August 2007 Archives

Saturday 11th, Last Day

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Daria Pavlenko and Amy Hollingsworth.jpg
Well last night all the teachers headed off for dinner at our favourite restaurant, STOLETI, it is owned by a Czech Lord (6' 5ins) who also owns a lot of vinyards in Moravia, and even though it is only 200m from Charles Bridge it has remained remarkably Czech in its prices. Staff are very friendly and the ambience is perfect. Daria Pavlenko was wandering around the city before we met for dinner and got caught in a sudden downpour, she turned up looking very very wet, so we waited for her to change and dry off before setting off the 150m from the studios with plenty of umbrellas.

Got in earlier than usual this morning to set up the tables for tonights party and to sort out the fares for the dancers to be able to get back to the airport on Sunday. Vaclav Janecek and Daria Klimentova for the final general classes today. Someone left a rather nice Chanel watch in the studios last night, amazed no one has asked about it yet. I shall find out after class to whom it belongs. Several proud parents looking in today, it is always nice to see support for dance (and sneak a holiday in at the same time (who can blame them)).

Jan Erik after boys solo.jpg
Jan-Erik Wikstrom stayed half an hour after his solo class working very hard with 7 or 8 boys who didn't want to stop. Jan-Erik has discovered he loves coaching, and now he only has 40 minutes left before Pas de Deux. Daria Klimentova got caught in the rain with only a small umbrella to cover her new handbag so I had to dash out to rescue her with the big one. I of course then end up with soaked trousers. The watch was Chantal's. Peter Smida has left his wallet behind in public places twice so far and left cash on the floor at the studios, and has somehow got it all back in tact every time, talk about lucky.

The party food arrived on time. The applause today at the end of each sesion has been extraordinary, the teachers and pianists should be very proud of themselves. Pas de deux had to be brought to a close 20 minutes after it should have finished, they would have gone on all night. We did our usual give away during the party, lots of calendars and ballet clothes and programmes, and a cheer goes up for every recipient which is very nice to hear. This year the dancers seem to have gelled very well together, a lot of friendships have been formed with large groups going out together instead of just twos and threes. Daria P, Amy and Jan-Erik got trapped in the studio signing t-shirts and brochures non-stop for about an hour and seemed genuinely happy to do so. I think they have enjoyed it as much as the dancers, really. So finally I finished tidying up and gathering together all the Masterclass paraphenalia at about 22.00 and ordered a taxi to take us home. Jonathan and Amy and Jan-Eric returned to Stoleti's once again and Daria P headed to her apartment to call her mother and boyfriend. Daria K has to get up early to go to Czech TV to meet with the editor of the documentary to make sure that the dancing bits are edited correctly before we go to Italy on Monday for a beach break with our daughter. I hope you all have enjoyed reading a little bit about what it is like to be with us in Prague ,the only thing left for me to do is to be on hand tomorrow in case there are any problems for any of the dancers getting to the airport. So it is good night from me and I shall add some more a little later in the year. Have a great year and enjoy your dancing.Ian.


Of course Sunday didn't go quite as smoothly as one would have hoped. I get a phone call at 08.45 from one of our dancers from Poland. Her passport and bus ticket and money and jewellery were stolen from her last night. Police had to be called to enable her to get a crime number, so that when the Polish Embassy opens tomorrow they will issue her with some identity documents so that she can get home. Obviously upset when I meet up with her but being comforted by another two dancers who don't leave till later in the day. So I give her all the details for the Embassy and how to get there easily in the morning, pay for her room for another night, get her another bus ticket and give her some spending money. As there are no buses to Warsaw on Mondays her father tells her to take one to Liberec, in the northern Czech Republic, and he will drive down to pick her up from there. Luckily there are some other dancers staying on a few days so she will share a room with them tonight. Poor girl, it is always horrible to be the victim of theft, or any crime, especially in a foreign land. This was her second year with us, and even with all this she says she is determined to come again next summer. Take care to you all and have fun. IAN

Friday 10th

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Thursday and Friday are always slightly lethargic days. All the dancers are starting to feel the effects of working all day everyday, and it has also been very humid the last few days. My daughter Sabina (aged 6) made everyone paper fans yesterday to cool them down. During the interview with Daria Pavlenko last night the heavens opened, with tremendous cracks of thunder and flashes of lightening shaking the area, it was quite exciting. So we all decided to stay in the studio watching more of Daria's videos till the storm passed, and very good it was too. She told us that she has no favourite role, the favourite is the one she is doing at that moment, so when I asked her for her favourite therefore at the moment, she said "holidays".  

That made them all laugh. The dancers really like her. Her English is very good, even though she thinks not.

Daria Klimentova class.jpg
 Ian in office.jpgDaria Klimentová is back giving general class today and tomorrow. Last night she spent two hours in the lower studio with a film crew, being interviewed for this 50 minute documentary they are making about her. They have been following her all over the world for the last two years and this was to be the final piece to camera. However they have now signed her up to be able to follow her for the next 5 years for another documentary.

Nina Brzoradova class.jpg After class 1.jpg 

Tomorrow, being the last day, usually finds all the dancers having a renewed energy. we have ordered the party food and drink so we are all looking forward to a good evening. Lots of new friends have been made, some will last a lifetime, and it is a little sad to be coming to an end, but there is always next year.(28th July - 9th August provisionally).

To studios 2 & 3 and office.jpgOne of the boys from Mary Goodhew at Elmhurst arrived late last week because he had been very ill, but he has not really got his strength back yet, we have had him taking it very easy, and he is so frustrated and annoyed with himself for not being able to join in more and do it all full out. But that is the way it goes and you can do yourself more harm than good by working too hard when you are weak. And as I said there is always next year.

Wednesday 8th

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This is the view if you exit the studios and walk 50m straight ahead. Charles Bridge with the Castle above. Jack Thorpe-Baker's birthday last night and Rym Kechacha's last Saturday. What a fantastic way to celebrate your coming of age. In Prague on a hot day, surrounded by friends and doing what you love to do, dancing. They are very lucky I think. They all went on a boat trip after the video and interview with Jan-Erik Wikstrom and then ended up with lots of cake (apparently) etc in the bar. Amazingly none of them looks the worse for wear this morning. 

So Nina Brzorádová (Ballet Mistress of the National Theatre Company here in Prague and ex ABT) is to give general class the next three days in the upper studio, and Daria Pavlenko ( ) will give general class in the lower studio today and tomorrow. Jan-Erik and Amy are taking Nina's class today to give Daria Pavlenko time to settle in before they take hers tomorrow.

Daria Pavlenko solo class 1.jpg
Have now handed out all the Theatre tickets for tonights show at the Image Theatre ( ) one and a half hours of mayhem and no interval. 
Between class and solo.jpg
Whilst waiting for their groups' hour of solo work with Daria Pavlenko, the girls either watch the boys solo class, put the world to rights in the canteen or, as in the picture, grab some shut eye.
Daria Pavlenko solo class 2.jpg

Tuesday 7th

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Interviewed Amy last night and Jan-Erik tonight. Amy had them all laughing with a very funny story about her fouettéing in Swan Lake with Baryshnikov in the audience. Physio and masseur fully booked for the week already. taking them all to the Image Theatre dance show on Wednesday so had to buy the tickets last night or it would be sold out.

We are running a competition on the notice board for the dancers, with a prize of a Masterclass Backsack for the winner, for whoever can tell us what this is, what is the name of the road where it is and who was the sculptor.

Daria Pavlenko wore herself out walking the entire city last night. She is having a great time and is such a lovely person, she also really cares to help each girl individually. We must order the food for the last nigth party today before we forget.

This is jonathan playing for Vaclav's general class.  




Sunday-Monday 5-6th August

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First new arrivals landed at 06.15 this morning, oh joy! Next at 16.00. Very few this week as 90% are here for the full two week course. This is my view each arrival day: Arrival Hall-1.jpg

Afternoon tea in the Town Hall 2-1.jpg














Left my Czech mobile at home so set off back to get it and missed all the excitement of Katya losing her passport. Jonathan dashed over to the hostel to supervise police station visits and Embassy (we know the British Ambassador) only to have it found again down the back of her bed by a most embarassed and apologetic Katya. I turn up to meet Jonathan for lunch oblivious of all this thank goodness. After lunch I meet up with Rebekah Downing at her hotel to give her her security pass and then off to the Obecni Dum (Town Hall) for a coffee before heading back to the airport. Found a whole group of dancers doing the same thing.

Get a call from Adrian Both to say he has arrived, I forgot the time, so dash pass the pig on diving board, into taxi and off to airport.  Pig on Diving Board-1.jpgOnce met, we put him into the Cedaz Mini bus and aim for the hostel.

Cedaz Mini Buses-1.jpg














I of course have to then wait for the Teachers and the last of the dancers to arrive. Amy Hollingsworth sneaks up on me before I can spot her, she has only missed one year with us in the last 5. Great to have her back. Next up is the lovely Daria Pavlenko., I put her in a taxi to the studios where Daria (Kilmentova of course) is waiting for her with our daughter. Harmony from Rome and Laura form the UK are next and finally Jan-Eric Wikstrom, the senior Principal of Royal Swedish Ballet and an old friend. I go back with Jan-Eric to meet up with the two Daria's and Jonathan and Amy (who has her sister coming tonight). Dinner at Stoleti's. Back to airport for 21.30 for Andrew Peasgood our last dancer to arrive this year. After hostel check in, home at last for midnight. 

Monday morning back to the hostel for 08.30 to meet the few new ones who do not know anyone else (4 of them) and walk them to the studios. Amy and Vaclav give class today, Jan-Eric does Amy's discreetly at the back. Daria Pavlenko comes down at 11.30. She is very nervous to coach her first solo class, she is doing variations from Raymonda. But of course as soon as she starts to work with the girls everything is wonderful. For the girls just having someone of her stature in the room with them is an inspiration on its own. And so it should be!!

Some of the boys were telling me that they hired some bicycles from the shop opposite the hostel yesterday, and then followed a route that the shop recommended and cycled right up to the top of the castle and back down the opposite way. They said it was great fun but it completely exhausted them as it was also so hot.


Saturday 4th

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dinner 2.jpg

dinner 1.jpg
This week has flown by of course. Having to organise the few that are leaving tomorrow to get back to the airport. Yesterday was a busy day, finally Joe Bishop appeared, he is a young dancer from Elmhurst, he has been rather unwell back in the UK and is only now fit enough to join us. Jonathan met him at the airport whilst I interviewed Maina Gielgud for the dancers and showed some fantastic footage of her dancing, in both some Bejart works she created and the Classic Swan Lake from a Gala. We all headed off to dinner afterwards at the aptly named NOSTRESS CAFE. It was a very good meal with great company, what more can one ask for.

 (Dinner 2 photo is Sofiane Sylve, Patrick Delcroix and Maina Gielgud)

(Dinner 1 Photo is Larisa Lezhnina, Guillaume Graffin and Jonathan Still)

(Dinner 3 Photo is Daria Klimentova, Vaclav Janecek and Sofiane Sylve)


dinner 3.jpg

 We talk to Daria tonight and show our famous comedy video, we also have our annual raffle and give away lots of goddies from Daria's collection.

Thursday 2nd

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Arrived at studios to find the whole area, including the areas around the studios, overtaken by film crews and catering and lighting trucks. Apparently they are filming some movie here today but they will keep out of our way they promise. The studios used to be a monastery so they are very filmable of course.

We have our daughter with us today, so whilst Daria does Sofianes class I take Sabina with me to the Old Town Square and st Nicholas's Church to buy the tickets for tonights concert for the dancers. The are playing Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi at 21.00. And then on to top up my Czech mobile.

Gaynor Minden-1.jpgOnce I got back Jeanne Share, from Gaynor Minden shoes of New York, arrives to meet the Principal Dancers from the National Theatre here in Prague to show them her shoes, which you cannot get in the Czech Republic yet. She sets herself up in Studio 3 with lots of samples of what they do, and is immediately surrounded by dancers hoping to try or buy her wares. Unforunately for them this is not a selling trip, this is only to show everyone what they do. There is a lot of interest. We have visiting principal dancers from Staatsoper Berlin (Beatrice Knopp), Dutch National Ballet (Larisa Lezhnina) and Prague (Nikola Marova) all very interested. We always seem to get a lot of great dancers dropping in and out to say hello to Daria and enjoy the atmoshere of the studios and Prague. Daria has not seen Beatrice for 20 years since the competition in Lausanne.


This evening we interview the lovely Guillaume Graffin. Jonathan says that he has found an amazing swimming Centre about 20 minutes away on the tram. Apparently there are three 50m outdoor pools and a childrens pool and a grassy picnic area, it is not busy and only costs Kc100. So I shall take Sabina there after the Masterclasses.

The film will apparently be called "FAUBERG 36".

Wednesday 1st

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Sofiane Sylve ( ) is giving class today and tomorrow in the downstairs studio and Maina Giegud ( ) in the Upper. Patrick Delcroix ( ) our contemporary teacher has sneaked in at the back to do Sofiane's class, and one of the Principal dancers of the National Theatre has asked to take Maina's as she knows her form a long time ago. Jiri, our Physio, is doing a remarkable job as usual in keeping them all fit, and Jan our masseur is extremely popular with everyone including the teachers, his list is full. In the background while I am writing this I can hear Jonathan playing the Monty Python Theme for an excercise.

Sofiane class.jpgJust nipped in to give Sofiane some water, that I forgot about, and she has quite an audience, even Larisa Lezhnina ( ) is sitting under the piano watching her, talk about extra pressure.

My daughter strained my neck last night, she hadn't seen us for 5 days so was a little over excited at home and was jumping all over me. She goes to visit a girlfriend of hers today while Daria teaches this afternoon.

I get to interview Sofiane tonight for the dancers, and then they get to ask the questions, if it is anything like the interview with Patrick Delcroix last night we could be in for a long night. Lots of questions.

Sofiane is so good with the dancers and works for an extra 20 minutes after class with some girls who are trying so hard. This of course only gives her 10 minutes before she has to start 2 hours of solo coaching. Well if anyone can teach you how to turn!!!!!!!!

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