My Afternoon at English National Ballet

Hi everyone! Sorry it’s been a while- I’ve just moved into a new flat, and finished my first year at university- where did that time go?! That means that as well as my university classes, vocational ballet classes, teaching commitments and commitments to social media work, I’ve been packing, unpacking, commuting from my boyfriend’s parents’ where we were staying during the move, dealing with deadline upon deadline, and the dreaded week of practical assessments! I’ve had a lot on, and I’ve probably never been so stressed- in fact, I’ve been feeling really unwell and yesterday I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with stress and over-work. I’ve been recommended plenty of rest and downtime.

What that means here (aside from a warning from me to all of you to not ignore your body and to take adequate rest to begin with!) is that I have a whole load of things I’ve wanted to post about, but haven’t had time to, and now I also have a lot of free time on my hands! I’m going to start off by writing about my visit to English National Ballet with the Sadler’s Wells in April, which I’ve been wanting to post about for ages!


 

So, one afternoon in April I got a call from Sadler’s Wells asking me to host an interview for them on Facebook Live. If you don’t know, I work with Sadler’s Wells a lot through the Social Movers scheme which I am a part of (read about that here), but this was something a bit different, so I was excited to be asked. I agreed to do it, although I was nervous because I have never hosted an interview before.

A couple of days later, I went to visit the home of English National Ballet at Markova House in Kensington. To begin with, there were some issues as we needed permission from the Jerome Robbins foundation to film the piece that was being rehearsed. This did mean that I got to get a look at the costume department as we were looking for alternative places to film, which was really interesting! However, the permission came through and so we headed down to the rehearsal studio.

English National Ballet were rehearsing for the opening night of their mixed bill Voices of America- which was, incidentally, absolutely incredible and I will review in a separate post! The evening featured works by William Forsythe, Aszure Barton and Jerome Robbins. The piece we had come to see rehearsed at was The Cage, choreographed by Jerome Robbins. Leading the rehearsal was Diana White, former principal of New York City Ballet, who learned the ballet from Robbins himself- it was she I was there to interview, so you can understand my nerves!

Everyone at ENB was very accommodating- from the IT technician who set up a wifi booster in the studio for us to film live, to all of the staff who helped to bring it together, and all of the dancers. I tried to play it cool when Tamara Rojo came past to enter the rehearsal studio and smiled at me, even though inside I was seriously fangirling! After a while organising everything, and waiting for the right moment in the rehearsal, it was time to go live.

I nervously went through an introduction before we sneaked into the studio and took a seat to watch rehearsal. It was really amazing to watch- Diana was rehearsing the third cast, and going over all of the little details, down to the correct shape of the hand. I loved watching the couples working out all of the details in the pas de deux, how to make everything work smoothly. Everyone tells you that communication is key in pas de deux, and watching that process made me see why. The dancers of ENB are really incredible, which seems like stating the obvious, but it strikes you so much more when you see them up-close. Watching that rehearsal left me more inspired to work in classes than any performance I’ve watched, because it was so relatable seeing them in that context- I could compare directly and see myself working towards that level.

Then the rehearsal was over and it was time for the interview- Diana was so gracious, and hearing about her experiences working with Robbins, and her thoughts and feelings about this work, was such an amazing moment for me. I was standing there, listening to her speak, thinking “I can’t believe I’m here right now, doing this!”.

After the interview the next rehearsal was already starting, so we scooted on out and had time to take a couple of snaps outside the building before going home!

Processed with VSCO with f1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c2 preset

You can watch the live Facebook video with the rehearsal and my interview with Diana White on the Sadler’s Wells Facebook page right here! 

ENB PIC 4
8.7k views! This is just a screenshot- click link above for video!

I really loved visiting ENB and watching rehearsal, and I would absolutely love to do it again. The afternoon was so enjoyable and an incredible opportunity that left me so inspired. Thank you, Sadler’s Wells, and thank you ENB!

ENB PIC 5
It’s me on the English National Ballet Instagram page!

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