Welcome to the Masterclass Blog 2013
Final Day, Saturday 3rd August
at Stoleti we drove back home at about 9 pm. An hour later we get a phone call from one of the girls to say one of the boys was feeling very unwell. They had just been to dinner and had all had something different to eat so it could be anything. I spoke to the boy who did sound disorientated and told the girls to get the hostel to once again call an ambulance, and to make sure they texted me which hospital they went to this time. I got out of the bath, got dressed and headed off. They then phoned to say that the hospital wouldn’t accept his provisional driving licence as ID and needed his passport. So I made a quick detour to the hostel where the owner let me into his room and I found his passport where they said it would be and continued onto the hospital, same one as the other night as it turns out. Once there the head intern treated me like an old friend as if to say “Oh, they’re with you, that explains it, it’ll be fine”. I gave them the passport and was shocked to discover that he didn’t have an EHIC card, only some insurance from his bank. Now if you are anywhere from the EEC please make sure you have an “European Health Insurance Card”. They are free for all citizens of the EEC and make travelling around Europe very re-assuring as all EEC countries accept it as medical insurance proof. So if you or your family are from Europe and do not yet have one, please go online an fill out the form and get one NOW. One for each member of your family, they last five years at a time and as I said are FREE. Luckily they accepted that his passport made him British, and his likelihood of having insurance, as I was there with him. DO IT NOW!!!
They did all the toxicology tests that all came back negative so they sent for a neurologist. She came along and did a series of tests on him and got him to sit up and stand up etc. He was starting to feel a bit better and not so dizzy, so we decided to take him home and keep an eye on him and take him back straight away if he felt bad again. It was now 1am. The girls guided him to my car after he had been given the two hospital reports and had the drip removed, and we drove back to the hostel. He was quite relieved to get there as their offer of a night in the hospital did not excite him. He had not had any alcohol but did say that the water at the restaurant tasted odd but he didn’t think about it at the time. He will rest this morning and wander in after class. Another girl also missed the day yesterday having not been feeling well. She got some medicine from the chemist and stayed at the hostel all day. Very sensible. She has been texting me with updates.
So I thought at 2am when I finally got home that I can sneak in about four and half hours sleep, as we have a big day today. Well my daughter sadly had other ideas. He earache was keeping her awake and so came into to me to fix it for her. I gave her some more ear drops and a paracetamol tablet and she settled down to sleep next to me. Well here I am four hours later at the office, having cleaned the studios and toilets, sitting down to a deserved cup of tea whie I catch you up. If you have enjoyed the blog please email me at email@example.com as I am never sure how many of you read this, apart from the Crystal Palace branch of the family.
Class today will be with Daria Klimentova in Studio 1, Igor Kolb in Studio 2 and Jiri Horak in studio 3. The girls have just come in and said that the boy is feeling much better and I have also had a text from the girl who didn’t feel well yesterday to say she will be coming in later and is also feeling much better.
The boy has just come in looking fine and very sweetly bought me a Starbucks English Breakfast tea with Sorry written on it, I wondered why he was asking me what I drank last night (I don’t drink). Here are some class pics and a video of Daria torturing her lot.
Next today of course we have the girls solo with Daria Klimentová and the boys solo with Vadim Muntagirov, I am sure there will be long photo op sessions after those two solo classes. I have just managed to carry all the tables down from the roof in readiness for the party tonight, and once class is over I can get into studio 3 to start setting up for it. This year I shall have to get two of the boys to give me a hand as barmen, as my usual bar partner, Christopher Hampson, cannot be here.
I have just heard from Cookie who was in photographing the dancers last week, if you copy and paste this link you can go to his and Amber’s webite (Amber is a dancer with ENB) and look through and even buy some images.
I also have a link for another photographer who has put up a gallery, for just 30 days, where you can look at her stuff and ask her for high res versions, she wanted us to charge to make some money as a way of sponsoring us, but we don’t want that, so you should get them for free from her if you ask. Here is her link.
and some video
This afternoon we have the final pas de deux class with Igor Kolb and Barbora Kohoutkova in Studio 1 and Contemporary with Jan Kodet in Studio 2. It is another baking hot day today at 36c, more in the sun of course. I have just been out for lunch by the river looking at the castle and Charles Bridge. It is a beautiful city. There is a water truck driving around spraying all the roads and tramlines with water and of course catching the odd cyclist by suprise, not ungratefully in this heat. So off to do my rounds for photos for the last time.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting us and what we do. We are a non-profit course with all money raised going towards scholarships. The hope is to inspire and advance the next generattion of dancers with amazing teachers/dancers, fabulous facilities, and in a beautiful city, the capitol of Bohemia. We love doing it every year and we know the young dancers are inspired and do appreciate it. This is not money wasted I assure you. This is forever memories. I shall make one last offering of photos from the party later. Right now I have a catering firm arriving with all the food for tonight that I have to deal with, and hopefully my daughter will turn up to be a waitress. Love from us.
Friday 2nd August
Between 8 and 9.30 every morning the sun burns through my office window, so much so that I can’t work as it is too hot to sit at the computer to do anything. So years ago I bought in my own sheet as a curtain and hung it up on the pole over the window to block it out, and I close it during that hour and a half. The fact that there isn’t one there normally suggests that no one, in the rest of the year (when this is a National Theatre Ballet Company office) does any work during those hours, or they would certainly have asked for a curtain. Anyway this is the penultimate day of the Masterclasses. I only have a few left to see to instruct on how to get back to the airport (the ones that have not read the notice board for a day or two) and I have bought in some bin bags as the cleaners again will not be in tomorrow, being a Saturday. Here is the walk again.
Class this morning will be with Daria Klimentová in Studio 1, with Igor Kolb in Studio 2 and with Jiri Horak in Studio 3. So hot again today. 33c they reckon later. Am in contact with the gallery people to see if I can get the proper galleries up and running again. Sabina has an ear ache, probably from swimming, so I will get some drops from the chemist (Lekarna) while class is on.
I have now arranged for UPS to pick up the Gaynor Minden boxes because they hadn’t, or they had but the communication went awry. One boy from South Africa has left one dance shoe back at the hostel this morning so is doing class in his socks, this is not uncommon I hasten to add. Shoes, leotards, most clothes actually, or parts of them, regularily go missing somehow!!!
We talked with Vadim last night for the dancers and he was very good. He had not done something like this before but was a natural. I asked him one question and then sat back while he ran with it for about ten minutes. They asked lots of questions and afterwards was a long photo session with each one wanting a picture taken with him individually. He is such a nice lad and didn’t mind how long he stood there and spoke with everyone for as long as they wanted. Very good. We then shot off for duck that Daria’s mother had made.
Class nearly over now and I am out of tea. A visit to Tesco is in order, it’s next to the chemist anyway. UPS have now picked up, that was quick. 30 minutes after I called Gaynor Minden’s Jeanne Share.
So having filled out a US visa form for someone and been up to Tesco for some tea and cotton wool and ear drops, my goodness it’s hot out there today, I am back to have lunch with Sabina in the canteen and take some solo pics and video.
Now this afternoon we have of course contemporary with Jan Kodet in studio 2, kylian studio, and pas de deux with Igor Kolb and Barbora Kohoutkova in Studio 1 downstairs. The building has gone very quiet suddenly and I have just realised that all the building work has finished. Of course it is Friday so they stopped at 2, and it is not until they stopped that I noticed how much noise they must have been making. Next year it should all be completed and hopefully the new studio will have been commisioned into use. It will be beautiful with new saunas and changing rooms etc, and a new medical facility as well. The National Theatre here have such lovely facilities and studios, we are very lucky and honoured to be allowed to use them each year and I know the young dancers like them.
Finally today here are some pics and video of pas de deux and comtemporary. The videos of pas de deux are firstly everyone running through the full Talisman together to remind themselves of the steps and the second one is the start of two couples at a time, the brave first lot as well. Tonight we have our teachers dinner at 6 back at Stoleti’s. See you all tomorrow for this year’s final blog day.
Thursday 1st August
Upgrade is relative in computer speak isn’t it. The gallery that this blog uses upgraded this morning, and now all the photos are in one long line, the picture slideshow on the side stopped working completely, and I also cannot find where to now upload the pictures. Don’t you just love advancement.
Anyway this morning class will be Vadim Muntagirov in Studio 1, Igor Kolb in Studio 2 and Jiri Horak in Studio 3. We
interviewed Igor last night for the dancers , and he was really nervous. He was not confident that his English was good enough to say what he wanted to say to the dancers, the advice he felt strongly about passing on to them. Here is a dancer who has been a principal at the Kirov from the age of 20, partnering Diana Vishneva, Zakharova, Pavlenko, Lopatkina etc etc and he really wanted to advise on life as a dancer. He was lovely and should not have worried. He made them laugh and think and his English is pretty good, just the odd word like “perception”does not come easily, unsuprisingly.
This gallery thing has mucked me up a bit, I am trying to add pictures for you but it is taking a long time now. The above are the ones I managed to take this morning. After class we have Daria Klimentová taking the girls solo class and Vadim Muntagirov upstairs in studio 2 with the boys.
Nothing eventful happened last night so we had time to have something to eat and catch up with emails and VAT etc, great night in. The girls disguised themselves as rubbish bags and scared Vadim when he went to throw some rubbish away, so much so that pizza ended up on Daria somehow.
Into solo work now. I took the opportunity to cut my hair and now I am about to dash out with Sabina for lunch at a nearby cafe. Here are some photos of solo. Lunch at the canteen today was chicken or pork or salad or sandwiches. Last day for the canteen tomorrow, I will have to remind them on Friday evening to bring food for Saturday. This afternoon one group are in with Jan Kodet for contemporary class in the Kylian Studio and the other group downstairs for the pas de deux with Barbora Kohoutkova and Igor Kolb. I shall try to get around the studios to take some more pics this afternoon.
Tonight I interview Vadim Muntagirov for the dancers and we are going to try to show some stuff off youtube on my laptop through the TV. Have a good night and thank you for listening as they used to sign off on the wireless.
Wednesday 31st July
Well that was an eventful night. We interviewed Christopher Hampson for the dancers and they asked lots of questions like “What do you look for in a dancer when you are auditioning for dancers?”, very sensible question, and we finally got home to our daughter and nipped out for a take away, let the cat out and relax, when we get a phone call that one of the girls has bad stomach pains and they don’t know what is best to do. So I said ask the reception at the hostel to call an ambulance straight away and I am on my way in, if I miss the ambulance make sure they get the address of the hospital they take her to. So I dashed in and got there in time just before the ambulance was about to leave and spoke to the driver and hostel manager (Amur is a good friend at the hostel) and they gave me the full address for the childrens hospital that they were going to take her to, as she is just under 18 they have to take her to a childrens hospital. Another girl got in the ambulance to travel with her and I followed with another four worried dancers and flatmates in my friends Mondeo estate. We got to the hospital in about 15 minutes, managed to park and went up to the ambulance bay. The girl was already inside with her friend on a trolley (just her not her friend) and fluid drip. They would only let two of us in with her so the other dancers waited outside in the still warm night. She had her passport and EHIC health card with her and her friend was filling out the form for her. By now she was feeling quite a bit better but weak and had had blood pressure and temperature taken. They told us that a doctor would come along as soon as they could and took a urine sample to be tested straight away. The hospital was very nice I hasten to add. Looked all brand new, spotlessly clean, sticky floor mats at all entrances to barrier against bacteria, security guards who were pleasant and an intern who spoke reasonable English. The doctor turned up within 15 minutes and spoke perfect English and examined her. She said she didn’t think it was appendicitis, and the pain had now gone, she thought that it could either be urinary (due to lack of fluids etc) or food related. But there was no vomitting so less likely to be food. She prescribed some pro biotics that I went and got from the upstairs pharmacy, and told her to not work the next day, to put cold compresses on her stomach over night and drink only herbal tea or water, to eat no dairy products, meats or fats the next two days and to come back the next morning after 8am to have another test as her urine was borderline ok/not ok. It has been extremely hot here, and the dancers have been working so hard and it is sometimes easy to forget to drink more. They get through a lot of water at the studios and it is free, just got to push them to drink more.
Anyway, now of course I had a full car, plus two, to get back to the hostel. So two of the girls volunteered to get in the boot (it is an estate car and if they faced backwards it looked as if they were supposed to be sitting there), the patient in the front seat and three others in the back seat. And off we set, back to the hostel, through some magnificent scenery and pass the castle. The girl went upstairs to get some things and then came back down to come and stay the night with Daria and myself at our house in Prague 9, so that she could get a taxi with Daria back to the hospital this morning for the next test. A taxi is booked.
Meanwhile whilst all this was going on, back at our house Vadim had somehow managed to lock himself in his room (there are no locks on the doors in our house) with the cat, whom he is allergic to. Sabina managed to get the cat out of the bedroom window through the decorative security grills, and her friend phoned her dad to come and break him out. Which he duly did. Such an exciting life we lead.
This morning we have Vadim Muntagirov giving general class in Studio 1, Igor Kolb in Studio 2 and Jiri Horak with the intensive class in Studio 3. There is a queue for ice today during class, it is that time of the course when things are feeling a little sore after so much excertion these past two weeks. After a short break Daria Klimentova will be taking the girls solo class downstairs in Studio 1 and Vadim Muntagirov will be with the boys in Studio 2.
Daria only just made it in time for solo, the hospital took longer than she thought it would and the taxi she had on stand by rushed her over as soon as it could. I have now booked Stoleti for Fraday’s teachers dinner and bought some more batteries for the camera. Lunch today is pork or pasta, with rice, potato, carrots or salad. Our Japanese dancer in the boys class, a professional dancer in Olomouc, has just landed over stretched, and damaged his miniscus by the looks of it. The boys carried him down to the Physio room where Jiri Cumperlik PhDr, our medical expert, has decided to take him in an ambulance to be X-rayed at the local hospital to find out exactly what he has done. One of the other older boys and another regular, Frank, has gone with him to look after anything he may need. We are having quite a couple of days of it. With Daria’s eye, a girls’ dehydration and now an injury we have been to three different hospitals I’ve never been to before.
Here is some video of the solo work today.
This afternoon Jan Kodet joins us to take over from Christopher Hampson. Jan gives a wonderfully popular contemporary class that is full of fun. They will love it, and pas de deux will continue in Studio 1 with Igor Kolb and Barbora Kohoutkova.
Tonight I shall be talking to Igor Kolb for the dancers and Vadim has said he will translate from Russian if there are any things that Igor does not understand in English. I hope that after that I will get an early night after todays efforts, but I doubt Sabina will let me be so lucky. Good night for now.
Tuesday 30th July
The storm finally materialised last night at about 8. In 2 minutes it had refilled the swimming pool and flooded the car park and then disappeared again. The lightning and some light rain went on for an hour or two after that. It is this morning down to a chilly 22c and will get to about 26c (80F) today, sunny with some light rain. Back to 30c (88F) from Thursday however. Today is the first day of the Masterclasses each year that is slightly more calm for me. All the dancers should have arrived and all the teachers settled in. Everyone by now knows where to go and what to do. For general class this morning we have Vaclav Janecek in Studio 3, Christopher Hampson in Studio 2 and Vadim Muntagirov in Studio 1. Daria has a flare up of iritis this morning and will have to go to the eye doctor soon, the problem is she has to teach solo and be interviewed for television as well. You can’t put off these things though or they become a real problem. The corridor between the studio 1 and the canteen got a little flooded in the downpour last night, with the whitewash coming off the walls onto the floor as well. Workmen and cleaners down there right now trying to mop up and limit the footprints spreading. Studios and canteen all fine though. Into solo now. Lunch today is chicken nuggets or fish in white sauce with cauliflower cheese, potato or salad.
In the middle of girls solo one girl from the UK had her shoes delivered from Gaynor Mindens outlet in Brno. She looked relieved that they finally got here so she can work on pointe at last. Her other pointe shoes were hurting too much as I think she has out grown them. Here are some solo and general pics. This afternoon we will have Igor Kolb from the Kirov coaching pas de deux with Barbora Kohoutkova in Studio 1 and Christopher Hampson, Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, teaching rep in Studio 2. I shall try to get Daria off to the hospital to get some prescription eye drops for her Iritis recurrence.
Daria went off with Czech TV to see a doctor that our medical man Jiri Cumperlik has arranged. Pas de deux has now started downstairs and Christopher is teaching the dancers to chase insects as Matthew Bournes sylphs from his Highland Fling ballet, great fun.
And here a couple of pics Daria has managed to order some drops she needs from a chemist here now that she has the presciption. The pianist today in pas de deux does not seem to have the same notes as the pianist yesterday, so after a little panic I have printed some more copies. Tonight I interview Christopher Hampson for the dancers in Studio 2, and we are going to try to show some clips of Scottish ballet via youtube.
Monday 29th July
Stormy last night which cleared the air a little. However it is still a little sticky and going to be 30c today even if dull and rainy. Yesterday all the new arrivals arrived reasonably on time (only an hour late from the UK) and all seemed very happy to be here. Everyone seemed to know everyone actually, which is an advantage. I did think I had lost Igor Kolb from the Kirov for a while, but then realised I had written down his leaving time and not arrival time, silly me. I have not met Igor before but Daria has appeared in countless galas with him on the same bill and always said how nice he was. Well he is lovely. He arrived with his wife and eleven year old son and just loved the place straight away as soon as we got to the studios and his apartment. He spent a while soaking in the atmosphere of the studios and then headed out for a stroll with the family. he has asked if he can take Christopher Hampsons class today, of course he can, and it will be very special for the dancers to watch him take a class next to them all. He will give class himself from Wednesday. Daria is going to take Vadim’s class this morning so the dancers will be surrounded by stars having class with them.
It is now ten to eight, I have been here from seven setting up everything for this week, and in twenty minutes I shall head to the hostel to meet the new arrivals and walk them back to the studios. One from San Francisco, one from Ireland, one from Latvia, one from Sweden, one from Israel, two from Greece and two from the UK. The rest are here for the two weeks, 90%. Three of the new arrivals have been before. We have many repeat offenders at the Masterclasses here in Prague every year, and we are very proud of that. It shows we must be doing something right. Christopher Hampson of course arrived back form Scotland last night. Apparently all the preparations for the Edinburgh Festival are going very well, however he has had to draft in Jan-Erik Wikstrom for a Macmillan piece due to an injury to his own dancer from that role. That was all worked out here last week. Jan-Erik is a rock.
They all seem settled in now. Understanding our schedule and system does take a little concentration but once its in the head they are fine. Here is the warm up for today. General class today is with Vaclav Janecek in Studio 3, Christopher Hampson in Studio 2 and Vadim Muntagirov in Studio 1. Daria taking class with Vadim is making the younger ones a little nervous, but excited. here are some pics. After class today the solo work begins. Vadim Muntagirov will be giving the boys solo in Studio 2 and Daria Klimentová with the girls in Studio 1. Here are some video of solo and some pics.
This aftrenoon is Igor Kolb and Barbora Kohoutkova teaching the Talisman pas de deux in Studioand Christopher Hampson teaching Matthew Bournes Highland Fling. Little panic just now when we realised that Igor had not sent us one page of the music for Talisman by email. However he had it on a stick in the end so all good. He and Barbora spent half an hour in the little studio along with Sergei (our Russian Conductor) working out the finer points of the pas de deux, including tempo, as they have never danced together before. Jeanne Share of Gaynor Minden is packing up ready to head off back to Holland. So here are some pics of Christopher Hampson’s rep class. and some of the pas de deux. and finally today a little snippet of pas de deux film as we have no talk tonight. See you tomorrow.
Saturday 27th July
Another hot day, and no storm materialised last night unfortunately so still sticky. Left my daughter at home to swim today. Last nights teachers meal was a lot of fun , and 15 of us, including the children, had a very good meal with wine and dessert for less than 20 pounds a head. Darceys husband was telling some funny stories from meeting royalty etc and Maggies husband told a lovely story about meeting the German and Irish Presidents and mistaken identity. After dinner Sabina and I went to the airport to meet Daria, back from her opening night of Raymonda at the Coliseum in London (very good crits). Sadly on Saturdays there are no cleaners in the building so muggins here has to wander around all the studios and corridors and changing rooms before they all arrive and clean up. My goodness dancers are messy aren’t they. They also get through 4 x 18 litre bottles of water each day from here and of course a lot have there own water as well, those bottles seem to get heavier every year.
Todays general class is Marie Lindqvist in Studio 1, Jiri Horak in Studio 2 and Keith Mackintosh in Studio 3. A little bit of mayhem now as Czech TV appear to film Daria and Darcey, someone wants to interview Daria and we are trying to organise Darceys family to go swimming all at the same time. I’ll get back to you.
Sorry about my fingers in the video. The canteen is closed today so we all have to fend for ourselves. I am feeling very hungry. This afternoon I have to get another boy from the airport, arriving from the States via Paris, and then dash back in time to interview Daria for the dancers this evening at 17.30. Jan-Erik Wikstrom amd Marie Lindqvist will be giving their last pas de deux class at 15.00 till 17.00, they have been hugely popular, and Maggie Donlon will be taking the contempoary class in studio 2. She has won them all over with her fantastic personality. Our dancers are always very very classically orientated and are slightly more cautious about modern and contemporary dance. This is not suprising as we are a very classical course with huge classical ballet stars coaching intensively for two weeks. But it is very important to work with the modern and contempoary teachers, especially the ones at the top of their game like Maggie as they will certainly have to dance pieces like this in any company they may get a job in. Also the process of working with an Artistic Director creating something on you must be a truly worthwhile experience for them and a rare opportunity.
Darcey has been surrounded by dancers having their photo taken with her as she has now done her final solo class for 2013.
and here is a last short video of her.
Now we have to get some good pics of this afternoons sessions if possible.
Turns out it was not possible. the boy arriving from San Francisco via Paris was one hour thirty five minutes delayed. I made it back just in timeto interview Daria and give out prizes from Darcey and Jan-Erik and now off home before the return to the airport at 23.00 for another arrival. No rest for the wicked as they say. I will try to post some pics tomorrow at a quiet moment in between the new arrivals of dancers and teachers. So hot here now.
Friday 26th July
Good morning, another lovely day here in Prague, although I believe storms are expected today before the sun returns on Saturday. Sunday is going to be very hot so I have put up directions for a local outdoor swimming pool which is CZK90 for the day (about three pounds) at a place called Podoli. You can look it up in google. This morning my daughter and her friend have come in with me as we are all going for dinner tonight. Darcey and her husband and two girls, Maggie and her husband and daughter, Jan-Erik and Marie, Keith and Arnaud our photographer friend. I have booked Stoleti’s, one of our favourite restaurants anywhere, which is just around the corner. Arnaud, who everyone knows as Cookie, is also Carlo Acostas’ production lighting man and in the photo of him he is planning the lighting rig for the Coliseum in London next week. we are quite a busy arty lot you see. Todays general class is Marie Lindqvist in Studio 1, Jiri Horak in Studio 2 and Keith Mackintosh giving the intensive class in Studio 3.
Maggie Donlon got a massage from Jiri our physio this morning and has come out with instructions as to how to hold herself now as an older dancer. She was both miffed and impressed, especially as it worked. I had to shoot off to return the hire car as mine has now been mended, the wheel fell off when the shock absorber snapped last week outside our house, and just as I was getting in the car Darcey comes running over to say that the pianist can’t find the music for Elite Syncopations. So we had a bit of a panic search with the other pianists and finally we discovered that she had the music all along but only knew it as Stop Time Rag and not Elite, so when Darcey was talking to her about Elite she didn’t know what she meant. All happy now. Darcey has a massage booked at 2.30 and her husband at 3.00. Tonight I interview Darcey for the dancers before we all have dinner. All the children with Darcey and Maggie have taken the dads off to the zoo today, it is a great zoo here, lots to do and join in. Lunch today is Spaghetti with meatballs or chicken in some sauce, not sure what sauce I had the spaghetti. Jan-Erik as dedicated as ever is still in their 20 minutes after class finished. The same with Darcey yesterday, she went on till 2.15 doing just ” One Last Group”!!!
And here is another little video of todays solo work from Darcey
Jeanne Share from Gaynor Minden has now set up in Studio 3and has been very busy with curious dancers. Very tired today and tonight Daria arrives back very late. I will sign off for the day with another pic or two and then the interview with Darcey before dinner with all teachers and children at Stoleti. Good night and thank you for reading and supporting us.
Thursday 25th July
It must have rained heavily last night as it was damp all round, however I slept through it all, oblivious. It is humid today and they say it will be as hot as 40C over the weekend. Lots of workmen grinding and drilling at the studios this morning. They are building yet another huge dance studio, complete with saunas and jacuzzis and new changing rooms. But as you can imagine in this historic part of the city, (the studios were a monastery in the middle ages) they have to get in archeologists whenever they go down more than half a metre. So you get a lot of noise for a bit then lots of sitting around and quiet for longer bits. This does mean however that the fantastic studios that are the home of the company here will get even more amazing shortly, hopefully in time for next years’ Masterclasses.
Jeanne Share, the Gaynor Minden rep for Europe, just called and is coming in tomorrow to show all the dancers the Gaynor Minden shoes etc. She will be here till Tuesday. I think the shoes they do are very good, they are more expensive than the normal point shoe but they last three times as long and are more comfortable. Daria is too used to her Grishko to change but if they had been around 30 years ago, and available in communist eastern Europe, she may have used them. I make no claim for one shoe over another I hasten to add, everyone has their favourite maker and every dancer has their own way of preparing the shoe for performance. I also have Arnaud Stephenson arriving this morning, he is a dance photographer and Carlos Acostas’ production lighting man. He is also of course a close friend and has come over as a favour to take some decent photos of the dancers and teachers as I am dreadful at it. He gets to stay with Daria and myself and enjoy Prague, punishment enough I hear you say. Here are some photos of class and a video of Keith and Maries classes.
After class today we have solo work for the girls with Darcey Bussell in studio 1 and for the boys with Jan-Erik Wikstrom in Studio 2. I shall try to get time to post more photos and videos of the solos a little later. Darcey has just arrived for the day with her family, Angus Phoebe and Zoe, who all arrived to join her last night. Now having showed them around the old studos, (this is a beautiful place and I hope the dancers realise how special it is to be allowed to be here in the National Theatre studios) she has snuck into Vaclav Janecek’s class to watch. She will then sneak downstairs to watch Marie Lindqvist’s. She seems to be really enjoying herself and I know she loves coaching.
This afternoon Margueritte Donlon will be with the group who did pas de deux yesterday and Jan-Erik Wikstrom and Marie Lindqvist will be with the group who were with Maggie yesterday. Tonight I shall be chatting to Maggie Donlon for the dancers in the Kylian studio, and we shall be showing some film of her work from her company in Germany, The Donlon Dance Company. Finally today here are some videos of this afternoon.
And I forgot to say that lunch today was chinese chicken and rice and salmon escalopes with veg. Good night.
Wednesday 24th July
Drive in today was quite clear. Took Sabina for Sushi last night, her favourite, and managed to find lots of sticks for Darcey who wants to coach Stop Time Rag from Elite Syncopations by Kenneth Macmillan. Another dancer arrived by train last night, she is a coryphee dancer from Dresden ballet who always wanted to join us one summer and is now close enough to make it possible, and got to the hostel on her own by taxi at the third attempt. They sent three cars, two of which she couldn’t find in the place she thought they said, but thank goodness she got there in the end. I shall see her this morning. Christopher Hampson got a taxi back to Glasgow this morning to carry on getting the Edinburgh Festival together for his company Scottish Ballet, he gets back to us on Sunday. All the teachers went out for a bite to eat last night so I am sure I will hear the stories this morning. I forgot to say that on Sunday I was waiting with my sign at the airport and a man next to me with the sign saying “‘Charles Dance”, well lo and behold it was the actual Charles Dance who came through, he must be here making a movie, a very popular pastime in Prague.
If you look carefully you can see Darcey in the mirror watching Vaclav.
Now the panic of class is over the dancers are now into their seperate groups for the solo work. Jan-Erik with the boys and Darcey with the girls and Stop Time Rag today, great fun.
Darcey has asked to have a photo taken with the girls after class for her tweet page, sounds fun. After lunch today we have pas de deux with Jan-Erik and Marie in the lower studio and contemprary with Maggie Donlon in the Kylian studio. I wonder what they will make of Maggie. I am looking forward to it. For lunch in the canteen today was either pork steak or casserole chicken, with potatos and carrots, or salad or rice. Pudding was cake or fruit pie. I had the pork. very good, and no pudding you’ll be pleased to hear.
Here is the pic Darcey wanted.
Afternoon sessions underway now. Maggie Donlon has decided to create a new piece on the dancers for her Masterclass. this should be a good learning experience for them.
And pas de deux, again if you look carefully you can see Darcey watching. It’s lovely that all the teachers support each other so much.
Tonight I shall be interviewing Marie Lindqvist for the dancers and showing some video of her dancing. Oh and hello Sue and Martin.
Tuesday 23rd July
Another early start to the day. Daria had to leave home at 05.30 to get to the airport. She is performing in London this week (Raymonda at the Coliseum) so will be joining us again at the end of the week. I had to then get to the studios to check out the new DVD system so that tonight for Jan-Erik Wikstrom’s interview with Christopher Hampson we can show some film of his dancing. This is also Chris’s last day this week as he has to get back to the day job (Artistic Director Scottish Ballet) where he is putting on 20 new pieces at once for the Edinburgh Festival. Extremely ambitious and very exciting. We will see him again on Sunday for another couple of days.
Unfortunately a boy had his mobile phone stolen yesterday, this is the first time in eleven years we have had a theft from the studios, and I am very angry about it. Someone managed to enter the complex and the boys changing area while they were working and take the phone. We have had a word with security to go through their CCTV and see if they can spot who it was. In the meantime we have told all the dancers to not leave any valuables like phones and wallets in the changing rooms but to take them with them into the studios or give them to me in the office. I am already holding a few passports for people and am happy to do so. Such a shame when anything like that happens.
Anyway the dancers had a good evening mixing with all the teachers at the party, and will no doubt be feeling a little sore this morning after yesterdays exertions. Our daughter and her friend helped out again by serving all the food, passing all the trays of little snacks around all evening, the hand made sweets went down the best, as well as the little beef rolls. The Masterclasses are always a bit of a shock to dancers used to schools, we work as if a professional company preparing for a show. This years merchandise has gone done well. Grishko have made a Masterclass outfit for us, such good quality, and Daria’s mother has made a few of her famous leg warmers which are always very popular. This is as well as the usual T-Shirts. Oh and I nearly forgot, this year we have Daria’s biography for sale.
I had better get back to work now as the dancers are starting to arrive and there will be things to look after I am sure.
These are some dodgy videos of this mornings class for you. Terrible quality of course but it gives you an idea.
So now after a short break the first group of girls will work with Darcey Bussell for an hour and then the second group straight after, and the boys spend an hour and a half with Jan-Erik Wikstrom working of their solo and virtuosity.
So now I have to get to the main train station to meet Margueritte Donlon of the Donlon Dance Company in Staarsbrucken in Germany, along with her husband and young daughter, arriving from Berlin. I shall be back in time to set up the interviews. Margueritte is a very old friend of mine who used to dance in ENB in the 80′s before joining Berlin for the 90′s. She has a wonderful humour and compassion that oozes out of her work as a choreographer. Last year she was commosioned for a new piece for Rambert dance company which is how we managed to meet up again after 25 years.
So of course the train was an hour late, 45 minutes of which was spent 10 minutes outside the station waiting for a platform to be available. But they arrived safely and it is good to have Maggie with us. Her husband must be six foot five. Having got them into their apartment I had to set up the DVD again for Chris to chat with Jan-Erik and show some of his dancing and then dash off to the Police station with Thomas for his telephone theft reportimg. Now once Chris and Jan-Erik finish they dash off for dinner with Marie and Darcey and I go to pick up my daughter for some dinner ourselves. She is in the pool cooling off at the moment. See you all tomorrow.
Monday 22nd July
So far it has all gone smoothly over the week-end. Our daughter did a good job at the hostel helping the new arrivals and we did’n't lose anyone or any baggage at the airport, which is a first in the case of the baggage. We,ve never lost anyone I hasten to add. I was most dissappointed to discover that they have taken down the aeroplane in the arrivals hall since I was last here at Easter. They have also renamed the airport Vaclav Havel Airport in honour of the ex President. I will have to redo my meeting instructions missing out the hanging aeroplane though.
I am in at the studios now and about to go and get the dancers from the hostel. Here is a series of photos that is our view of the walk, from the studios to the hostel.
So speech done. Christopher Hampson and I explained how everything works with us and tried to get them not to push too hard for the first day or two. This is a two-week marathon and not a sprint. Daria met Darcey at the airport, she has been on holiday with her family in France and had to get up at 5am to get to the airport in time. She is a little tired as you can imagine.
Todays general class is with Christopher Hampson in the lower studio Keith Mackintosh from Cape Town Ballet in the upper Kylian studio and Jiri Horak, ex senior principal and now Ballet Master here in Prague, giving an intensive smaller class in the studio 3.
General class was followed by solo work. Darcey Bussell in the lower studio with the girls teaching Sleeping Beauty variation for the first two or three days and Jan-Erik Wikstrom from Royal Swedish Ballet coaching the boys in the upper Kylian studio. He was teaching the solo from Themes and Variations. In the meantime I had to shoot back to the airport to meet a dancer arriving from South Africa via Dubai. After lunch Christopher Hampson took over the upper studio to teach some rep with half the dancers and the other half joined Jan-Erik Wikstrom and Marie Lindqvist (also a senior Principal from Royal Swedish Ballet) for the pas de deux class.
Tonight there will be a welcome party in studio three for everyone. As you can imagine I am a little busy today so I will try to take lots of film and photos tomorrow for you all to look at.
THURSDAY 19TH JULY
Welcome to this years blog. Starting a little early this year as some arrivals are early. One from New Zealand, one from Jakarta and two from Scotland. My daughter is helping out this year for the first time so it was a good dry run to show her the ropes, such as the checking in process at the Hostel. Two more arriving tomorrow, one German and one American, so I will start the blog properly on Monday to let you all know how the arrivals went.