Archive for the ‘Prague’ Category

Saturday 7th Last Day

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Last nights dinner was lovely, it was in the Hotel Leonardo around the corner. They gave us a private room and we spent the next two hours putting the ballet world to rights.

Today is a rainy day, not cold but wet. The atmosphere is, as usual for a last day, very subdued. There will be a lot of number swapping and “facebook friending”  today. Class today is with Daria Klimentová in studio 1, Christopher Hampson in studio 2 and Vaclav Janecek in studio 3.

For the boys solo Julio let them choose which solo they would like to perform from the ones he taught. There was a lot of cheering and clapping coming from the that studio. The girls took it in turns to do the Cinderella variation Daria taught them this week. It is always nice to see them clap and encourage each other.

No canteen on Saturdays so it was a quick run out into the rain for a chicken risotto, and then back for Pas de Deux with Julio Bocca and Tamara Rojo or Repertoire with Christopher Hampson for the last time.

At the end of these sessions the roar of appreciation could be heard clearly in my office, quite a way away. Fantastic.

Just the final party with Christopher and myself as barmen tonight.

Untill next year August the 1st – 13th. From Daria Christopher Jonathan and myself “Thank you so much for supporting us”.

Friday 6th

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Where does the time go? Only today and tomorrow left now. I had a complaint from the hostel about the noise last night apparently from our lot. So I have put a strongly worded note up around the studios to make sure it does not happen again. No complaints from the dancers though. Last night we had dinner at Daria’s mothers house and then took Sabina back with us so that she can come in to the studios with us today.

Class this morning with Daria Klimentová in Studio 1, Christopher Hampson in Studio 2 and Vaclav Janecek in Studio 3. Followed by solo work with Julio Bocca in Studio 2 for the boys and with Daria Klimentová in Studio 1 for the girls. Straight after solo work at 14.00 Daria has to rehearse, in Studio 2 for Cinderella with Vadim Muntagirov, for the opening night in London next week. The dancers all try to very quietly sneak in and watch them rehearse, it is a special treat for them.

Last pas de deux for one group and last Repertoire this afternoon for the other. Pas de Deux with Julio Bocca and Tamara Rojo and repertoire with Christopher Hampson. No more interviews tonight so Julio Bocca has invited all the teachers to a barbecue at his hotel around the corner. Very nice indeed.

Wednesday 4th & Thursday 5th

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

I do apologise for not doing the blog on Wednesday, it was a very hectic day. As soon as class was going (Tamara Rojo in Studio 1, Vaclav Janeck in Studio 2 and Jirij Slypic in studio 3) I had to dash off to the airport to pick up Daria, returning from her filming of Black Swan in 3D, and get her back in time for solo work. We made it with 20 minutes to spare.

Then I had to get 80 x 100 crown notes and 80 x 20 crown coins to give to the dancers staying  at the hostel so that they can pay the mini bus fare to the driver for the return to the airport. I then of course have to manage to see every dancer and give them their fare and at the same time explain to them exactly how to get the mini bus (just around the corner from the hostel), including a very badly drawn map I have made up.

The hostel is a hostel. It is not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, and I am very happy for dancers to arrange their own accommodation, I make no money from the hostel. But the good thing about it is the location, right in the heart of the Old Town of the city, and the fact that over 80 dancers are all under one roof looking out for, and after, each other in a foreign city. There is also internet access in the 24hr reception as well as free wifi throughout the building. The dancers seem to overlook the hostel aspect of the place.

After class Daria and Julio with solo work. Daria is coaching Tchaikovsky pas solo and Cindrella (as she is doing the opening night of Cinderella at the Coliseum in London next week) and Julio is working on Giselle and Diane & Acteon.  

After lunch Contemporary with Mark Baldwin in studio 2 and Pas de Deux with Tamara Rojo and Julio Bocca in studio 1. Wednesdays interview was with Tamara Rojo. They asked some great questions about her plans as a Director in the future etc and then we showed them some private film of her dancing. It was a packed house and didn’t finish until 19.30 having started at 17.30. She is very popular and of course a big star, but to us of course just an old friend, sometimes you forget how famous they are.

Thursday sees me arrive at 07.30 at the office to sort out some dancer arrangements for the one or two staying an extra night after we finish. The dancers start arriving from 08.00, a lot of them are used to class at schools that are normally at about 08.00. But ours are at 10.00 like a normal professional company. It is very warm today even though a little overcast.

Todays class is with Tamara Rojo in Studio 1, Vaclav Janecek in Studio 2 and Christopher Hampson in Studio 3. After class the solo work with Daria Klimentova and Julio Bocca. Julio nearly had to leave early today as there is some music problem in Uraguay where he has just taken over as Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Uraguay (75 years old this year). They open with Giselle in two weeks so I am amazed he has honoured his promise to coach with us this year. He is such a nice man, always always a pleasure to spend time with him. He fell asleep having a massage before solo today, and went into the studio with red towel marks etched into his face, very funny, he was very embarrassed. We all love Julio and are looking forward to our barbecue with him on Friday night. lunch

This afternoon is the last class for Mark Baldwin. He has to shoot off immediately after Contemporary class to catch a plane to Istanbul and then onto Korea where he is judging a competition tomorrow. Another lovely man with real heart, Rambert are lucky to have him as Director.  

In the Lower studio of course is Julio Bocca and Tamara Rojo working on Don Q pas de deux. Finally tonight I shall be interviewing Julio Bocca and showing some private film of his dancing.

Tuesday 3rd

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

It has been a very strange day so far. This morning started ok apart from the rain and the very close atmosphere at the same time. Same teachers for class today as yesterday, Barbora Kohoutkova, Christopher Hampson and Vaclav Janecek, followed by boys solo with Julio Bocca (Giselle) and girls solo with Babora Kohoutkova (covering for Daria) and after lunch pas de deux with Julio Bocca and Tamara Rojo or contemporary with Mark Baldwin.

I had a package delivered this morning and assumed it must be one of the girls contact lenses (she broke one earlier in the course), so I went to find her. Nobody had seen her. I checked with her room mates but they had both stayed at another girls apartment last night and had not been to their room at all, so had not seen her. This is not unusual, we are a very intensive course and hard work, and no one minds if a dancer decides to have one lie in, but I thought I had better go and see if she is OK. I found her about to leave the hostel to find a pharmacy, she had been sick all night (dodgy food somewhere) and looked ok but worn out. I took her to a chemist and got her some re-hydration tablets and translated the instructions for her (thank god for apps on the iphone) and sent her back to the hostel. At least now she has given me her current mobile number, instead of the one she had given me (which did not work). However much I ask them they still don’t all let me have their current mobile numbers. This of course makes my job a bit more difficult in an emergency. I also bumped into three girls who explained that they had locked themselves out of their room last night and couldn’t get in to it until after 10.30. Which didn’t really explain why they were not at the studios this afternoon after having done class this morning, but it seemed to make them feel better for skivving off for having told me. I don’t mind at all. As I said we are a very hard course, by today in the second week it is starting to wear them out a little, and some of them need the break both physically and mentally for an afternoon. There is no better City anywhere in the world to refresh yourself with a little time out.

Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Spent the day at the airport on Sunday as usual, we had 14 leave and 14 arrive. Of course as the day wore on the flights got later and later. The easyjet from Amsterdam had not even taken off at the time it was supposed to arrive, still at least it is only a 75 minute flight. Mark Baldwin arrived on good time as did Julio Bocca and Tamara Rojo. All three were on very good form and seemed very happy to be here with us again, we love having them and really appreciate their support in this non-profit course we struggle to put on every year. They give up their time for very just expenses really and I think that is what makes this course so different to any other, the desire of the teachers to help the next generation. Julio Bocca is in the middle of setting up the restoration of the Uraguayan National Company (which is actually 75 years old this year), they have 55 dancers from around the world now and he hopes to put on both Giselle and Swan Lake this year. Of course this takes an enormous effort and endless rounds of Government meetings and sponsor meetings etc etc, we are really honoured he has taken the time out to be with us.

08.30 Monday I picked up the new dancers from the hostel and gave them the low down on how to get in to the changing rooms etc, and of course how our classes work. It always looks very complicated to the uninitiated but is in fact very simple.

Class today is given by Christopher Hampson in studio 1 (Julio Bocca is taking that one as well), Vaclav Janecek in studio 2 (Tamara Rojo, Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov are taking that one) and Barbora Kohoutkova in studio 3 (Barbora was prima ballerina with Hamburg and Internaional Guest Artiste). Solos today will be taken by Julio Bocca for boys julio-bocca-boys-solo-2-1 and Daria Klimentova for girls daria-klimentova-girls-solo-work-1. This afternoon Julio Bocca and Tamara Rojo will be taking pas de deux (Don Q I believe)  and Mark Baldwin (Artistic Director Rambert Dance Co) will be taking contemporary.

So tonight sees me interview Christopher Hampson whilst Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov dash over to London to film Balck Swan for Sky TV. I go home on my own tonight. So early bed, if possible, I think. The phone will be on though. Another hot day today even with the stormy atmosphere around.

Saturday 31st

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

I’m not sure how many wild nights start at 6 and finish by 9 but a great time was had at the coaches dinner last night. Our daughter was also thoroughly entertained by Viktor Plotnikov (Larissa’s husband), they had a photograph battle for the evening.

I can’t believe the week has gone so fast, today is the last day for about 14 of the dancers, and another 14 arriving tomorrow to replace them. Larissa Ponomarenko will be replaced by Tamara Rojo and Tamas Solymosi by Julio Bocca. That’s a cast list change over to die for, any west end theatre would kill for that line up. Marc Ribaud (Artistic Director of Royal Swedish Ballet) is being replaced by Mark Baldwin (Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Co). Marc Ribaud has been fantastic to work with, when Daria guested with Royal Swedish for him and met him for the first time he was such a nice man that she took the first opportunity to invite him to give class in Prague. All our teachers and coaches are friends who we have met over the years and really like, this way the atmosphere at the Masterclasses is always very relaxed and friendly and we are all approachable.

This mornings classes are to be given by Vaclav Janeck in studio 3, Marc Ribaud in studio 2 and Christopher Hampson in studio 1. 10.00 – 11.30.

The end of boys solo saw huge applause for Tamas. I think they have really enjoyed their time with him, he is such a giving man and commands great respect from the boys. Larissa is about to finish downstairs so I have to go and get her to autograph for some photos we are going to give away tonight.

This afternoon is pas de deux with Tamas Solymosi and Daria Klimentová 

 or repertoire with Christopher Hampson . After this we interview Daria and do our big house clear out by giving away lots of old calendars and shoes and photos etc, plus Gaynor Minden give us lots of goodies to give away. We also show some of Daria’s gala from March, that went out on Czech TV apparently, and an old comedy tape.

Friday 30th

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I keep forgetting that this is a Czech keyboard, so my y’s become z’s and @’s become ě’s, it looks very strange. In again at 8 this morning to set out the barres for class and clear the TV from last nights interview of Tamas Solymosi by Christopher Hampson, and of course catch up with office work.

At 9 the dancers start to appear, I hear the constant glug glug as they fill their water bottles from the cooler outside the office. I wait for someone to complain that the cooler is empty and then replace the 18ltr bottle.

Daria’s mother makes leg warmers and trousers for dancers and sells them at English National Ballet, they are very popular and each one unique so you don’t lose them. This year she has made a load extra for the dancers here to buy, and my goodness they are popular.

Todays classes are to be given by Tamas Solymosi, Marc Ribaud and Christopher Hampson.

However much you warn them it seems that every year someone loses their wallet or identity card. This year is the turn of Chiara which suprises me as she has been twice before. This of course means that she will have to spend the day reporting it to the police in order to get a piece of paper with a  number on it for the insurance, and then the rest of the day at the Italian Embassy trying to get a new identity card. Luckily her boyfriend who was due to arrive today can bring her some money and possibly her passport.

Anyway here are some photos of the calm before the storm of class.

Well it’s been mayhem since I last posted at 10.30. The Italian boyfriend arrived at where he will be staying and called me (I rather rashly said that I would go and get him and bring him to the studios) so I went to get him, and at the same moment it was discovered that our ipod to sound system lead had gone missing so Daria had no sound for her rehearsal. Our nine year old daughter is in today so I left her in charge of the office while I ran for the boyfriend and to an electrical shop for a new lead (very tedious) so that the rehearsal could have sound. Whilst I was away my daughter had sold about ten pairs of the leg warmers that grandma makes, I don’t know where she gets the entreprenurial streak from, her mother and I never make any money.

Then Christopher hampson wanted to take his repertoire class using music from a DVD through his mac computer. So arranged that quickly, refilled the water bottle for the third time today (it’s very close outside, I hope it rains soon) then finally grabbed a cup of tea.

This afternoon sees pas de deux with Daria Klimentova and Tamas Solymosi or repertoire in the upper studio with Christopher Hampson. daria-klimentova-and-tamas-solymosi-02      christopher-hampson-repertoire-class-3

There is no interview tonight as Fridays are our day of taking the teachers out for dinner. This of course leaves the dancers a nice evening off to explore the magnificent city of Prague.