After a three-week break, I must admit that I was starting to miss dancing. The first few days of summer school were tough and I experienced that feel-good aching sensation as my muscles re-awakened. The course consisted of a daily ballet class for 90 minutes each morning followed by either pointe work for girls or technique coaching for boys finishing at 1.30pm. In the afternoons we had repertoire and contemporary classes ending the day at 8pm.
Advanced level classes were at the Teatro Rossini of Civitanova Marche, a recently refurbished medium-sized theatre that was built in the early 1900s as a cine-theatre. The idyllic sea-side location rather surprisingly did not attract a large number of tourists. The city-centre was mainly filled with locals and, on occasion, with young people pouring out of the theatre in dancewear and sporting buns! Temperatures were in the high 30C’s most days but thanks to air conditioning we were kept cool while dancing.
Lunch breaks were lengthy which allowed us to rest during the hottest part of the day. Most of the dancers were staying in hotels near to the crowded beaches but my parents had found a stunning family run Bed & Breakfast up in the hills, a 10 minute drive from the theatre. As luck would have it, another girl attending the summer school was also staying there. This made it convenient for our parents to share the trips down and back to classes. We became good friends.
I loved dancing in the theatre. The stage was raked making it challenging for turning in particular. It took some time to become accustomed but was a valuable experience as dancers need to adapt quickly to new environments when it comes to touring with a company. I also benefitted from the absence of mirrors; I was able to analyse my corrections by feeling them and used more artistry and projection due to the depth of the auditorium. Stage lighting combined with the live piano playing created a very enjoyable atmosphere, a change from the regular studio class.
Learning from the various teachers and recognising their different ways of coaching was interesting. I especially enjoyed classes with Paola Vismara [ex-dancer of La Scala Milan and now teaching at the school] and Florence Clerc [ex-dancer of Paris Opera Ballet and now coaching the company]. From Vismara I grasped her Italian qualities of technique and virtuosity and from Clerc her French qualities of elegance and style. For our repertoire classes, Vismara taught us Kitri’s dynamic and seductive variation from Don Quixote (act 3) whereas Clerc taught us Aurora’s subtle and delicate variation from Sleeping Beauty (act 3). Two very contrasting solos! I hope to post more photos soon, taken by a photographer hired by the summer school organisers.
Now that the course has finished I feel physically stronger. It was great to work with new people in a new place and to get back to my dancing after a short break. I intend to keep up my fitness over summer by swimming, stretching at home and taking classes at my old school.
Le Marche region strongly supports the performing arts with almost the entire month of August dedicated to ballet performances and workshops. There were billboards and posters around the city promoting various events. This was the 20th year of Civitanova Danza in memory of Enrico Cecchetti, but only the first occasion that a summer school was included as part of the event. I plan to return next year and look forward to staying again at the lovely Vittoria House B&B.
Enrico Cecchetti [1850–1928] was an Italian ballet dancer and the founder of the Cecchetti method. The son of two dancers from Civitanova Marche, he was born in the costuming room of the Teatro Tordinona in Rome