Over the last few weeks my days have been filled with preparations for something I am very honoured to be working towards and can’t believe it has arrived so quickly.
It was back in February when I got an email from an unforgettable teacher I had while training at The Hammond School, the wonderful Mrs Elliott. This delight of a women being someone who took me through my final years at the school,before transferring to the Royal Ballet School, and gave me so much joy in the studio as a student asked if I would return to the school for their 100 Year Anniversary performances to dance the lead role in Peter Wright’s ‘Giselle’.
Being a role I have not yet had the opportunity to dance I was very excited to confirm with my directer, Birgit Keil that it would be possible for me to travel to England in May and take part in the production. It was a little concerning that I would have to learn the whole ballet on top of the usual work schedule, as it would be something I would do in my free time, but seeing as I was informed early enough I was sure I would manage the work load.
Another issue would be finding a partner for me, but this was solved quickly. Mrs Elliott, or I should say Jane as I am no longer her student, had actually worked at Staatstheater Karlsruhe before I was a member, staging the ballet ‘La Fille Mal Gardee’ so she had had the change to meet the dancers and work with them before. She fondly remembered Flavio Salamanka, now Kammertänzer in the company, and suggested he joined me in the role of Albrecht, a character he has had much experience in.
Flavio being a lovely friend, beautiful dancer, and amazing partner was the perfect person to help me prepare for the role. We have spend many extra hours in the studio trying to perfect not only our pas de deux, but he has helped with all my solos and developing my character over the time. I have truly loved the rehearsals we have spent together. Learning the role has been one thing but he has also encouraged me to improve in many other ways as a dancer. I am very grateful and appreciate all his help.
The time having flown, we will be flying this weekend to Manchester to spend a few days in the school rehearsing and staging the production with everyone involved. With all this being so exciting for me, another cherry on top of the already scrumptious cake will be the chance to work with the legendary Sir Peter Wright as he will join us in the studio to put his original mark on the choreography. Both Flavio and I are thrilled he will make an appearance and give us all his details, tips and corrections to make the ballet as pure as possible.
I can’t wait to be back at the school, a place that holds so many great memories for me, even though it will be a very different place almost 10 years on. Getting to see teachers from my time there and have a chance to work with and hopefully befriend students who are stepping/dancing in my footsteps. I hope I can encourage and enthuse them, as I was once an eager student at the school with goals and dreams just like them.
The final rehearsals are finished here in Germany, all my pointe shoes are sewn (7 pairs are coming with me) and an exciting week is ahead, not to mention finishing it off with a bus load of family and friends coming to watch and a few nights at home before returning. A follow up post will be here soon to let you know how we got on. And if any of you are around Chester next week come and enjoy The Hammond School’s production of Giselle. I will see you there.