I did a ballet class with Pippa Duke today. It just filled me with joy! I don't know exactly what it is but she has this ability to make it feel like ballet is possible! Thats a big thing for me. Maybe its the way she explains things . She has such a beautiful essence that just shoots out from her every pore. She makes me work in a very different way that most ballet teachers just fail to help me find.
I wonder about her teachers and how they have influenced her teaching style and also how amazing must they have been to have turned out such a beautiful dancer because lets face it - bad training=bad dancer! I have learnt this the hard way. Its like being a child and putting your trust in your parents to not teach you bad habits. They play a big part in our development as dancers, although we will go through hundreds of teachers we cant go through hundreds of parents. (I <3 you MUM)
Pippa trained at the Royal Ballet School and danced in NDT so from that we know her experiences would have been to die for.
I was thinking today about how amazingly lucky I have been to have been taught by such amazing people. I have had teachers that have been in the Cunningham company taught by Merce himself. Teachers who were taught by or danced with Nijinsky, Markova. Such historic people but to them they were/are friends, mentors, colleagues.
Last week I was working on reception at The Place and this man came in asking to speak to the Veronica Lewis (director of LCDS) because he had been a student there back in 1977. Not that she would have been in her position then but he wanted to chat to her and share his experiences of the school back in the (g)olden days.
He spoke so vividly about being taught by Bob and seeing Viv about, I was in total awe of his memories. It was as if he was reliving his students days right in front of my very own eyes. Quite a 'moment'! He was overwhelmed by how much the building had grown. We talked for some time, well I listened.
Later that evening Mr. Kenneth Tharpe was leaving the building and I was sharing my experience that I had with this man. Subsequently he shared with me some of his memories of all the legends that he was taught by. Again I was in total admiration of how he spoke so fondly of his tutors. I cannot imagine being taught by the people he had been atught by. The pioneers of contemporary dance. Amazing.
It was a shame I then went on to kind of ruin the moment by being a bit of a tool. Two tourists came in asking 'to see dance' and I explained that there were no shows on tonight and kind of feeling unsure if in front of Mr. Tharpe I should be promoting other venues so acted like I thought no where else existed until he suggested a performance at the Roundhouse. (Whoops! I should have gone with my gut feeling and been helpful, harf!)
I then proceeded to look up on the net what was on at Sadlers Wells and other venues for them and as it turned out Northern Ballet Theatre were playing the following night so I began to tell them that (no joke my actual words) "Northern Ballet are playing at Sadlers Wells. They are a ballet company and they are from up North. In Manc.... no Lee... mmmm up north" until he kindly helped me out with 'They are from Leeds'.
MORTIFICATION, swallow me UP and well just keep me swallowed. I dont deserve to be regurgitated!! I got tongue tied by the pressure. He then left without me being able to pull out a few knowledgeable facts about dance in London. If only he had not left he could have stayed and listened to all the clever things I said after that....
Anyways, sorry went off on a tangent there. I wonder if some of my contemporaries will end up in History books. Who out of my friends or current teachers are making changes to the dance world as I speak and will end up in the timeline that sits within every LCDS prospectus???
Here are some of the artists/teachers i have worked with in some way who have made an amazing difference to me: Liam Meagher, Libby Seward, Sean Feldman, Pauline Brook, Manny Emslie, Sindy Monson, Lisi Perry, Janis Claxton, Anthony Missen, Victoria Fox, Pippa Duke, Jeannie Steele, Rick Nodine, Jovair Longo, Sonia Noonan, Angus Balbernie, Janet Smith, Adam Benjamin, Marc Brew, Natalie Ayton, Peter Royston..... ok maybe I will stop now but you get the picture. I am a whole mish mash of these people. My knowledge is one big patchwork quilt that continues to be sewn together by different threads that I accumulate as i go through my career.