An annual spring social gathering in our road about recycling and exchanging household stuff, plant cuttings, and meeting the neighbours over a mug of coffee and home-made cake was sadly impossible in its usual form this year while observing guidelines for social distancing.  So alternative ways to share and promote community spirit were proposed by the tireless organisers, encouraging all to contribute in other ways, with people posting up poems and images for passing residents to enjoy, and a moment to come onto the street to greet each other from a suitable distance.  I devised a topically themed physically distanced Scottish country dance which we could participate in without breaking the rules – and much entertainment and amusement was had by those who wholeheartedly joined in or watched.  Accompaniment on the bagpipes from husband Peter was a medley including “Cock of the North”. Feel free to use the instructions below in your own street…

 

An update on Ballet in Small Spaces classes happening via Zoom…

The Monday 5.30-7.00pm Kitchen class series continues up to and including Monday 8th June; after which a new series will begin, details to be posted.  However this week on Thursday 21st May I am resuming my previously regular Ballet in Small Spaces Thursday 10.00-11.30am morning class, aimed at experienced dancers of intermediate to advanced level, to see if this provides a viable and useful alternative for people.  Please email to let me know if you would be interested to join this class and I will send you an invitation for the series which will last till early July.  As with the Monday Kitchen classes, there is a suggested contribution of £5 per class.  Please do pass the word to any colleagues or students who might be interested, with the message that people should contact me with any concerns about affordability.

Meanwhile for those who prefer to take their time in learning and work at their own pace, the Enchainement of the Day series continues on YouTube; check them out here and give them a go!  This is an evolving work in progress, so comments, feedback, requests and even likes would be greatly appreciated…

Susie

Following last week’s experiment I will be teaching Kitchen Class by Zoom on Monday 27th April 5.30pm till 7.00pm. The plan is that this Monday open class of approximately Intermediate level will continue on a regular basis until early June; and as necessary from then onwards. In order to cover costs I would like to request that those attending each class make a suggested donation of £5.00.
A big thank you to those who attended last week for your very helpful feedback; I hope that lessons learned from this will help the class to run more smoothly and give you all a better experience. Getting the best from this medium is a work in progress…
If you would like to attend, please drop me an email soonest and I will send you an invitation and payment details. If you are worrying about being able to pay please let me know.
Looking forward to meeting up for class tomorrow,
Take care and stay safe!
Susie

I am taking the plunge – and will be teaching class live online from my kitchen via Webex on Monday 20th April at 5.00pm. This will be an approximately intermediate level class, with options to do simpler or more complex versions of the enchainements and to accommodate your particular environment, and will probably last 1 hour 15-30 minutes.
This is new territory for me. There will therefore be no charge for this class, but I would really appreciate feedback afterwards on how it works for you. I hope that I can continue to offer this on a regular basis while we are all locked down, and there would in future be a nominal charge.
If you would like to join Kitchen Class please contact me at susiecrow@gmail.com and I will send an invitation with a link…

I will be continuing to post an Enchainement of the day as regularly as possible on YouTube for those that prefer to work in their own time and at their own pace. You can find all those posted so far on the Ballet in Small Spaces YouTube channel here.

Taking this opportunity also to flag up Ségolène Tarte’s tremendously helpful blog post on her Dancing Convolutions blog here about doing classes at home; not only providing wise advice about safe practice, but also a great list of tried and tested suggestions for classes in different styles and formats:

I can completely endorse her recommendation of the lovely warm-up she found by dancers from the Slovenian National Theatre, accessible to all, just follow along here and enjoy, an uplifting way to start the day…

See you in class…

Susie

I hope that you are coping with the continuing lockdown, and despite this able to enjoy the spring weather a bit.
Ballet in Small Spaces has been searching for online ways to help people keep their ballet practice alive in the smallest of spaces. Some have already checked out my series of Enchainement of the day Instagram posts at susiecrowbiss. As there appears to be a restriction of 60 seconds now on videos on Instagram, I have taken the decision to transfer this to YouTube. You can now find the continuing series on the Ballet in Small Spaces YouTube channel here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbAJIO9c-u4DZ2vCcwi6h6w

I will continue to post announcements on Instagram as further material goes up.  The idea is to provide barre work and centre work enchainments for you to work on in your own time and at your own pace.  Please do subscribe and post any questions or comments; we are all learning here, and I would welcome your feedback…

Susie

 

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