When I was first approached about giving Miss England a masterclass to help her back into dancing shape for the Miss World contest I was a little concerned! What if she couldn't dance at all? Had two left feet?
Further alarm bells started to sound as I discovered that not only did she want a ballet class, but also a piece creating for her to perform in the 'Talent' section of the Miss World competition, just 10 weeks away. How on earth was I meant to create a piece on someone I'd never met before, to be performed at a major competition in just 2 hours? And especially as there was not going to be time for me to rehearse her further?
I felt better after speaking to Charlotte on the phone. She was articulate, confident and passionate about dancing. She had done ballet from a young age but was completely up front about being very out of practice. She promised me she was stretching as we spoke in the car coming up from Cornwall!
I chose the theme tune from Downton Abbey to dance to, I felt we need something quintessentially British to represent England out in China. I was also familiar with the feel and flow of the music as our lovely Academy pianist Dave Plumpton plays it in class for me, and I have seen the kids being carried along to greater expanse and performance in response.
Charlotte turned out to be a deserving star. She had a great sense of humour and work ethic so we sweated and laughed a lot during our session together. Although decidedly rusty she did have grace and musicality and I hope I have created a piece to show her off to her best advantage. She knows she has to work hard to get her body back into practice but I have seen the determination in her lovely green eyes so wish her every success.
She sent me a lovely text afterwards, thanking me for working with her: 'I can't stress how much having you to choreograph this has helped me. I had a fab time and you are a wonderful lady. I shall do my best for you!!'
Never a dull moment at Northern Balllet!