Thursday, July 29, 2010

My first proper ballet class in NL

Yesterday after work, I went for a trial ballet class in The Hague.

Since I arrived in NL, I had been looking for a ballet school to continue my lessons in, but no luck in Rotterdam. There was only one that had an okay website, but when I went to their annual concert to check them out, the quality of their ballerinas were simply abysmal. It wasn't the lack of choreography or skill of the dancers - it was the technique. You can tell when a dancer doesn't have the proper foundation, and that means that they haven't been taught well.

So I gave up on looking for ballet schools for a while, until Moeder Irma emailed me one day and asked if I'd like to join her summer classes. Summer school for ballet is more of a one-off thing, you can register at any school for just one class (or more). This is because many ballet schools close during the summer (school holidays), so the ones who remain open welcome other students for the timebeing.

Last Wednesday, I followed Moeder Irma to her class in Alkmaar, 30 minutes from Hoorn. Schrobbenmaster and I had to stay in Hoorn for the night because of that.

Well, the class was quite hard, especially when I hadn't been taking lessons for over a year and all my muscles and technique were already rusty. But it helped inspire me again to look for schools, and this time I spread my search outside of Rotterdam.

That's how I found Balletschool Mabel Alter.

It's located in The Hague, very close to the centre (therefore has really expensive parking) and in a secure and nice house/building overlooking a canal. From their website, I could tell that they were a professional school because of the information they provided, but mostly from the strict dress code they have. In ballet, basically, the stricter you are, the more professional you are :P

The class I was put into based on my experience was Intermediate and it was pretty scary when the teacher announced: "This class is Intermediate, so you should be able to listen to the steps once and then repeat immediately!". Oh gawd, I'm absolutely abysmal at choreography! But I survived, even with lots of mistakes.

I also received a: "Do you not have hairpins?" from the teacher, while she gave my spiky ponytail a light flick.

I can remember every single lecture/speech/announcement she gave in the class: "Did anyone watch the earlier class before you? No one? Tsk. You should be so obsessed about ballet that you want to see everything you can about it!"

And another one specifically directed at me: "Were you counting?" Um, no... "You should all count! You have to count! In Swan Lake, everyone is counting all the time! One! Two! Three! Four! Count after me!", after which I partly redeemed myself by answering correctly to the question: "At which count do you make your turn?"

I was, in the entire duration of the class, scared shitless of the teacher. But very inspired. It's the only way (at least I believe so) to really step your game up in such a strict and difficult discipline as ballet. So I decided to sign up for their new season in September. Very excited about it! I will be so ready for it. Hairpins and all.

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