Susie will be resuming teaching from Thursday 2nd February, with a normal schedule of ballet classes at various levels through till the end of March. These classes will continue to be hybrid so can be attended either in person or online; please email susiecrow@gmail.com if you require a Zoom invitation or have any queries. Pointework will continue to be offered for those attending in person classes on Thursdays and Saturdays. Check the classes page for further details…

Thursday 2nd February: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 4th February: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 6th February: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 9th February: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 11th February: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 13th February: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 16th February: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 18th February: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 20th February: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 23rd February: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 25th February: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 27th February: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 2nd March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 4th March: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 6th March: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 9th March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 11th March: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 13th March: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 16th March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 18th March: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 20th March: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 23rd March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Saturday 25th March: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointework

Monday 27th March: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 30th March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointework

Looking forward to seeing you in class!

Susie

After the intensity of 2022 I decided to take a break from teaching at the start of 2023, for much needed recharging of the batteries. I am not teaching at all during January; but intending to resume my normal schedule from Thursday 2nd February. However Ségolène Tarte has kindly agreed to keep some classes running this month; a welcome opportunity for regular attenders of the intermediate and advanced ballet classes at URC to enjoy and be stimulated by her thoughtful, rigorous and elegant approach, inflected by her French training. She will be teaching BiSS classes on the following dates:

Thursday 12th January 10.00-11.30am Advanced

Saturday 14th January 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.15-2.00pm Pointework

Thursday 19th January 10.00-11.30am Advanced

Saturday 21st January 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.15-2.00pm Pointework

Thursday 26th January 10.00-11.30am Advanced

Saturday 28th January 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.15-2.00pm Pointework

These classes will be hybrid and can be attended either in person or online (pointe work classes only in person), and payment can be made either in cash or online; please email susiecrow@gmail.com to receive a Zoom invitation and details for online payment. Check the Classes page for prices.

Ségolène is also teaching her own evening ballet classes at URC on Tuesdays (Intermediate/Advanced 6.30-8.00pm) and Fridays (Beginners/Improvers 6.30-8.00pm). You can find out more about Ségolène and her teaching here on her Dancing Convolutions blog where you will find details of how to register and book for these classes.

Enjoy!

Susie

Summer 2022 culminated in a small but very fulfilling creative project emerging from my contact with respected teacher Anya Grinsted, an example of the passing of ballet’s specialist knowledge between generations, and its evolution and reinvention through oral transmission.

Anya Grinsted studied as a young dancer with the legendary independent ballet teacher Audrey de Vos; first doing afternoon classes at the studio with an assistant, but once more familiar with de Vos’ idiosyncratic way of working, attending classes with de Vos herself. Over the years Anya came to understand and absorb the conditioning exercises that de Vos had developed to encourage in dancers a sense of body weight, relaxation, and movement generating from the centre; with notable consequences for the development of free movement of the body, but also musicality and feeling. These began the class, gently warming and preparing the dancer for the technical exactitude of barre work and establishing from the start a particular approach to dancing. Of great value to young vocational dancers navigating the uncertainties of adolescent development, through helping to build the individual’s surety and confidence, this method developed in the 1950s and 60s and paying close attention to bodily feeling, seems to have prefigured today’s interest in somatic training approaches. It also helps dancers to embody the bends and spirals built into Ashton’s ballets, and can provide valuable preparation for ballet dancers tackling the fluid body work required by much contemporary choreography. Disapproved of by Marie Rambert and distrusted by Ninette de Valois for what she perceived as its radical modernity, it was nevertheless enthusiastically embraced by distinguished Royal Ballet ballerinas such as Beryl Grey and Doreen Wells, who circumvented interdictions to attend de Vos’ classes by having private lessons and coaching with her, in addition to attending obligatory company classes.

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Alessandra Masoero

Well into autumn, I belatedly reflect back on an eventful summer of teaching.  Now that classes in person at URC have re-established themselves post pandemic, and we are all working to regain some of what was lost during the lengthy lockdown, it seemed a good time to invite some guests teachers to bring fresh knowledge and perspectives. 

First up Oxford physio Tamsin Hughes, who this year has been coming regularly to BiSS Monday evening classes.  Tamsin initially trained locally in Oxford with Mary Colegrove, Michelle Rose and Penny Cullerne-Bown, before completing ISTD teacher training at Bedford and a year at London Studio Centre.  Later retraining as a physiotherapist at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, combined with her sound and graceful dancing skills, has given her real expertise and understanding of the physical needs of dancers. With warm weather providing an opportunity to work on flexibility, I asked whether she could give some advice and examples of safe stretches, so that people could have a repertoire to choose from according to their bodily needs.  We did a joint Saturday session on 11th June; I taught a warming barre, and then handed over to Tamsin to go through some basic stretches, explaining their mechanics and purpose.  This proved immensely enlightening and valuable; following some general advice it became a surgery where people were able to ask her for specific help in addressing their individual needs.  Much food for thought and constructive action to support the dancing – thank you Tamsin!

A month later on 2nd July Alessandra Masoero came to teach a two hour class.  Alessandra trained in ballet and contemporary dance at Teatro Nuovo in Turin with Carla Perotti and Renata Justino, later performing and choreographing.  In the early 1990s she moved to London where she continued to study ballet with Anna du Boisson, Mark Silver and Roger Tully.  She qualified as a professional ballet teacher at the Royal Academy of Dance, studying with Holly Price.  She teaches popular adult ballet classes in Notting Hill, but also is a guest teacher for other schools in Italy and London, and recently with the Viviana Durante Company.  Alessandra has recently begun to study with Anya Grinsted whose work is inspired by legendary teacher Audrey de Vos; so our class began with some of the de Vos conditioning exercises designed to access the dance from within the body in a relaxed way, finding the centre and feeling the weight in gentle rhythmic movement.  A great starting point for a highly enjoyable ballet class that blossomed into flowing dancing, encouraged by Alessandra’s empathetic warmth and enthusiasm.

Our final guest was my longstanding friend and colleague Jennifer Jackson.  Jennifer danced as a soloist with the Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and Aterballetto in Italy, choreographing works for both Royal Ballet companies.  Together we were founders of the small-scale ballet company Dance Advance, and later the Ballet Independents’ Group (BIG), leading courses, programming discussions and undertaking choreographic research.  Jennifer was later a lecturer in the Dance Department at University of Surrey, taught choreography at the Royal Ballet Upper School, and recently successfully directed Images Ballet Company for London Studio Centre.  She is also the editor of Ballet: The Essential Guide to Technique and Creative Practice, a wonderful collection of expert and informative chapters by leading practitioners.  You can read Maggie Watson’s review of this essential reading here.

Jennifer studied over years with veteran ballet teacher Roger Tully, and her class was informed by his enlightening approach, whereby dancers can bring out their own dancing through developing their understanding of ballet’s fundamental movement principles; such as en dehors (outward) and en dedans (inward) movement, the notion of the central aplomb or plumb line, and the oppositions within the body which generate the spirals of épaulement and turning, enabling balance and releasing movement.  A slow start awakened those attending to these vital concepts, and informed a sequence of beautiful and thought-provoking enchaînements.  A wonderful way to finish our series of August classes and inspire those attending with fresh insights and aspirations.

Hoping to invite more guests in the coming months, watch this space…

Susie

I hope that you have had a lovely summer…

I have just resumed teaching for the autumn term period. See below for a schedule for BiSS adult ballet classes at beginner, intermediate and advanced level at URC, the United Reformed Church Hall, 294A Banbury Road, Summertown (opposite South Parade and Radio Oxford), Oxford OX2 7ED, continuing through to 17th October.  

These classes continue to be hybrid, offering the option to attend either in person or online.  Please email susiecrow@gmail.com if you would like to receive Zoom invitations. As Covid may still be out there, and particularly as we head into autumn, please do email or text me to book in advance if you wish to attend in person, and let me know if you need to cancel.  We will be keeping a window or two open for ventilation, so once it gets colder please come prepared to wrap up warmly in class if necessary.

Pointe work sessions will be offered for those attending classes in person on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Despite inflation, payment for BiSS URC classes will remain the same this term: £10 for in person attendance, with the loyalty card so that your 10th class is free, £7 for online attendance, and £5 for pointe work.  You are welcome to pay by cash, cheque or by bank transfer online; contact me for bank details.

Looking forward to seeing you in class,

Susie

Monday 12th September: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.54-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 15th September: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 17th September: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 19th September: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.54-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 22nd September: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 24th September: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 26th September: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.54-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 29th September: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 1st October: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 3rd October: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.54-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 6th October: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 8th October: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 10th October: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.54-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 13th October: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 15th October: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 17th October: 4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.54-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 20th October: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

I hope that you have been able to enjoy the glorious weather, and survived the intense heat…

I will be offering some Intermediate and Advanced ballet classes at URC during August, so see below for a schedule for the next three weeks.  These will continue as hybrid classes that can be attended either in person or online; please email me at susiecrow@gmail.com to book in advance if you wish to attend in person, to let me know if you need to cancel, and to request the relevant Zoom invitations if you wish to attend classes online.  Pointe work will be offered for those attending in person on Thursdays and Saturdays.  Please note timing change – as there are no beginners’ classes at the moment Saturday classes during August will start at 11.00am, not 11.45am; also whatever your online calendar may say, Monday classes will start as always at 5.45pm.

Guest teacher alert – I am delighted to welcome my longstanding colleague Jennifer Jackson to teach for us on Saturday 20th August.  A former soloist with the Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, Jennifer is an accomplished choreographer and wise teacher, and has successfully directed Images Ballet Company for London Studio Centre. She also recently edited Ballet: the Essential Guide to Technique and Creative Practice – read Maggie Watson’s review here.

Jennifer will teach class and pointe work.  Not to be missed!

Prices remain the same at £10 for in person attendance and £7 for online, pointe work at £5, and payment can be either in cash on the day or online by bank transfer.  If paying online please label your payment with the class code to help me keep track.  I am very aware that some people paid in advance for classes that were cancelled because of my covid; the payment for any classes missed can be carried forward towards classes in this batch.  

I will then be taking a break for other projects over the last week of August and beginning of September, and plan to resume teaching for the autumn term on the normal schedule from Thursday 8th September.

For alternative days and offers of special summer classes this coming month check out Ségolène Tarte’s current offer of Tuesday classes at URC and online here:

Also Penny Cullerne-Bown of East Oxford School of Ballet will be offering some classes over the holiday period; for further information contact her on: pcb@eastoxballet.co.uk

Looking forward to seeing you in class,

Susie

See below for a schedule for BiSS classes up to the end of May. I am resuming teaching after the Easter break from Thursday 21st April. However I will be taking a holiday break at the beginning of May, from 3rd to 11th, so please note and put in your diaries that there will be no classes on Thursday 5th May, Saturday 7th May and Monday 9th May. Please note too that whatever your online calendar says, the Monday Intermediate class starts at 5.45pm, and the Saturday Inter/Adv class starts at 11.45am!

These classes will continue to be hybrid, offering the option to attend either in person or online. It seems as though Covid is still very much out there, so we will be continuing with some precautions (see below); numbers may remain a bit limited, so please do email or text me to book in advance if you wish to attend in person, and let me know if you need to cancel. And please email me at susiecrow@gmail.com to request the relevant Zoom invitations if you wish to attend classes online. As before, pointe work classes are available to those attending the class before in person.

Payment for BiSS URC classes remains the same: £10 per class for in person attendance, with the loyalty card so that your 10th class is free, and £7 for online attendance. Pointe work sessions remain at £5.

Thursday 21st April:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 23rd April:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 25th April:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 28th April:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 30th April:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 2nd May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 12th May:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 14th May:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced

Monday 16th May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 19th May:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 21st May:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced

Monday 23rd May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 26th May:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 28th May:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 30th May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Covid precautions:
If you plan to attend a class in person you may wish to take a Lateral Flow Test beforehand for your own peace of mind, and for that of others attending. However given that tests now need to be paid for, I shall quite understand if you do not.
Obviously if you are experiencing symptoms or have a positive test result you should not attend; you are as always very welcome to do the class online instead if you feel up to it. Please do let me know so that I can if necessary inform others.
Personally I would find it difficult to do class in a mask, but if you would feel more at ease doing so, please feel free to wear one. I will teach without a mask for clearer communication especially with those online, so please let me know if you would prefer that I keep my distance when giving individual feedback. We will continue to keep windows/doors open for better ventilation, so do come prepared with layers to keep you warm, hopefully not so necessary this term. And please as much as possible maintain a prudent distance from others in the class. View physical distancing as a useful exercise in spatial awareness!

Looking forward to seeing you in class,

Susie

Over the course of the pandemic and under the limitations of lockdown I have been creating miniature dances arising from balletic challenges that could be practised and performed at home. There is a long established tradition in Western classical music whereby established composers have written technical studies, aimed at both amateur and professional musicians; some of these transcending their functional starting points to become great music. These are published and as such available to all who wish to try playing them; I hope to make my dance studies similarly publicly available online, and am currently investigating appropriate formats and platforms for doing this.

This grew from my response to those initially intimidated by live Zoom ballet classes, for whom I began making and posting a daily enchaînement on YouTube, to be viewed and practised in one’s own time and at one’s own pace – you can find Enchaînement of the day here.   I began making more choreographic studies in the summer of 2020, greatly supported by the shared process of two wonderful programmes run by Caroline Salem at Space @ Clarence Mews in Hackney.  I had previously passed valuable and constructive time in this wonderful studio facility, dedicated to the exploring and making of new work through structured programmes which include expert mentoring.   Under lockdown it was of course impossible to go there in person, but Caroline designed online programmes which via Zoom allowed small groups of diverse artists to share their emerging ideas, receive peer feedback, and explore new virtual ways of framing and disseminating their work. 

Initially I was dancing in my kitchen; but gradually towards the end of 2020 Oxford’s Arts at the Old Fire Station (OFS) began to open its studio for individual rehearsal.  I was thus able to take advantage of Oxford Dance Forum and OFS’s generous Breathing Space programme of subsidised rehearsal space, generating and filming further dances to add to a small but growing portfolio of solos to share with Caroline and my newfound online colleagues.

Oxford Dance Forum’s Scratch Night on 9th February 2022 – ODF’s first live show since before the pandemic – provided a perfect opportunity to show some of these works to a wider group and receive feedback, but also to see the studies in a more conventional performance setting rather than in the studio or domestic space, alongside striking solos by Pragna Das and Helen Edwards.  You can read Maggie Watson‘s account of the evening here. Having done the initial dancing work myself I was delighted to be able to teach existing studies to talented local Oxford dancers, and to make one new.  Some of these pieces have been conceived with the qualities and needs of specific dancers in mind; others to focus on particular technical concepts.  Ségolène Tarte, Evie Tucker and Thomas Page danced a selection set to piano music by composers Anatoly Lyadov, Trevor Hold, Erik Satie, Georgy Catoire, Francis Poulenc, and Jean-Philippe Rameau.

Rehearsing with Evie Tucker at URC
Photo by Thomas Page

I hope you enjoy the following selection of pictures taken by experienced and sensitive Oxford dance photographer Stu Allsopp.  This was an encouraging event; watch this space for further developments!

My sincere gratitude to Arts Council England’s prompt and empathetic Covid Emergency funding scheme, which supported me at the outset of the pandemic, enabling me to equip myself and develop my limited IT skills to cope with the new realities of dancing, teaching and creating online…

Susie

After show discussion with Ségolène, Evie and Thomas…

Here follows an account of BiSS activity for 2021.  Apologies for a long post – in the end it proved a full and busy year!  Do hover over names and titles to find embedded links to further information. Special thanks to Maggie Watson for her insightful reviews and reports of events and performances over this year for Oxford Dance Writers, some of which are referred and linked to in this piece.

Beginning the year once more in Covid lockdown meant that teaching continued online from my kitchen. Classes included a weekly session for adult beginners as well as intermediate and advanced classes, occasional Wednesday classes for the Tully Collective, and for a period weekly company classes for Yorke Dance, maintaining professional practice at home.  Dancers attended classes not only from Oxford but also from London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Sicily, Athens, Berlin and even Egypt and Australia; an unexpected bonus of teaching online.

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Following a summer of trying things out I am resuming a full schedule of ballet classes in person at United Reformed Church Hall (URC) this September, including Adult Beginnners, Intermediate and Advanced classes, with optional pointe work for experienced dancers. See below for the full list of classes up to and including 25th September. I will be taking a few days break at the end of September (week commencing Monday 27th) but then resume regular classes from Monday 4th October.

Please note the following small changes resulting from precautions against Covid19:

The Monday adult beginners’ class will now start at 4.00pm instead of 4.15pm, to allow a little more time for changing groups before the next class. The Saturday Intermediate/Advanced class will now start at 11.45am for the same reason.

For the time being I am keeping in-person class numbers a bit reduced in the interests of being able to maintain a little more social distance, thus maximum 11 plus teacher makes 12. Classes will be hybrid which people can attend either in person or online via Zoom, to give people a choice, and to enable more people to do class.

Those who wish to attend in person should drop me an email or text to book their attendance for the classes they want to do; but there is no need to book in advance if you are attending online. However if you wish to attend on line, email me to let me know the classes you are interested in, so that I can send you the relevant Zoom invitations.

If by any chance you cannot attend a class you have booked please let me know so that I could offer the place to someone else. If you have already paid, your payment will be carried forward to cover a future class.

The price for attending in person has reverted to the former £10 per class; the previous loyalty card scheme will be running, whereby your 10th class is free. You can pay in cash, by cheque, or online. For those attending online the price remains at £7.

Please note, I am currently having some problems with sending email to BTInternet addresses; I would be very grateful if you could inform your provider that I am a trusted sender and not spam!

Monday 6th September           4.00-5.15pm  Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 9th September        10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe Work

Saturday 11th September       10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe Work

Monday 13th September         4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 16th September      10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe Work

Saturday 18th September      10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm  Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe Work

Monday 20th September        4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 23rd September     10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe Work

Saturday 25th September      10.00-11.15am Adult Begnners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe Work

I hope this makes sense… please email with any queries.
Looking forward to receiving your bookings, and to seeing you back in class either in the Hall or on screen!
Susie