I hope you are keeping well, and despite the current extraordinary and restrictive circumstances are at least able to enjoy something of the beautiful spring sunshine… Here are some suggestions to mitigate the current lack of dance activities, which have had to close down to maintain social distancing and combat the spread of Covid 19.

In these extraordinary times Oxford Dance Writers plans to keep going on a regular basis, despite the lack of performances and events to flag up and review.  As we all seek for ways to keep dancing practice alive at home, as well as other content ODW hopes to provide a place where those of us that love dance can find out more about, and discuss, the vast array of training material available online. Check out Sonia Tycko’s useful starter guide and suggestions here

As a contribution to this cornucopia, I have finally joined Instagram, where I am posting short enchainments on a daily basis from my kitchen; look for the Enchainement of the day at susiecrowbiss

Do consider posting a comment on Oxford Dance Writers in response to what you read there; ODW would welcome your thoughts and recommendations, however brief. If you are interested in writing a more substantial piece about the dance that you see online, either performances, dance videos and films, or training resources, please email susiecrow@gmail.com.

Take care and stay safe,

Susie

It is with a very heavy heart that I write to let you know that all BiSS ballet classes at the URC are suspended as from Thursday 19th March. In the light of all that is going on, and aware that quite a number of class members are already taking sensible precautionary action to self isolate, it seems the safest and most responsible thing to do. This suspension will continue till the end of April; I will of course post any developments or changes to that date.

Meanwhile I will be looking into ways to keep in touch online and via social media, so that those that wish may be able to keep up some useful and enjoyable practice even while isolated at home, as many dancers internationally are already beginning to do. For starters I am very grateful to Sonia Tycko who sent this article with cheery clip which may give you a few ideas about what is possible even if in a limited space…

Planning to post more on this blog, so watch this space…
Take care and keep safe!
My very best wishes to you all,
Susie

I am going to Malta this week to give a paper at the  Performance Knowledges: Transmission, Composition, Praxis Conference being organised by the University of Malta with the Centre for Dance Research of Coventry University.  I will be leaving on Tuesday 10th and returning Sunday 15th March. Delighted to report that all BiSS ballet classes at URC will continue as normal during my absence, thanks to the help of lovely and experienced dancers Lisia Newmark and Tamara Callander, with whom some of you have worked before.
So this week’s schedule is as follows:
Monday 9th March: 4.15-5.30pm Adult beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate, taught by Susie
Thursday 12th March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.15pm Pointe work, taught by Lisia
Saturday 14th March: 10.00-11.15am Adult beginners, 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/advanced, 1.15-1.45pm Pointe work, taught by Tamara
Monday 16th March: 4.15-5.30pm Adult beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate, taught by Tamara. Very sadly my much loved teacher Roger Tully passed away on 26th February. His funeral is to be held on Monday 16th, so I will not be able to teach that day, but Tamara has kindly agreed to teach these classes as well.  Tamara also taught for me on 24th March; but for those of you who do not yet know her, here is a biography for your information:

Tamara Callander
Tamara studied classical ballet in her native Perth (Australia), followed by further training at the prestigious Academie de Danse Classique in Monte Carlo. On her return to Australia she performed in a diverse range of projects, arts festivals and club shows leading to the development of Ballet About. As a co-founder she performed as Principal Dancer on productions taking a range of traditional classical ballets, flamenco inspired collaborations and contemporary choreography to local communities.

She danced with the West Australian Ballet Company for several seasons on a range of productions including Romeo & Juliet and Giselle; had guest appearances as a Principal Artist with Perth City Ballet – highlights being Swan Lake, Don Quixote and a tour of the UK; she later travelled & performed in Europe as a freelance dancer.

After retiring from performing and having relocated to the UK, Tamara pursued a successful career in Marketing & PR in London. Since becoming a mother to two boys and moving to Oxford, her most recent project has been the inception of Kinetikids, creating dance & movement classes for 4-6 year olds.

Tamara has been a teacher, coach and ballet mistress throughout her career to students of all ages and enjoys sharing her love of dance and music.

Lisia Newmark

You can find a biography of Lisia here, and and here is a picture of her performing in The Solos Project for Ballet in Small Spaces in 2008.

Should there be any further schedule or teaching changes because of coronavirus developments that might keep me away from my computer and my email list, I will post these here on the BiSS blog, so please do keep an eye on it…
I will look forward to seeing you all again from Thursday 19th March, meanwhile enjoy!

Susie

Happy New Year – and decade – to all!  The new term of ballet classes at URC began on Monday 6th January with the usual schedule of classes:
Mondays 4.15-5.30pm adult beginners, 5.45-7.15pm intermediate
Thursdays 10.00-11.30am advanced, 11.45am-12.15pm optional pointe work
Saturdays 10.00-11.15am adult beginners, 11.30am-1.00pm intermediate/advanced, 1.15-2.00pm optional pointe work.
Classes will as usual continue without a half term break; but the final date of the spring term is yet to be confirmed.

A date for your diary, however: on Monday 20th January there will be the usual adult beginners’ class but no intermediate class. This is because of an exciting DANSOX evening event with choreographer Cathy Marston talking about her new ballet for the Royal Ballet, which I thought people would be interested to attend; you can find details about this on the Oxford Dance Writers (ODW) website here, and check out other exciting dance events in January also flagged up on ODW.

As previously I have a list of people waiting to join the Saturday adult beginners’ class. If you are not able to continue with this class or if you think your attendance might be intermittent, please do let me know soonest if you have not already done so, so that I can calculate how many new people may join.

See you in class!

Susie

There are numerous links embedded in this piece; scroll your cursor over the text to find out more…

A year ago I didn’t manage to write a review of 2018; which had ended momentously with the wonderful winter wedding just before Christmas of my daughter Joanna and her man Dan.  A very happy occasion with much laughter and song; and the talents of dear dancer friends from Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet days were visible in the bride’s beautiful dress from Ritva Westenius, now headed by Chenca Williams, and gorgeous floral arrangements by Covent Garden’s go-to florist Bloomsbury Flowers run by Stephen Wicks and Mark Welford.

Building up to this special family event had shaped a year otherwise spent in regular teaching but also academic activity; beginning in January with a lecture for the History of Performance Course devised by the admirable Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum which houses the former Theatre Museum collections. ‘Dancers, audiences and spaces: reflections from practice’ had been originally presented at a Dance and Academia event in Oxford programmed by Miranda Laurence.  It drew on my own experience as a dancer in considering different spaces for dance and their effects on the relationship between performer and audience.  In April the more theoretical side of my doctoral research had its first outing in a paper ‘The ballet class: oral tradition and embodied learning’ at the Society for Dance Research’s conference evocatively titled ‘Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness’. Read More

A special treat for those doing classes at URC on Saturdays this term.  Hannah Quinn is currently the Ivor Guest Trainee Pianist at the Royal Ballet, and as part of this programme she is getting additional experience playing for BiSS Saturday ballet classes.  This is proving a real treat, a wonderful opportunity to enjoy dancing with a live musician rather than recorded music, and to experience the instantaneous collaboration and enhanced listening that this cultivates in dancers.  See below for a biography of Hannah.

Hannah Quinn

 

British Pianist Hannah Quinn graduated with Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with an MMus in Repetiteurship. During her studies she was awarded the Leonard Hancock Memorial Prize and the James H. Geddes repetiteur prize. Hannah is an alumnus of the National Opera Studio.

Hannah has had extensive experience in the operatic world, but after discovering ballet through a couple of freelance contracts, has fallen in love with the classical dance form and has taken active steps to pursue it. Hannah is absolutely delighted to be training at the Royal Ballet this season and is fully committed to making the most of this excellent opportunity in order to gain the skills required of a ballet pianist.

Hannah has worked on Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances as it was being devised as a new piece by Liam Scarlett. She has also played for Wayne McGregor in his new commission Obsidian Tear, set to the music of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nyx. Hannah has also worked with singers and dancers together in Javier Dr Frutos’ Les Enfants Terribles by Philip Glass. She is currently working on Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto, The Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia.

In the operatic world, Hannah has worked as a repetiteur at English National Opera, British Youth Opera, Scottish Opera and English Touring Opera where she was Head of Music Staff for two seasons.

Hannah has also performed as a song recital accompanist in the UK and abroad. She has a varied interest in repertoire spanning German Lied, French Melodie and contemporary music.

Hannah is also a trained conductor and has performed with Southbank Sinfonia, Trinity Orchestra, Tianjin Philharmonic, Hampstead Garden Opera and English Touring Opera.

September has arrived, so here confirming the start date of ballet classes for the autumn term at URC, and the schedule.

Classes will resume from Monday 9th September, with the schedule as follows:
Mondays: 4.15-5.30 adult beginners, 5.45-7.15pm intermediate
Thursdays: 10.00-11.30am advanced 11.45am-12.15 pointe work
Saturdays: 10.00-11.15am adult beginners, 11.30am-1.00pm intermediate/advanced, 1.15-1.45pm pointe work

Prices remain the same at £10 per class with the 10th class free; pointe-work sessions will cost £4.

Classes will continue throughout the term with no half term break; a provisional date for the end of term is Saturday 14th December, but I will confirm this nearer the time. I will also alert you to any change to the schedule or unforeseen cancellations which may arise.

There continues to be a waiting list of people interested in joining the adult beginners, especially on Saturdays; so for those already attending please let me know soonest if you are planning not to continue coming this term, or if you are likely to be away at all, so that I can calculate how many new people I can realistically accommodate. If I do not hear, I will assume that you plan to continue as normal.

For those who want to do extra classes, may I also recommend to you Ségolène Tarte‘s Friday classes at URC which will resume from Friday 13th September and run until 13th December:

6.15-7.30pm  Adult beginners/improvers  7.30-9.00pm Intermediate/Advanced

Also check out Ségolène’s website here for details of her Tuesday 6.15-7.45pm class at Mortimer Hall which will resume on 10th September, level Improvers to Intermediate/Advanced.

Looking forward to a new term of dancing with you all!
Susie

A happy memory of a highly enjoyable class with guest teacher Brian Bertscher.  The two hours began with a thoroughly warming barre, starting slowly and building in speed, with challenging balances and precision.  In the centre port de bras and adage explored épaulé lines, followed by pirouettes with luxurious balancés, bouncing petit allegro combinations and an exhilarating Prokofiev waltz to finish.  Brian communicated both rigour and infectious enthusiasm.  Hopefully to be repeated before long…

Brian Bertscher with Susie Crow and URC class members 3rd August 2019

Saturday 27th July saw the last regular ballet classes of term at URC, but for those of you wondering how you can keep going here are some suggestions for the summer break, levels intermediate and upwards…

Penny Cullerne-Bown of East Oxford School of Ballet is planning to teach either a Monday or a Wednesday evening classes 5.30-7.00pm at Oxford Spires Academy, Glanville Road, Oxford, OX4 2AU. For further details please email Penny soonest:
pcb@eastoxballet.co.uk

Oxford City School of Dance is running Thursday classes at St Matthew’s Church Hall, Marlborough Road, Abingdon Road, OX1 4LW as follows:
5.30-6.30pm Intermediate Foundation level ballet
6.30-7.00pm Progressing ballet technique/Pilates (ballet based strengthening exercises using exercise balls; all equipment provided)
7.00-8.00pm Advanced ballet
These classes will be continuing until 5th September (excluding 29th August). Prices are £7 for body conditioning, £10 for ballet, or £15 if you combine two classes on one night. If you pay for 4+ weeks of classes in advance you get 10% discount.

Saturday 3rd August at URC, United Reformed Church Hall, Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7HN
11.00am-1.00pm Guest intermediate/advanced level ballet class with Brian Bertscher, cost £15, you can find full details here:
https://balletinsmallspaces.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/brian-bertscher-class-urc-3rd-august/

And finally, if you can get to London and would like to continue with some pointe work, the lovely Bethany Elliott/Ramsey, who has previously graced many Ballet in Small Spaces projects, will be teaching class at Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden on Monday 19th August as follows:
10.30am-12.00 General class, £8
12.00-1.00pm Pointe class, £7 (this can be done in flat slippers if you wish)
You may need to pay an additional small day membership charge at Pineapple.

Enjoy!

Susie

Regular ballet classes at URC finish this Saturday 27th August for a summer break, however for one additional day I am delighted to welcome as special guest teacher my old colleague the irrepressible and inspiring Brian Bertscher.  Brian will be teaching an extended intermediate/advanced class on Saturday 3rd August from 11.00am to 1.00pm; expect lots of joyous dancing.  This 2 hour class will cost £15.  Not to be missed!

A brief biography:BB Teaching at Folkwang (2010)

Brian Bertscher started ballet classes at the age of seven in Johannesburg South Africa and joined the Royal Ballet School London at the age of seventeen.  While there he also studied Cecchetti ballet and received the Advanced Exam certificate.

Between 1964 to 1979 Brian danced with the Royal Ballet and was a popular soloist with the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet.  His roles included Puck in Ashton’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the virtuosic Blue Boy in Les Patineurs.  He also excelled in ballets by John Cranko playing Jasper the Potboy in Pineapple Poll, and Little Clown (Bootface) in The Lady and the Fool.

1979-1980 Brian studied on the Professional Teachers Training Course at the Royal Academy London.  From 1980-2010 he was Professor of Classical Ballet at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany, and has taught internationally for ballet schools and companies.  Since 2010 Brian has been living and working in London, currently teaching regular classes at Morley College.

Find out more about Brian’s life and work here: https://brianbertscher.com/

Find full address details for the URC (Summertown United Reformed Church Hall) on the Classes page of this blog.