On a Wednesday evening I normally go to the University of Huddersfield for a mixed ability ballet class (see "Team Hud Adult Ballet Class" 22 Jan 2014) but late this afternoon I was told that ballet had been cancelled owing to "mixups at gym", A bombshell that was sugared with three kisses (xxx). Not long ago I would not have minded missing class in the least but now I do. I love my classes and I don't know how I ever managed to get through the first 63 years of my existence without them.
I was desolate but then I had a brainwave. Way back in the recesses of my memory I remembered that I had googled "adult" + "ballet" + "Huddersfield" in February when I was told that the class at Team Hud was fully booked. I found an adult ballet class at Lockwood and was invited to join it. Fortunately, I was allowed back into Team Hud the next week and I have hardly missed a class since then. I trawled my email until I found the invitation and saw that there was an adult ballet class on Wednesdays. I googled "Tristan" + "Dance" + "Studios" again this evening and found this website. I checked the Huddersfield timetable and found there was a class tonight.
Tristan Dance Studio is not an easy place to find. Its postal address in Lockwood but I would have placed it in Beaumont Park or even Netherton. Google maps traced a tortuous route down narrow country lanes and the signage was so indistinct that I drove past it twice. When I did spot the sign I found that the studios were located in a former mill. Barring my way was a heavy steel gate but nobody in the gatehouse. I got out of my car and found a control panel on which the words Tristan Dance appeared. I pressed the button. Someone picked up the phone but did not speak, The gates opened and in I drove,
The mill consists of several buildings each with several tenants and it took me some time the studio. It was at the top of a flight of rickety stairs. I scrambled to the top and found a lady called Elaine who told me that she was also taking the beginners' class. Although the kindest things I can say about the studios was that they had seen better days and could have benefited from a lick of paint and a new floor they were quite light and airy. Some idea of the premises can be gleaned from the YouTube video above.
From our studio Elaine and I could see the advanced class through a glass partition. It was taken by a gentleman whom I now know to be Tristan Nigel Edgar. He had two students. We saw them practising développés. Later they donned black tutus to dance an adagio. We were taught by a lady whose name I cannot remember. Our class began with pliés in first, second and fifth, then tendus and glissés, then ronds de jambe and finally grands battements and cloches. Our instructor led us into the centre and showed us an adagio which involved chassés and pas de bourrée. Once she was satisfied that we had got that right she showed us a more complex adagio which required us to balance first in arabesque and then attitude. Next we attempted some pirouettes and I have to say that Elaine was a lot more successful than me. As Elaine told me that she had only just started ballet it is clear that out instructor must be good. She did not push us as hard as Fiona or Annemarie but she was nevertheless effective. She was very patient and encouraging and I liked her very much.
Looking through Tristan's website I see that it has had some significant successes. At least one of its recent pupils has made it to the Royal Ballet School. I will certainly come back to this studio now that I know where it is. Although I will stick to Fiona on Wednesdays I will come to Tristan's Friday night classes whenever I can. Classes at Tristan are £6 per hour which is the same as Hype but more than Team Hud and The Base.