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Feedback about International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague 2003
If you want to know where the best summer schools are, ask someone who's been before. To help you decide , we invited students who came to International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague 2003 write something about their experiences so you can judge for yourself. See also Feedback from Prague 2004 masterclasses

Silas Stubbs

You can read Silas's Prague diary online in the Dancing Times!

Holly Bond

I am just writing to say thank you for the enjoyable week I spent at your International Ballet Masterclasses. It was extremely well organised and all the classes were interesting and helped me a great deal. I particularly enjoyed the pas de deux classes and as I have never had the opportunity of such classes before, these were amazing experiences.

The city of Prague was wonderful to visit and the studios were a spectacular place to dance in. Your Ballet Masterclasses were definitely the best summer school I have been on and I would love to return next year if possible. [...] Thank you again for such an excellent course.

Sivan Barkai

My name is Sivan Barkai, I am 21 years old. I studied dance at Bat-Dor Dance school in Israel for 6 years and Sivan Barkai, 2003 masterclassespassed RAD all through to advanced. I joined Israel Ballet Dance Company 3 years ago. At present I am a young soloist for the company.

I came to the course because I was looking for a program for the summer, and after three years in the company I wanted to see something different and widen my knowledge. I was also looking for a program that could really benefit my career. Prague International Masterclasses offered excellent teachers who are also currently principal dancers in the best companies in Europe, which I thought was the best way for me to learn.

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THE COURSE...

First of all I had a great time. I really enjoyed it and am glad that I had the chance to work with the teachers and learn from them. Mostly I feel that I have learnt about style and received corrections to obtain a cleaner technique.

I have to say that the course organization was excellent, everything was exactly as planned ( lectures, picking up from airport, shows etc…).

ABOUT PRAGUE……..

Prague of course is a beautiful city, the atmosphere is very nice for dancing. The view is amazing and personally I even did some shopping.

Carlotta Rota

I'm Carlotta Rota from Milan, Italy. I'm 26 years old and I have been taking ballet since I was 11. I'm not a professional but, as Ian [Ian Comer] has defined me, I'm an enthusiast! In the past four years I've been looking for a very good ballet summer workshop somewhere in Europe, and finally I found it!

Carlotta and her 'lunch club'!I've been to Vignale Danza (Italy), Nina Soldum Memorial in Rapallo (Italy), Komiza (Croatia) before finding in August 2003 the best Ballet Masterclass in Prague. I discovered it through the internet and I had an excellent impression from it. Every day class schedule and all organization behind it have just been great. Staff, teachers, classes, people I've met there - they all exceeded my expectations!

All I can say is that it's really complete, it gives you everything. I think for professionals or professionals-to-be, it is key for future career and basic training, not only for your body but also for your mind and your heart. The atmosphere you can breathe there is very artistic and internatinal. Classes organization and efficiency, staff friendliness and support, and the city's magic definitely complete it. I loved pas de deux and repertoire classes the most, but I also enjoyed lectures and videos from teachers' previous works and career.

I really advise you to try and be at next year's Masterclass in Prague - I know I will! My best compliments go to the teachers and to staff and organization and special thanks to Daria and Ian for having given me the opportunity to be there. So for the ones who will be there, I hope to meet you and ... enjoy!

Konstantina Xintara

Hello, I'm Konstantina Xintara, I am 16 years old. I have studied classical ballet since I was 4 years old. I really enjoy dancing and I would like to promote myself in this area, since I really love it. I used to attend summer courses in dance. The last two years I was in the Royal Academy in London just for the summer period.

Last summer I decided to come to Prague because I heard good news about the Masterclasses. When I left Prague I took away the best memories from your course. I enjoyed staying in Prague, the programme was very attractive to me. I found it a good opportunity to enrich my dancing knowledge. I made good friends there and I built great relationships with some of my classmates. Please continue your effort in order to upgrade the Masterclasses and I believe you will face great recognition from the whole world of dance lovers. Thanks for everything, and I strongly believe that one day we will meet again.

Evdokia Moustaka

Evdokia Moustaka. Image Copyright G. KanellopoulosHello everyone! Iam 19 years old, my name is Evdokia Moustaka and I come from Greece, Athens. I study at Central School of Ballet in London, UK, and I am currently in my final year of the three year course.

I read about the Masterclasses in the Dancing Times and then looked it up on the website. I thought it would be interesting to work with teachers who still perform and came from such varied backgrounds. I was also attracted to the curriculum - the pas de deux and solo classes and creativity with Christopher Hampson.

I think it was a very good experience because the level was just right for me, not too hard or too easy, the teaching was very professional and the teachers were motivating and inspiring. The general atmosphere was friendly and encouraged you to work harder. The classes were exciting as we learned a lot of new repertory, but the pointework was too much - my feet were in agony!

In general, I think I enjoyed the chance to dance a lot, meet new people with similar interests and visit a beautiful city like Prague. The truth is we didn't see much of it, as we were so tired in the evenings, but we walked up to the castle to see the view, went to the Jewish cemetery and also to the Charle's Bridge. It was good that we lived so close to the centre, so everything was within walking distance. The architecture and streets were gorgeous and the crystal as well! Everything is quite cheap, too, although one should beware of higher prices because the area is very touristic.

I would definitely recommend the Masterclasses as the perfect combination of professional summerschool and surroundings. Friendly people and an exciting city to visit!

Image © G. Kanellopoulos

Stina Quagebeur

My name is Stina Quagebeur. I am now into my final graduating term at the English National Ballet School. The summer holiday is always too long for dancers, and so I was looking for something to keep me going. The Ballet Masterclasses in Prague was an amazing opportunity to work with such famous dancers. They didn't always have to explain everything (even if you don't understand any English) because by watching them move I learned a great deal and it gave me much inspiration and self-motivation.

To be away in another country exploring the beautiful city of Prague was a great bonus. I went back into my final term at school in September having learned a huge amount and still feel very privileged to have worked with so many great people.

Vassiliki

Vassiliki I was born in 1984 in Greece, and have lived there ever since. This country doesn't give many opportunities to take high quality lessons, and that was the main reason I wanted to travel abroad and participate in the masterclasses in Prague.

I have met many interesting people there, teachers and students, and I have made some new friends. That was the most important of all, in my opinion. I haven't seen much of the nightlife in Prague, but I enjoyed sightseeing. The view from the top of the clock, the metronome and the tower of the cathedral in the castle was absolutely marvellous. The whole city was like a fairy tale.

Anyway, I am back now, and this year I will attend Niki Kontaxaki's School of Ballet.

 

Jennie Harrington

I attended the summer course at the end of my last year of training at the London Studio Centre. I was offered a scholarship for the course by Margaret Barbieri. I was really looking forward to working with such high calibre teachers, and they were from quite a broad spectrum of dance so it was easy to see there would be something for everyone.

The classes were challenging throughout the two weeks and were varied as well. I was very glad that the details of the course changed for the second week and were not duplicated (as with some other courses) as so many of us stayed for both weeks. Amy [Hollingsworth] is a very inspirational teacher and gave so much to us all, I would have loved more classes with her as it took a while to relax into the different style. I really enjoyed all of the solos we learnt, especially ones that I hadn't come across before, i.e. the Etudes solos. The pas de deux calsses were challenging but good fun - even when things get too tricky it is very easy to give up, however, I found that I didn't want to stop trying! The classes with Christopher Hampson gave everyone a good insight into working with a company and the choreographers associated with them, and were good fun too.

Although there were bits of information on our accomodation and what we should expect to pay for food, it was useful to have the traveller's hostel website just to get details on facilities etc., especially as we cooked for ourselves a few nights so it was good to know about the kitchen.

A week after the course I started with English National Ballet. (I was pleased with the timing of the course as it was one week before I started there, and I really feel it helped me keep in shape and gave me a taste of the dancers I would soon be performing with!) and am currently dancing in Cinderella, Melody on the Move and The Nutcracker.

I would definitely recommend this course, to be in the same room as so many famous people is something that I will probably never experience again (unless I come back!) and I genuinely had fun and enjoyed myself. It is definitely a course worth experiencing.

Read Jennie's Student Guide to Prague.

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