My second to last year of training has started well. An extended timetable as well as various other changes to the School’s system of training have been introduced with an aim to maximise the outcome of our tuition; as a result there has been a definitive ‘step-up’ from the previous year. However, it goes without saying that I am enjoying myself as always and I am happy about being worked hard.
My year group is the first lucky lot to be taught by Daria Klimentova, who retired from being a Principal Dancer at the English National Ballet in June. Despite this being her first time in the position of a full-time teacher at a vocational school, I believe she is an excellent example to us all and will help us to achieve a lot in preparation for the all-important graduate year. I really like her teaching method and the motivation I perceive during her classes.
So far this term we have learnt a fair bit of Repertoire. With our ex-prima ballerina teacher we have worked on the Aurora Act 1 Variation from Sleeping Beauty and the girls’ Pas de Trois and Variations from Act 1 of Corsaire. In our joint Repertoire and Pas de Deux classes we have learnt the Pas de Douze Waltz from Swan Lake Act 1 and the Bluebird Pas de Deux from Sleeping Beauty.
Luckily, the inflammation that developed in my foot during summer school in Italy healed without giving me any trouble, but to give you an idea of how much pointe work we have done in the first half of this term, I am already onto my fifth pair of pointe shoes.
Cynthia Harvey, ex-Principal Dancer of American Ballet Theatre, came to guest-teach at the School for two weeks. Taking a few classes with her was enjoyable and a nice insight into the American style of learning and dancing. Another highlight was the day that both the junior and senior students united for the very first time in the history of The Royal Ballet School for an official whole-school photograph. It took place on the front lawn at White Lodge and we were lucky that the sun was out for us that day.
The first half of this term ended with what you could call a mini performance tour for a few students of 1st and 2nd Year. One of my classmates organised an entire fundraising event in support of the Hollie Gazzard Trust. He did a great job putting together a versatile programme, choreographing nearly every piece, organising costumes and lighting, and being in charge of rehearsing the dancers after school hours with a limited amount of time.
Although I was inserted into the event with quite short notice due to another girl’s injury, I was very happy to be involved in this special occasion. It gave me an idea of what it might be like to be on tour with a professional company; from travelling to sleeping arrangements, from being aware of time and quickly adapting to new environments, to fuelling yourself properly and also making sure you warm-up and prepare yourself fully before rehearsing and performing… all things that as a vocational student are not your own direct responsibility. This experience was a valuable lesson to me and I was pleased to have the opportunity to perform on October 25 & 26th in Gloucester.
Upcoming in the remaining half of the term are lots of other in-school events that will keep us busy up to our Christmas break. I will tell you about the next project 2nd Year students are working on as we get closer to the date.