Caroline Llorca - Ballet Mistress, coach and so much more...
Caroline Llorca – Ballet Mistress
The moment you look at her, you know that she has „to do“ with Dance– she exhales the perfume I call Ballet…
She has that certain “attitude”, that is only related to dance – and it makes me extremely happy that she “joined” my homepage, my own idea of a platform dedicated to dance.
I was invited to watch Caroline’s class on January 26th. A preparation class for 5 young ladies the one week after were supposed to take their exams in order, if promoted, to join the higher level of Ballet at the “Hochschule für Musik und Theater” in Munich.
Professor Carolne llorca, a “chevalière de L’Ordre National du Mérite”, given by the French Govermment, greeted me warmly – Somehow the Ballet world is such a small one (as we would later, once more, find out): everyone seems to know someone…
The class started and my attention was fully captured. She was never loud, not even for one second would she rise her voice. But she was firm. She knew exactly what she wanted to see… This experience made me go into a sort of “Tunnel of Time”. I was not watching a class for professionals but one for ballet students – very young ones – and the way and manners with which she treats her students is beautiful and admirable. All of a sudden I remembered classes, more than 40 years ago with Tatiana Leskova (that was – for a very short period – a dancer with Les Ballets Russes). She would not be happy until she either treated you badly or insulted you or made you cry… Today you would call that way of behavior “politically incorrect”. But at those times we had to “swallow” it. And the crazy thing: we were paying for her classes – incredible.
The way she is preparing those 5 girls is at the same time a fascinating and a hard one. Later on while we were having some supper at a nearby restaurant, she turned to me and in her fascinating, cosmopolitan way (she teaches in six languages) simply said: “It is sometimes a paradox but while you were watching a class like mine today, you must be conscious that what I am trying to do is to build up bodies, technique, strength… Some professional dancers would not be able to do a class like this anymore!” (When I think of the whole work on demi pointe – especially the ronds de jambe en l’air - that those poor girls were doing in the center, I surely agree with her! And we are talking about 13, 14 year old girls!)
Watching a class like this makes me tired. Really tired! My own body tries to help them: you know, like watching a TV movie in which someone is desperately trying to avoid falling into an abyss?
Looking back at some of the steps that I used to hate doing (because they simply were not natural to my body…) although they were so necessary to master (I am especially remembering “Glissades” – oh, how I hated them!)
She finished the class with the second part of “The Kingdom of Shades” (after they have done the -32? – arabesque penchées), which the girls were going to dance at the end of the exam. Not only Precision in every single position is required but to be in total unison… There was this talented girl, that seemed always to be wanting to do a bit more than the others – her cambrées were deeper, much deeper than the others – and she seemed not to belong to the group. I do not know if she would pass the exam if I was sitting in the jury!
After class was finished, we remained for a while in the class room before going out for a dinner. It was then that she said something beautiful, a popular saying, that made me understand HER way of looking at things, of facing her responsibility in teaching:
„We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails“
Merci, Caroline, this was something very beautiful to hear!
A short Biography: She was awarded from the French government a scholarship to study in Russia, and was the first French dancer to graduate at the legendary Vaganova school in St-Petersburg, in the class of Natalia M. Doudinskaia. She became ballet mistress at age 21. She taught in Paris, London, New-York, Monte Carlo, Milan, Tokyo, Boston, Barcelona, Istanbul, Helsinki, Lyon. She coached among others N. Ananiashvili, E. Pankova, F. Bujones, I. Zelenski, K. Melnikov, C.Stallings, A. Suarez, P. Thrussel and K. Alexi. Ballet mistress of the Boston ballet 1990-95, her work with the corps and coaching of the ballerinas for Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, got unanimous acclaims and ranked the company among the finest in the world. In 1998 and 2001, she staged Don Quixote and Bayadère for the National Ballet of Mexico. She directs regularly teachers courses in Paris, Centre National de la Danse, Conservatoire National Supérieur de danse, Barcelona´s federation of teachers, Lyon, Helsinki and others.