Past a certain age, every dancer worries: “What if my body can’t take it any more?” Predictably the year starts with ankle pinching plies, a back that seems to have fallen into a cement mixer, and a stomach that has taken on the shape of a cement mixer. Yet to your surprise – like seeing a long abandoned rusting car splutter into life – the body’s muscle memory kicks in.
We’re kicking off the year with some hard ballets. It’s a test for bodies of all ages. Forget ‘Zumba’, this is the ultimate full body workout: for calves, the role of Colas in ‘La Fille’; for thighs, try the Red Knight in ‘Checkmate’; for cardio, dance ‘Symphonic Variations’; for post workout sauna, try dancing in The Beast costume from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for 2 hrs, (the first time Bob Parker performed the role – before a more breathable fabric replacement was made – he lost 3kg in sweat. After a season of ten shows it was feared, at the going rate, he may end up weighing the same as a tub of margarine!)
Yes, this season should be dubbed The Tour de Ballet. It’s little wonder that our physiotherapy team have been busier than the turntables at the Rugby World Cup (go the All Blacks!). And little wonder that in our first performance – in the open air at Birmingham’s Centenary Square as part of its ‘Arts fest’ – it was a case of last cast standing. So when the predicted (and predictable) heavy downpour came, making the outdoor stage un-safe, I think I was the only dancer secretly disappointed. There again I wasn’t dancing. This year I was playing co-host of ‘Arts fest’ with Lei Zhao. After weeks of preparation, script re-writing, and nervous tongue-tied rehearsals…it rained. Oh well, maybe next year.
In summation, it’s been an inauspicious start to the season – injuries and a washout. But rest assured, when the season does get out of the blocks, you’ll be in for an eclectic mix of physically exhausting ballets; harder than complete box -set of ‘Zumba’ workouts (“guaranteed or your money back”).
P.S. After a tiring day shopping in fashionable Chelsea (or tagging along side one’s wife), one can get pretty famished from the guilt of having over spent on every purchase (mindful that ‘TX Maxx’ will probably have the same item for half the price…but it doesn’t come with a nice bag). A known cure for over spending guilt is a reasonably priced Michelin quality lunch. For this pleasure I’d recommend you try: Manicomio deli/café, on 83 Duke of York Square, Chelsea, London. Good nosh for the guilty shopper.
P.P.S Well-done on the new website Bruce! (Brownie point tally = 1).