On the evening of Saturday 26th March, in the newly refurbished Summertown United Reformed Church Hall, we watched a rehearsal for Susie Crow’s next ‘Ballet in Small Spaces’ project: “Inside Out”. The rehearsal was preceded by a master class for the two dancers – Bethany Elliott and Diarmaid O’Meara.  With the new sprung floor this hall now looks and feels like a professional dance studio and it was an absolute privilege to be so ‘up close and personal’ with the two dancers as they worked through a typical professional barre class before they began the rehearsals for this ‘work in progress’.  One could tell from the comments  of those non-dancers who were watching, how surprised and impressed they were to witness the amount of strength and effort required to work through the barre exercises, and I hope others will follow the example of Susie and hold more master classes for dancers and non dancers to watch here.

In such an intimate space as the dance studio the dancers’ technique and artistry, both in class and rehearsal, are vulnerably revealed and these dancers fully met the challenge.  This is the point of Susie’s new piece – it is based on the work which goes on in the ballet studio and will be demonstrated in performance by solo, pas de deux and group work.  We watched the rehearsal for a solo from each of the dancers and a pas de deux.  We need to see the full work when performed at the North Wall in May, and at other venues prior to this, before further comment, but the opportunity of opening up rehearsals for ‘works in progress’ to dancers and the general public in this wonderful ‘studio’ space is one which I hope other choreographers will take up, and make this opportunity a regular event.

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