Writing 101 – Size Matters

This challenge I found interesting, to describe where you lived at the age of twelve. Well I have started to write about this on the page St Trinians with a slash of Hogwarts
At the age of twelve my home was a boarding school, and I wanted to write about it because the experience effected me deeply. So this is the beginning of it….

I thought I would share with you my experience of secondary school because I think I’m safe to say that my adventure was different to most people. Just imagine a place that was a mixture of the fun and excitement of St Trinians, the mystery of Hogwarts, and the incarceration of prison, that was the place where I was sent. I say sent, I went willingly, but I think it was not ‘what it said on the tin’, or the picture that was sold to me. I went because I was told that I would have to give up my dancing when I go to secondary, bearing in mind I was dancing every single day, it was my life, so yes I would have done anything to continue. It sounded like heaven dancing, singing, music and drama all day and weekends, even better, all of this and with no parents. What more could a you want?

The process to get into the school was rigorous, even to get an interview at the school, photos, and letters needed to be completed before you set a toe on the grounds. The audition day was jam packed with, a singing, dancing, drama, and academic tests. There seemed to me that there was hundreds of hopefuls going for a place at this prestigious school, that I did not think there was a hope in hell that a young naive farmer girl like me would never be good enough for a place like this. The only thing that I thought had going for me was when the head teacher was interviewing me in front if a panel of five, and a room full of peers, worst than the x factor, was she asked what my father did for a living, I said a farmer, her eyes lit up. Maybe she thought oh this one will be alright because her dad owns land, he will be able to pay the fees.

And so that day came and went and we played the waiting game for the letter to arrive to give us the verdict, is she in or is she out? Well she was in and the excitement of this new adventure was just great at the time. I could boost to children of where I was going, which I relished in because up till now I had just been there in the background not really good at anything no one really noticing me, but oh they took noticed now, especially my dancing chums, because some of them had tried to get into a school like this and couldn’t or their parents could not afford the fees. I was in the local paper, which was not hard I suppose, because I would only have to sniff and mother put it in the newspapers. But all in all I was enjoying this new found celebrity statues. Just getting the uniform or should I say uniforms was an adventure in its self. The never ending list arrived for the paraphernalia we needed to have, there was five sets of different uniforms, daily wear, summer uniform, winter uniform, Sunday best uniform and dance uniform, all of this to be purchased from a huge department store in London. So with all this you can imagine my eagerness to get to this magical place was at fever pitch. Little did I know how quickly this would fizzle away.

First day had arrived and after travelling seven hours with large full red trunk in tow, we finally arrived and drove up the gravel driveway. The only way I can describe it is something out of ‘Sense and Sensibility’. Bearing in mind I was looking at this through the eyes of an eleven year old everything looked enormous, the building was majestic, an original Rothschild mansion. The main entrance was over towered by two stone pillars which looked like they were guarding the wooden doors and what was beyond. I was in ore and feeling apprehensive to even getting out of the car. There was what seemed like, hundreds of cars with little wide eyed faces peering out of their car windows, being guided were to park, I had arrived. Were to go now? Walking between the stone guards we went up the staircase and into the lobby area which was floor to ceiling covered in photos of people past, royalty, cups and certificates. Gave them my name and was pointed towards a door. When I walked through the door what I saw to me was just this mystical place, a grand stairway going up, doors, pillars, marble floor, and a huge glass window which the height of the hall looking into a room which was the first dance studio I saw, but this studio was no ordinary dance studio that I had seen before. It was panelled with oak, had gargoyles glaring down at you, two fire places that you could stand in, barres, mirrors, and a grand piano situated in the large bay windows. We were told to put my trunk in the ballet room, which was one of the doors off the hallway. Yet another studio, this one was decorated in pale blue, again had a fire place, barres, mirrors and another grand piano. The room was jammed with trunks all sizes and colours, in joined my red one. What next? We wondered around aimlessly taking in the surroundings found two more studios off the main hallway. One a red room which looked out to the back gardens, where there was tennis courts. A room, which was a ballroom, the grandest room yet. It had a fireplace that had two marble angels either side hovering, glaring over you. The scent of the whole place was dust. There were many clusters of parents with their offspring all doing the same as us, wondering around not quite know what was going to happen next. Then it was indicated that the parents had to leave their blossoms. Now as far as I can remember I could not wait for my parents to leave, not even watching them go it was kind of a ‘ya right then bye’, then they were gone. I wish in hindsight that I had savoured their leaving because this was the last time I was to see them or speak to them for seven weeks. A bit like the doors in ‘porridge’, bang our sentence began.

That was it I was on my own, a new everything. I don’t really remember how I got there but I was shown to my dormitory. It was in another building so walking to it gave me opportunity to get a glimpse at more of my new home. I was taken down a staircase beyond the hallway which brought us to a basement. This looked dark and grey, a contrast to the grandeur of upstairs, the walls concrete and tiled, a rabbit warren of corridors. This must have been where the servants lived and worked when the mansion was owned by the Rothschild’s. We went through and then out a back door into a courtyard. Across and beyond was a building they called the Clockhouse, probably because of the great big clock on top of the building. To the left of the Clockhouse was a conservatory kind of building, which inside has potters wheels, art work, benches, and sculptures. I was taken in through the front door of the Clockhouse and up a sweeping staircase, along a rickety corridor, with many doors along, to a door that was last but one to the end, numbered seven. Here we were my cell, or should I say room. I do not know what I was expecting, you have visions in your head of boarding school dormitories, don’t you, of these large long rooms, with rows of beds either side, a bit hospital like. Well this was not what I was thinking at all, I walked through the door and I saw four beds, four chairs, four chests of drawers and three hard looking pairs of eyes staring at me, in a room smaller than my lounge now. The other three beds had been taken there was one left, I guessed this must be mine then. It was in the corner, behind the door. Just as was just thinking what next, the strangest looking person flung the door open. She was, I would say in her seventies, but I bet she was younger than she looked. She had a humped back, dragon like features and the brightest purple hair I had ever seen. She introduced herself as Mrs Veal in her crackly voice and she was the matron, scary, this was my part time mother, help. She spoke about rules, regulations and I don’t know what. In time I was to learn her catch phrase, ‘I just don’t want to know’, she would say this after she had asked what you were doing, and before you had chance to get your sentence out she without fail would come out with her catch phase. Seriously why did she ask then?

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March Dance Challenge 28 – Hung Up

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This video I think is perfect for a Friday night!

I love this song and the dance Madonna does is a perfect seventies style. It reminds me of prancing around a studio, dancing like no one is watching you!

Enjoy, get your leotard, leg warmers on and strut your stuff x

March Dance Challenge 26 – Charleston

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Here we have a Charleston from Strictly Come Dancing.

This one I particular like because these two dancers are brilliant, and you would find it hard to guess which one is not the professional. It is great characterisation, energy and technic! I love dancing Charleston.

See you tomorrow! X

March Dance Challenge 20 – So You Think You Can Dance

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Today dancing wonder is from the British So You Think You Can Dance!

This piece I particularly enjoyed because I thought the choreography was great, by Rafael Bonachela, a Spanish choreographer. And the music Speechless by Lady Gaga is a lovely song. The dancers aren’t that bad either!

Try and find some time to watch! It’s great! X

March Dance Challenge 19 – Singing In The Rain

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Now this isn’t a classic bit of dancing, but I just love this whole song and dance.

Singing In The Rain is a great film and the original dance by Gene Kelly is magic, but this version by Morecambe and Wise is lovely!

Enjoy! X

March Dance Challenge 16 – Family Guy

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Today’s dance delight is an old one with a modern twist!

Being a Family Guy fan, and a Gene Kelly fan, this is just great. This is Stewie dancing Jerry Mouses part in the film Anchors Aweigh. Now I love the film and I remember watching this as a child. And of cause Gene Kelly’s dancing is faultless!

So a bit of fun for our Sunday evening after spending the day gardening in the sun, just have to add a picture of me and the boy having a rest after mowing the lawn.

Till tomorrow! X

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Swan Lake Pas de Deux

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As dancing has been my life, it would be daft not to have a page where I can share my favourite pieces of dance, or just ones that interest me. So here is my favourite ballet Swan Lake, I love this duet, it makes me cry every time!

Easter Day!

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I was just having a little think about how Easter day have changed for me over my life time. As a child Easter time was one the busiest times of the year for me and the family. The week running up to Easter day or the week after was taken up with dance festivals. I competed in hundreds of dances throughout the week in the chase for that allusive medal or certificate. I used to really love that week, it was the highlight of my year. learning dances after dances, solos, groups, duets, trios, ballet, tap, modern, national, song and dances, jazz, free style, the lot, I did them all. I never won anything, but that never bothered me I just loved the whole process of it. It is funny now I cannot stand the whole process of them, now I am on the other side, a teacher and a watcher, and have nothing to do with them. When I was teaching for dance schools I hated teaching dances for the festival and ended up stopping. The whole back stabbing of children and pushy mothers, completive teachers, I did not see any of that as a child, I think I must have walked around in blinkers the whole time.

So that was the first busy part to Easter, the second was the big brass band completion at butlins. The whole family, and I had a big family, played in the local brass band, which my folks had founded. On Easter day we had a coach trip to a 50 style holiday camp, (hi-de-hi), and I would spend my Easter day sitting in silence listening to endless bands. Some years the journey back on the coach was loud, rowdy and fun because the band had won and done well, and some journeys were quiet and solemn because the band might have come last, but this event happened every Easter day as child.

Very different to now, fast forward thirty years or so and here I am sitting on the sofa in peace and quiet, lap top on lap, children grown up and both at work, no dancing, no competition, no brass bands, no ‘happy Easter’ because I am an atheist, no Sunday dinners because I don’t do them and no chocolate eggs (don’t panic and feel sorry for me, I hate chocolate and I never give the kids chocolate and again don’t feel sorry for them, it’s their choice they would rather have money!) and it is great!