Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Introducing Janet McNulty

A big welcome to our latest contributor, Janet McNulty.

Janet comes from Liverpool and she signs her many interesting contributions to BalletcoForum with the words:
"Proud of my Scouse accent!
(Watching ballet keeps me sane)".
Northern Ballet opens its season at this time of the year with a series of performances at West Yorkshire Playhouse. That theatre is literally next door to Northern Ballet's base at Quarry Hill and audiences like to think of it as the company's home. Many of its works have been premiered here and there is a special intimacy in the auditorium that brings out the best in the dancers. I look forward to Northern Ballet at the Playhouse very much indeed.

Alas this year I shall have to miss them because I shall be at the Dutch National Ballet's gala in Amsterdam tonight. Knowing my affection for Northern Ballet Janet has very kindly offered to review their season for us. I hope she can be tempted to contribute frequently to Terpsichore because she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of, and boundless enthusiasm for, all kinds of dance.

I see from her contributions to Facebook that she already enjoyed the opening night and I look forward to seeing her detailed review. I should also like to wish the company all the best with their West Yorkshire Playhouse season. I shall next see them in Romeo and Juliet at The Alhambra.

By the way here is a recipe for scouse.

Monday, 29 August 2016

It's Only Words

Students of the Deana Morgan Academy in Bradford will perform It's Only Words at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford on the 16 and 17 Sept. It is advertises as a celebration of Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontes, J M Barrie, J K Rowling and other famous authors in dance, drama and song.

There will be three performances:

Fri 16 Sep 2016
Time 19:15    £ 25.50 - £17.50

Sat 17 Sep 2016
Time 14:15    £ 25.50 - £17.50
Time 19:15   £ 25.50 - £17.50

Tickets can be obtained through the theatre's website.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Mr Frog Dancewear

According to Professor Sir John Seeley the British empire was acquired in a fit of absence of mind.  I had a somewhat less devastating fit for humanity (but distressing enough for me) when I left my treasured ballet bag from the Bristol Russian Ballet School on a tram. I had bought it at the Playhouse Theatre, Weston Super Mare when I saw the School dance Cinderella with Elena Glurdjidze and Arionel Vargas on a tram (see An Even Better Show: the Bristol Russians by the Sea 5 May 2014 Terpsichore).

I was on my way to Karen Sant's class at KNT in Manchester. I was distracted only momentarily but that was long enough. By the time I noticed that i had gone the bag and its contents of two pairs of ballet shoes, two leotards (one purchased only the previous week and worn only once), a pair of ballet tights, a ballet dress, skirts and a towel were trundling on their way back to Rochdale. I reported the loss immediately to Metrolink but the bag was never handed in  I had to miss class with a favourite teacher, which was bad enough, but now I have to replace the missing items which is worse.

These are not easy to replace because I am not your typical dancer age, shape or size as you can see from my attemot to dance a shade in La Bayadere (see La Bayadere Intensive Day 3: No Snakes  17 Aug 2016) but I made a start in Huddersfield at Mr Frog's Dancewear shop in the Byram Arcade.  According to the shop's website it was founded in 1985 which was the year I moved to Upperthong (a village in the path of nature's wind tunnel on a lonely moor several hundred feet above sea level). A village, incidentally, that was mocked mercilessly by David Murley in his ballet Frisky Claptrap (see Ey Up from Uperthong 10 Oct 2014 Terpsichore). For all those years I had never noticed it but instead continued to purchase my shes and other kit from Freeds in St Martin's Lane and other Southerners.

I found this shop while researching for this blog which will eventually have the best directory of adult ballet classes, dance wear shops. studios, theatres, venues and other resources in Yorkshire on the planet. It is located in Unit 23 on the first floor of the Byram Arcade which is one of the architectural landmarks of Huddersfield. The best place to park is Sainsbury's multistorey where you can get up to 4 hours free parking on weekdays if you buy a few items from the store and up to 30 minutes even if you buy nowt.  If you rely on public transport the store is close to Huddersfield bus and railway stations.

The proprietor was able to sell me a pair of So Danca shoes that fit as well as my Freeds with the elastic sewn on. She also ordered me an extra-large Mary Rose leotard similar to one that I had bought last year for Jane Tucker's Swan Lake intensive.  She also allowed me a 10% discount on her "Back to School" promotion.

Judging by what I could see in her shop and on her website the proprietor carries a wide range of women's and girls' dance wear. Show cards for many of the big brands like Bloch, Capezio and So Danca were on display.  Her website lists several of the local ballet schools though not Team Hud surprisingly. The only serious drawback is that the store is open only from Wednesday to Saturday but no doubt goods can be bought online at other times.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Dance Studio Leeds Ballet Newsletter

The Dance Studio Leeds from Kathryn Hall on Vimeo.

The Dance Studio Leeds has just announced the opening of a new studio and new classes from the 19 Sept 2016 in its August Ballet Newsletter.

It appears that the Monday evening class which I reviewed in Terpsichore on the 18 July 2016 and 22 Oct 2015 will be split in two with beginners at 18:30 to 19:45 and improvers from 18:45 to 21:15.  According to the timetable there will also be a beginners' class on Mondays between 10:15 and 11:15, a Ballet Fundamentals course on Thursday evenings from 29 Sept to 3 Nov 2016 with Helen Snowden and an Advanced/Intermediate course with Nathalie Leger between 18:00 and 19:30 on Fridays.

The studio will include ballet in its next Showcase at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds on 8 Oct 2016.

For more information on Dance Studio Leeds see its resources page in the dult Dance section,

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Coming to Bradford

Standard YouTube Licence

One of the high points of this year will be Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's International Tour. The company's stops will include the Bradford Alhambra on the 27 and 28 Sept 2016 where they will perform Alvin Ailey's Revelations and Night Creatures as well as Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain pas de deux and Rennie Harris's Exodus. For details on Alvin Ailey see the his biography on Wikipedia. For information on the company see the About page on its website.

Also coming to Bradford will be Jean-Christopher Maillot's Romeo and Juliet to be danced by Northern Ballet between 11 and 15 Oct 2016. In my humble opinion this will be the best of the the company's three revivals this autumn (see Northern Ballet's New Season 24 Oct 2016 Terpsichore). This article also contains links to my reviews on 8 March and 13 March 2015.

For the postal and web addresses of the theatre, its phone number, how to get there by public transport, where to park if coming by car, where to get a bite to eat before and after the show and other tips, see my Bradford Alhambra theatre page which I uploaded today.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Planet Dance

Carlinghow Mills
Creative Commons Licence

Just as Monsieur Jourdain in Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme spoke prose all his life without knowing it I have been patronizing Planet Dance ever since I started classes at Northern Ballet (see Jane Lambert Realizing a Dream 12 Sept 2013 Terpsichore). The area to the right of the reception desk with items of dancewear on display at Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre's building at Quarry Hill is actually a branch of Planet Dance. Over the years I have bought shoes and tights from the lady who runs the concession without knowing that it was part of a larger business.

Planet Dance is a wholesaler and retailer of dance clothing, footwear and accessories. It supplies dance schools and other retailers online and through a showroom and retail premises at Carlinghow Mills in Batley. I visited Caringhow Mills for the first time on 13 Aug 2016 as I was kitting up for a three day intensive workshop with Jane Tucker at The Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester (see Jane Lambert La Bayadère Intensive Day 1: There's Life in the Old Girl Yet 16 Aug 2016 Terpsichore).

The showroom at Carlinghow Mills is very easy to miss even if you know your way around Batley. It occupies one of a number of units in a converted mill on the Bradford Road.  The full postal address is
Planet Dance
2nd Floor
Middle Mill
Carlinghow Mills
501 Bradford Road
WF17 8LL
it is towards the back of the complex and I had to wall around for a few minutes before I found it.

The showroom is up a flight of stairs and quite airy and spacious. I had asked for an extra large leotard and several pairs of tights to be put to one side and these were waiting for me when I arrived. There seemed to be a wide variety of footwear for most types of dance including lots of pointe shoes. The staff seemed well informed and efficient and I was on my way within minutes.

The leotard was comfortable even though I had to dance in it for nearly 6 hours on one of the hottest days of the year. Since my visit I have looked round Planet Dance's website and note that it has some useful information on the pianist, David Plumpton and a comprehensive directory of dance schools. It appears that they will add pages on dancewear size guide, pointe shoes and ballet shoes but those pages are empty at present.

The Batley store stocks all the usual brands such as Bloch, Carpezio and Freed. It is not far from my home. It is quite likely that I shall come again.