roddie! (I think it was 1992). I reported in the last newsletter that we were planning a new production for next year, unfortunately we will not be able to afford to by 2007 so we will have to wait until 2008 (the rising costs of petrol, trains, hotels, hiring schools, studio hire in London and now paying for chaperones.) We will be bringing back and refurbishing “Coppelia”, it is still in demand from theatres and the principals love doing it! Next year we are hoping to go to Yeovil, Worthing, High Wycombe, Stoke, Preston, Southsea and hopefully Sheffield. I will post the dates when they are confirmed so please don’t ask for audition details until I do.

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the Soldiers/Russian group who I thought were excellent, the Dolls for their concentration, the Flowers for their foot work (there’s a 1st!) and the Boys as a group. Individual commendations went to Ellie Waite and Thomas Cummings for their performances as Clara and Fritz, Hayley Littler (Reed-pipe) for excellent understudying and Winnie Chu (Reed-pipe). Prizes went to Lucinda May (Snow Flake) for Professionalism and Laura Ried (Sugar Plum Attendant) for poise, head line and co-ordination.

Only a couple of messages this month, Amelia O’Hara who was with us in Manchester has been accepted into The Royal Ballet School White Lodge and Samantha Hacklett got a Distinction for her grade 2 ballet, congratulations to you both.

Well thats all I have time for, we’ve started in Southend so there are timetables and the rest to get on with, keep working hard.

Dominic



April 2006

Hi Again

So here we are once more, back in full swing, another visit to Stevenage over (Stevenage was my 1st EYB project back in 1999) and a good start to the year. 3 of the 4 shows were sold out and the other one was over 80% full. It was a little touch and go during the rehearsals as there were several nasty bugs going around and we didn’t have everyone there until the dress rehearsal ! (Some of the schools in Stevenage had to be closed there were so many people of sick!) And during the shows there were one or two of the cast looking less than 100% well, but everyone soldiered on and the shows went very well, plus everyone learned the value of understudying!! We were very impressed by the effort every one put into the performances and once again the behaviour at the theatre was excellent.

The last show was quite emotional for us as it was the last performance for Roddie, he has retired from performing so he can spend more time at home in Scotland so I am sure you would all like to join us in thanking him for his work with us over the last 6 years and wishing him well in his future plans. He and Emma had a very successful trip to Alaska - I’ll see if I can talk Emma into writing about it for the next news letter. There was one slight disappointment, it was decided that Julianne’s foot was not strong enough to get through Sleeping Beauty at the moment, but she was on stage as Aunt Lilac and we are all confident that she will be able to dance the sugar plum fairy in Manchester next month. So Maria was over again to dance with her 3rd partner for Sleeping Beauty ! I can not believe she is still only 22, it is always a pleasure to have her working with us. We will be seeing a lot more of Kasper this year, Matthew is now working with us full time and Oliver has confirmed he will be doing all the Nutcrackers this year (we will have to wait and see if he is available for the SBs at the end of the year). The auditions we have done this year have been as popular as ever with 400 dancers turning up at both Nottingham and Wolverhampton, just one more to do in Redhill. Next year is shaping up well and we are planning a new production, I’ll let you know the details when it is all official so keep watching this space!

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Nicholas Crowley, Victoria Fletcher, Tish Philip and Frazer Lucas (Duke, Duchess, Nurse and Brother Wisdom) for their characterisation, Elloise Jones (Jewel/Monster) for constant hard work and excellent understudying, Sophia Melvin (Friend) for performance quality, all the boys, the Songbird group, and a general improvement for all the point work. Prizes went to James Titchener (Lord Songbird/Black Cat) and Emmeline Hayward (Guest).

I had lots of messages over the break, Molly Jennings is now at Elmhurst, Ashton & Megan Danby got Distinctions in their RAD exams, Luke Friend is now a Junior Associate of the RB school, Olivia Grace Beale appeared in Panto in Southsea and got a Distinction in her grade 4 RAD, Bethany Hughes is doing well in her 2nd year at White lodge and was selected to appear in La Sylphide and The Nutcracker with the Royal Ballet, Lucy Benson came 1st in the North of England Ballet Championships in January, Kayleigh Pattison has been accepted to the Reynolds Performing Arts college in Bexley, and Joshua Hutchings has received a MDS award to allow him to go to Tring. I took my nieces and nephews to see the panto in Newark and lo and behold there was Natasha Pearson, Emma Sivakumaran, Emma Carter, Tom Kindell and Charlotte Carmen on the stage! Is there no escape! I also bumped into Samantha Cotton at the Pineapple in London, she started work with the Ce De Ce Company in Portugal at the beginning of the year, it is very gratifying to see our ex students now moving into the profession.

Well that's all I have time for, keep your news coming in and keep working hard....

Dominic



My Left Foot pt 3 Feb 2006

" To continue with the foot saga, when I last wrote I was just off to Australia for 5 weeks holiday with my husband Peter - the pysio had been going really well and pilates was keeping everything ticking over nicely. Although I was very excited about the trip I was a little concerned about how I would feel being on holiday for 5 whole weeks! - I have never been away from the routine class, rehearsal, some form of constructive exercise for more than 2-3 weeks. still, I thought the whole experience would do good, the activities and general pace of our schedule - flying to a different destination every week, catching up with friends we've not seen in years, scuba diving, swimming - would keep body and soul together!

The first week we were in Hobart in Tasmania and it took the whole week for the swelling and stiffness to reduce.. even walking was painful. I felt like I had taken a huge step backwards in the recovery stakes, but I had been warned about the effects of the flight. I tried a gentle barre every other day and found a pilates studio. Pilates is wonderful as it is non weight baring and exercises your whole body with out feeling any forcing or pain in the foot.

The next week we were in Sydney, again visiting friends. I did barre at home a couple of times and pilates once near bondi beach! Was feeling concerned about the lack of flexibility though the swelling was less - also beginning to feel stir crazy as hadn't swam at all, and not able to do much with the stiff ankle! Still - having a fantastic time, - it was like Christmas every day, people are so kind when you have travelled half way across the world to see them!

After the last few days of bad weather in Sydney it was great to touch down in Brisbane in 27-degrees heat. Just loved the humidity, surely this would help the stiffness. Had a great time with my friend Helen - we danced together in The Lewis London Ballet - her husband Pete and her 3 boys, another friend- Robyn who I haven't seen for 5 years was in Brisbane so it was great to catch up with her. Robyn had done a massage course and did a couple of sessions and I could feel the good it was doing instantly - no time alone for a quick barre or anything else that week but did go swimming in the sea which felt amazing.

The last 2 weeks was spent in north Queensland - even hotter! .. - visiting my uncle, scuba diving, swimming and doing barre every day. By now I was getting worried about the lack of mobility.. I was due to start rehearsals for Strauss the day we returned and was worried about not being able to cope. Each day I turned off the air con in our hotel room to get the temperature nice and hot, send Peter out for a walk for an hour or so and get on with my barre then put on my trainers, galloping, polkaing and generally bouncing up and down as much as possible.. Very painful!

Arrived back in the U.K. on 7th Dec. to nil degrees -from 33!- at 5 am, waited for the bags for 1 1/2 hours grrrrr!!!... Home, quick bath then off to London Bridge for Strauss rehearsals. I was still apprehensive about coping with the new choreography and the lack of flexibility in the ankle area. Three very painful weeks followed, grabbing physio and massages when I could, but managed to get by and by the end of the first day I knew I would be all right and able to do 90 % with 1 1/2 legs!
Now it is the beginning of Feb., the tour is going well and I’m getting physio twice weekly - at last the mobility is coming back and will be back on pointe within a couple of weeks. I have learned such a lot - I had no idea the trauma of surgery would be so great, and thought I would be kicking my heels easily by Dec! I spend my days off from the tour (Mon and Tues.) soaking in the bath, massaging and stretching at home, class ( barre only ) at pineapple and physio in Covent Garden.. Looking forward to some good E.Y.B. performances this year!"

Julianne x