This week our student of the week is Susan Carter née Schwantes. Sue was a dance student from 1962 – 1968.
What is your favourite memory of The Hammond?
Mrs Hassall driving us to the farm at the weekends with about 10 of us in the car. Whenever she saw a police car coming she would yell `heads down girls `. We could roam free on the farm or help her pick the apples which she would make into delicious apple jelly. Very often Mr Hassall would come in from fishing with a fresh salmon from the Dee and we would have it for tea. Her generosity to us was quite incredible.
What did you go on to do?
I studied from April 1968 – July 1970 at the Royal Ballet School but also secretly took lessons with Robert Cohen at The Place after he had given a lecture demonstration at the RBS. I danced with the ballet company of the Cologne Opera House 1970 – 1983 . We eventually became the first modern dance company in Germany training every other day in Graham. This is when Anna Price joined us as ballet mistress having been ballet mistress for Ballet Rambert for some years. After dancing with Walter Gore in London she won a scholarship to the Graham school and danced with the company
I started to teach in 1989, Tutor and Examiner ( PTS ) for both the CBTS and PDPTC Programmes of the RAD since their inception.
What do you do now?
I am mostly retired from teaching except for older students, coaching, teacher training / RAD PDPTC and CBTS programmes and courses in healthy dance based mainly on Bartenieff Fundamentals (Irmgard Bartenieff), Spiral Dynamics (Dr Christian Larsen) and Anatomy Trains (Thomas Myers).
In the last five years I have increased studies of Early Childhood Reflexes which, having observed the work of Sally Goddard Blythe MSc. ( International Director of The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester and author of books on child development) it was obvious that this work was using Bartenieff Fundamentals but without the use of the all- important ‘rocking component.’
All children coming to my school are tested (without them realising it) and Bartenieff Fundamentals then built into the classwork (they love it!)
The results are amazing and increasingly primary schools are including it in their curriculum all due to the work of Dr Anita Ginter (Bartenieff Educator) here in Freiburg.
I would certainly recommend testing for ongoing dancers and dance teachers.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The training given at the Hammond was the basis for everything else I learned not only as a dancer but as a human being. Thank you Mrs Hassall!
Pictures, clockwise from left: The first production I danced in Cologne, Divertimento Nr. 15, where I had the privilege to work with George Balanchine; Under the Cherry Tree, 1963.