An Artistic Life

29 09 2015

I’m inspired by reading Twyla Tharps blog to write in mine!

For ages I had been trying to get my work In Flagrante off shore then I realised that I had a super fulfilling artistic life here in NZ and that was more important.

I’m loving teaching my ballet classes (beginners adult ballet and intermediate level) to mainly women who are all fantastic interesting and keen.

Beginners ballet class at Tapac

Beginners ballet class at Tapac

I’m loving re creating 15 mins of my Giselle Act 2 for Tempo Dance Festival. We are part of a shared programme…small/no budget so rehearsing at Auckland Academy of Dance on Sundays. Nancy and Penny are giving us the space – brilliant. The young dancers are working well. i had thought we might do 25 mins and we were going well but the male dancers are few and far between in Auckland so cutting back made sense. I’m still really liking what I made 20 years ago…hopefully it will strike a chord and we will be motivated to try to re-create the whole hour long work next year?

Cast of 20 years ago featuring Kilda Northcott

Cast of 20 years ago featuring Kilda Northcott

And we are presenting In Flagrante again at Q’s Vault. The May season was fantastic so now a November season is planned. We are already selling tickets which is a good sign!For Web ends with a bang image

And an important post script is that I am now a grandmother…my darling daughter Morgan Le Fay Naomi Jane gave birth to Luna Le Fay Nellie Reilly 5 weeks ago. All well!


Dinner with Gillian Lynne and Dorothea Ashbridge – two gorgeous women

2 05 2014

This was a thrill to be with these two amazing Grande Dames of dance!!

This was a thrill to be with these two amazing Grande Dames of dance!!

 I can’t believe I never put this up ….. its now 2014…my only excuse is that I was so full on doing Tempo Festival at the time…

Jan 2008:

I had the enormous pleasure the other night of co-ordinating two Grand Dames of dance to get together in Auckland New Zealand, who hadn’t seen each other since 1951!!

Gillian Lynne (original choreographer of Cats and Phantom) and Dorothea Ashbridge (ballet teacher for Limbs dance co, teacher of Limbs dancers ) are both friends of mine and I knew they had been in the Royal Ballet Company together but I didn’t realize they hadn’t been in touch since 1951 – even though Gillian has been coming to NZ with her kiwi husband Peter Land for a number of years.

So I arranged for us all to have dinner together on the last night before Gilly and Peter had to go back to London.

We – Phil and Dorothea and I – went to Max Cryer’s place first out at Otahuhu (old friend of both Gilly and Doro) for a stiff gin. Then onto the One Tree Grill for dinner with Peter and Gilly.

Well – it was such a thrill.

Apart from the food being great – the company was extraordinary!

I sat there beaming.

Doro had some photos of them both which were taken when the Royal Ballet co first toured to New York in 1949!!!!.

That was the first tour by the Royal Ballet to NY. The tour when they performed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and Margot Fonteyn brought the house down with her exquisite performance!

They reminisced about how Margot loved a challenge and even though everyone in NY was waiting to see Moira Shearer who had just gained fame in “Red Shoes’ (and who had been cast as Bluebird because of it even though everyone knew it didn’t suit her)

Margot rose to the occasion and eclipsed Moira Shearer and cemented herself a star that night!

And Gilly and Doro were there – and now they’re telling me about it in Auckland, NZ circa 2008!

Both these women are such as inspiration to me.

As I ‘mature’ and struggle with the challenge of combining dance and the older body – these 2 women are so elegant and graceful and are in the 80’s!!!

I loved hearing them talk about Beryl Grey and other ballerinas of the ‘50’s and 60’s who were my idols as a kid studying ballet – here I was, the youngster in the room (usually I’m one of the oldest in dance gatherings in Ak), hearing them reminisce.

One of the photos Doro (dolly to her friends at the Royal) had was a gorgeous picture of a number of them posing elegantly in all their finery for the tour to NY.
Apparently, as it was just after the war and they had no decent clothes, the fashion world in London donated all these elegant clothes for the  ballet dancers to wear. With hats and gloves etc of course!

I should have taken a copy of this photo while it was there in front of me – but I did get Phil to take a photo of us three together!!

Back in NZ

20 10 2013

Actually very proud to be a New Zealand woman these days! Forget male sport……female arts are strong and flourishing with Lorde and Eleanor Catton leading the way – go girls!!

In the 3 weeks I’ve been back I’ve had an incredible time – being Honoured by Tempo dance Festival on Oct 11th!

A fabulous night - felt very honoured!!

A fabulous night – felt very honoured!!

Dancing my solo ‘Witch Bitch’ at the Tempo 10th Anniversary Gala on Oct 12th!

An interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio was cool – she asked intelligent questions!

Presented Marching Girls and Horses at a 50th birthday party last night Oct 19th – to huge appreciation from the partygoers! Would be keen to do more of those leading up to Xmas!! They had seen us perform these 2 items at the Gay Pride Gala earlier in the year and loved us so invited us to perform at her 50th!!

Maybe the dude from the Seychelles will get back to us  – that could be fun! He asked us to go there this week but we were overcommitted!

Now working on In Flagrante having further life  – back in the UK next year – London and Brighton in September or October 2014 hopefully, in the meantime Southland tour next March, some local performances in Auckland …not sure when and where yet!

Teaching my MojoCabaret class……if the numbers stay really small maybe it will evolve into a more technical contemporary ballet class……we’ll see  – would actually love to teach advanced technique classes somewhere!

What else?

its Labour Weekend next weekend so will go to Waihi Beach and chill out……


28 09 2013

Thur 19th Sept – – Phil and I went to our old stamping ground of Earls Court, Glocester Rd, Queensgate Terrace – where we first met in March 1970. It was amazing to revisit these places!

Fri 20th – we went to visit Rambert studios to watch rehearsal. Mark Baldwin is an old friend (we danced together in Limbs 1977 – 80) and he has been Director of Rambert for 10 years. I was chuffed because he introduced me as his first Cunningham Technique teacher, which is a good way to put me in perspective for the Rambert dancers!

Fridays are good because they are recapping on the whole weeks work – runthru’s of the works for the new triple bill. Comedy of Change (Mark’s piece) was cool and Barack Marshall ( a New York based Israeli and Yemeni choreographer) has created a new work The Casterways which is highly theatrical and very witty.

Fri nite – went to Old Street Station to meet with Benny Ord (dancer in Wayne MacGregors Random dance co) and Shanelle, (In Flagrante dancer) to have a Vietnamese meal – crowded, fun.

In London at a cool vietnamese restaurant

In London at a cool vietnamese restaurant

Sat 21st – went on the London Eye – wow…..

London Eye in background

London Eye in background

then met Gill Davis at her ballet studio – Anna Pavlova’s old mansion Ivy House!! We know Gill because her husband Producer Teg Davis – saw our show in Edinburgh – he loved it – and we have set up a potentially great connection now! Gill greeted us warmly and they kindly remained open at Ivy House so I could look around!!! Than we went to lunch and through the conversation we talked about the older dancer dancing…..the upshot being I offered to teach Gill my Witch Bitch solo!

Sat nite we went to all the way to Canongate Station to have a drink and a laugh with Maria (IF dancer) Danny and Tom (Sauce). Travelling back on the crowded late nite tube at 12:30am was a trip!!

Sun am met with Mark at the NEW Rambert studios – that he has been hugely active in raising the money and deciding the design – what a fantastic achievement!!

Here we are outside the new Rambert studios on South Bank, London

Here we are outside the new Rambert studios on South Bank, London

Then we went back to see Gill and I taught her Witch Bitch – she’s going to be great at it as she has absolutely the right skill set!

at her studio after i taught her Witch Bitch

at her studio after i taught her Witch Bitch

Sunday night Phil and I went to see a cabaret performer Miss Hope –  at the Crazy Coq cabaret venue in Piccadilly, to check it out as a possible venue for IF – the performer was a bit like a mild version Buffy and Bimbo actually, the venue was elegant but too small (no stage) so that was good to clarify.

Monday 23rd – we did an organised tour of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. OMG – I used to dance there as an extra when I was at the Royal Ballet School…….brought back memories from that time in 1970!.  Simon ( the dapper very professional tour guide) took us around – he was great. We were taken into the auditorium where they were rehearsing the lighting for the new production of Don Q, then we went backstage and through a viewing window were able to watch the soloists class for the dancers of the Royal Ballet – sweating it out  – they were up to class adage! Beautiful dancers!!

Mon afternoon we went to the Portrait Gallery – saw Bob Dylan’s drawings, a sculpture / self portrait of Marc Quinn

‘Every five years, the British artist makes a mold of his face, which he gradually fills with 10 pints of blood drawn from his veins. The finished sculptures are kept at freezing temperatures to stop them from liquefying.

“Self” (2006), the fourth and most recent, has just been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London — with cash from the Art Fund charity and other donors — for 300,000 pounds ($500,000). It’s on display at the gallery, in a Perspex box filled with silica and chilled to minus 18 degrees Celsius.’

Mon evening went to St Pancras Station to meet with friends Katie and Pearce – massive cast iron frame atrium –  refurbished – fantastic! Had pink champagne at the longest bar in the world as we watched the Paris train come in!

St Pancras Station

So much of London has been refurbished and rehabilitated since we were there in the early ’70’s – its a beautiful really liveable city now. Many no vehicles areas – come on Auckland – you can do it……….and love the transport system of course!

Sadly we leave now to head back to NZ – but really looking forward to seeing my family and friends, doing my Honouring, dancing my solo, all good!!

Vids to Guardian, studio hire, buttons on website…..

15 07 2013
from In Flagrante

Maria in the Cancan Punk

So we now have a studio booked in Edinburgh to do class and a bit of rehearsal when we get there – thanks Maria for organising that. I’ve just managed to upload our promo vid onto the Guardian / Edfringe page promo section – whew…..that took a while as I had to work out the format and size (had to edit our promo vid quite radically but think it still works). Update 18.7.13 – After all that have finally realised they want footage like for a news item – not anything edited as a promo vid  -so have sent the footage I recorded from the Gay Pride Gala Opening event at Q theatre – we did Marching Girls and the audience were hilarious – they got it, loved it and I love this footage because it shows a wonderful sense of community/communication between the audience and the dance! We’ve ordered a button ( an ad on the side of the page) on the edfringe website  -so have to go to the bank to organise payment as they don’t have Paypal – shame as paypal makes things so much easier! Update 18.7.13  – aaaagh – in the end just called them and paid by credit card over the phone, rather than pay that extra $25  – I’ve learnt its a challenge working with people who have a 12 hours time difference  – they are working while we are sleeping….so we’re not doing much sleeping/relaxing at the moment…. Have a dude checking our house alarm now – updating the battery etc….. I’m now heading up to K rd (Karangahape Rd) to find another cancan skirt – we’re leaving behind the huge denim skirt we made that Shanelle wears as its too heavy….our costs for extra baggage are huge already. Update 18.7.13 Got a skirt from an Indian clothes shop – turned it inside out and Phil got a NZ flag which we’ve ….er…re-arranged and sewn in bits onto the skirt… punk style…. I’m looking into getting an upgraded phone so can make better quality photos and video……. 10 more sleeps……. its all go…….

Oct/Nov 2012

11 12 2012

Its been nearly 4 months….and a lot has happened. Most of it exciting, fulfilling and successful.

Our Living Room Festival was brilliant (late Oct/early Nov) – the Aotea Square and its surrounds were brought to life in a unique way  – The BMX riders were scary and exciting but I was really pleased with the overall result – quirky wonderful performing arts outdoors and free…vid coming up which i will post…..would love to do it again now that I know what’s what!!


In Flagrante keeps on keeping on – its such a great show and is getting better and better – Tempo 13th oct was ok, glad to be there but not ideal set up. Hamilton mid Nov and the 3 south island centres late Nov were fab. Lots of people came – ( as usual couples mainly, 25 – 65 yr olds!) and it wasn’t what they were expecting but the feedback was excellent.

I also taught my MojoCabaret class through Oct/Nov – mixed results in the city – great participants but not very many – then had a workshop in Nelson with 30 people attending – fun!! Keeps me heartened to keep developing it as the participants had a great time which reassured me that the concept and the material is excellent!

Working now on getting 2013 gigs for IF and setting up 2013 class and workshops of MC…..

MojoCabaret class concept

2 08 2012
My class went well the other nite – had 9 people. I simplified the class right down (with Shanelle’s help) cos I realised what I’ve been doing is the Masterclass version which was too full on for complete beginners!
I’ve decided to book the Leys Gym Hall and teach from there from Sept!
I’m keen to develop this class as a sexy/friendly class for women of all ages to offer to private dance studios……early days