english national ballet

Bath, United Kingdom

Jeanette Kakareka



So, this was a while ago now but I wanted to blog about it anyway because it's a fond memory and I recommend making the trip if you ever can. During the long Easter weekend, my boyfriend and I stayed two nights in Bath.

We booked a hotel right by the train station which was super comfy and easy. We checked in about as early as possible then headed for a walk around, stopping into some antique stores and saw the Pulteney Bridge, the Royal Crescent, and the Assembly Rooms.
 

Outside of Train Station

Outside of Train Station

I was especially excited about the Assembly Rooms because I could imagine all of the Georgian parties and gatherings. It was also free.

Jin inside of the Assembly rooms

Jin inside of the Assembly rooms

Polaroids on the Bridge and around the Crescent.

Polaroids on the Bridge and around the Crescent.

I had heard recommendations to check out Sally Lunn's, which not only had great food and teas, but is also one of the oldest standing buildings in Bath.

I ordered a mushroom traditional trencher dish, and he ordered a steak with some sort of apple sauce.

I ordered a mushroom traditional trencher dish, and he ordered a steak with some sort of apple sauce.

We then went back to relax at the hotel and that was the end of day one.

Day two began with getting our breakfast from the hotel and then heading to the famous Bath Abbey. A free thing to do, although they do suggest a small donation.

The beautiful fan vaulting of the ceilings inside.

The beautiful fan vaulting of the ceilings inside.

The abbey was originally founded in the 7th century, but rebuilt in the 12th and 16th century. We both really enjoy going into churches for the architecture, and this was apparently a more unusual example of the Gothic style. The gravestones inside of the abbey floor and walls were really interesting to read and we enjoyed getting a close look at the stained glass. We definitely recommend taking a look inside and grabbing one of the free paper pamphlets, which can give you extra information on what you are seeing.

Next, we went to the Roman Baths, which is located right next to the abbey. It costed £15 per adult and everyone is given a free audio guide in a number of languages. There were many recovered artifacts from the Roman period of Bath's history, (when they called the town "aquae sulis"), including the Gorgon's head. The buildings that now surround them were built in the 18th century.

A shot of one of the stunning Roman bath pools.

A shot of one of the stunning Roman bath pools.

Inside the Pump Room, where you exit after the baths

Inside the Pump Room, where you exit after the baths

After lunch and coffee in a cafe, we went to see the Jane Austen Centre, which, as much as I love her work, I didn't love the museum equally. But Jin did enjoy writing with ink and it was nice being inside of the house that she lived in for five years. This was £11 per adult.

After we left, we took a long scenic walk around the town by all the shops and ended up by the river. Bath is a beautiful town to just walk around and enjoy the outside of its many historic buildings. We then got some dinner takeaway and hopped our train back to London.

We had a lovely weekend and definitely suggest it to anyone with the ability to take a small trip over.

English National Ballet Emerging Dancer 2016

Ballet Zaida Affinity Jeanette Kakareka competed in the English National Ballet Emerging Dancer competition this last week.  It is a huge deal to be a finalist, and this is her second year to reach that point!  We are so proud of her!  Below you can see photos from the performance and an interview with her. 

Black Swan pas de deux. Photo by Dave Morgan.  Jeanette Kakareka and Daniele Silingardi of English National Ballet.

Black Swan pas de deux. Photo by Dave Morgan.  Jeanette Kakareka and Daniele Silingardi of English National Ballet.

Black Swan.  Photo by Laurent Liotardo. Jeanette Kakareka of English National Ballet. 

Black Swan.  Photo by Laurent Liotardo. Jeanette Kakareka of English National Ballet. 

Annabelle Ochoa's Frida

Jeanette Kakareka

Today is our last day of shows for "She Said", a triple bill of all new works choreographed by all women. I've been performing the "Female Deer" in Annabelle Ochoa's piece "Broken Wings", which was inspired by Frida Kahlo's life and paintings. My role was based on a painting that she did, as you can see below.

The Wounded Deer, by   Friday   Kahlo (1946)

The Wounded Deer, by Friday Kahlo (1946)

Annabelle is quoted saying: “But Frida often said she didn’t paint dreams, like the surrealists, but her own reality. Her paintings are her life, her emotions are weaved into them, so I am also using them as a way into her mind, as a way to tell the story”. This means that Broken Wings is partially reality, partially Frida's reality. One of my favourite scenes is the "Mexican restaurant" where Diego is cheating on Frida and the skeleton men form a mariachi band to serenade the adulterers.

I think all of the dancers have had a wonderful time working with Annabelle. She's extremely efficient and affectively runs a really smooth rehearsal. She also loves to get inspiration from dancers' jokes and turn it into actual choreography--I've seen her do it!

Of course, it is extra satisfying to have a role created on you, so I was very lucky. My character comes later in the piece when Frida is in much pain after surgeries and taking morphine. "The Wounded Deer" was actually painted after her spinal surgery in New York City. Nancy Meckler, who worked with her previously on A Streetcar Named Desire, was also there in a number of our studio rehearsals. She was very kind and helped explain me through my character.

The 11 male Frida's in the piece have the most fun probably--they had body paint and makeup sponsored by MAC. They also had an excuse to wear these very colourful skirts. Their first entrance is probably the most visually dramatic in the piece.

image.jpg

 

I also got my fabulously-Frida monobrow and lipstick done by MAC. My wig was styled around antlers by our Amelia Carrington-Lee. They seemed very heavy at first, but after a couple of shows I got used to them. Still had to duck and weave around doors and curtains though!

We were all so fortunate to get to work with a lovely choreographer and team and it was even more rewarding this week to see it premiere and come to life!

Blog Navigation

Surviving on tour

Jeanette Kakareka

You may have noticed from all my Instagram and blog posts, but I do a lot of both national and international touring here at English National Ballet. We have now begun the start of our 5 week regional tour throughout the UK, and with that on the brain, I thought I would give your some touring pointers for those of you who are new to it. It's hard to avoid touring if you're in the business, plus it can also be a lot of fun!

Rehearsing Odalisques from Corsaire while on national tour during my first season at ENB.

Rehearsing Odalisques from Corsaire while on national tour during my first season at ENB.

1. Be smart about purchasing food. 

This is essential to not going over touring allowances... Or perhaps even saving some of it! If you can stay somewhere with a kitchen, cooking most of your meals is always best. The problem is, you don't always have that option if you're staying in a hotel. So this is when finding some cheap eats is important. Either look online or take a walk around to find some small sandwich shops or cafes with reasonable prices. Then buy your snacks (like yoghurt, nuts, etc) at the grocery store instead of when you're buying lunch. They always hike up the prices for those things at take away places. 

2. Pack some basic medicine and throat lozenges. 

After dancing in perhaps less than perfect conditions, going in and out of hot and cold, traveling for hours, etc, it is easy to find yourself a little under the weather. It can be a real pain having a sore throat and then having to choose between suffering through it or running to a pharmacy between shows. It's best to have a general pain killer, throat lozenges, and some sort of cold medicine or tea already at hand. I also suggest keeping vitamin C tablets around in addition to taking your every day vitamins and probiotics. 

Part of my personal stock. 

Part of my personal stock. 

3. Peppermint tea. 

Most hotels at least have a kettle in the room! A little something to help you relax and wind down after a show is always welcome. Or, if you're like me, you get a little stressed or overwhelmed sometimes and peppermint tea can really help alleviate those feelings.

4. Bring a few clothes you can mix and match. 

You don't want to weigh down your suitcase with a different outfit for every day. You'll need that space for ballet stuff (or souvenirs if you're on an international tour). Plus, if you're traveling during the autumn/winter, no one will see what you're wearing underneath your coat anyway!

I <3  ️ sweaters!

I <3️ sweaters!

5. Ice and physio. 

I am one of the first to get a little lazy about properly taking care of myself when I feel overwhelmed by shows. It's so obviously counter productive... And yet I find myself doing it! It's more important than ever to force yourself to do what your body needs to help it function at its peak. 

6. Wear warm clothes for cold stages and compression socks. 

I have been in quite a number of cold theatres, unfortunately. And until they sort out the problem, (or sometimes they don't...) you'll need something to warm up you up when you feel a bit chilled to the bones. Keep those knits and thermals handy! Additionally, compression socks for your shins are very popular here at ENB. They're good for preventing or lessening shin pain and I highly recommend finding yourself a pair or two of the shin sleeves. 

7. Something to occupy you. 

Music on your phone, a book at hand, or a downloaded movie is important for keeping you busy during plane or bus rides. Not all planes will allow you to watch movies for free, or worse, your headset plug won't work at all. I've forgotten to bring anything along before and being bored made it a loooooong journey!

8. An international adapter. 

They can be really expensive, but I found one on Amazon for a deal and it makes my life so much easier! Mine has two USB plug-ins as well as a spot for plugs. 

Very handy and not too heavy.&nbsp;

Very handy and not too heavy. 

9. Remember to let things go. 

While it is obviously important to do whatever you can (within reason) to do your job better, you also have to leave stage door and live your life. When you leave, say whatever you need to say but also have different conversations then you might have at work. You will be more present while dancing, and also while with the ones you care most about, if you can learn to tell the difference. 

10. Positive people. 

Ok, you can't literally pack people, but hopefully you have a few true friends around and you know who they are. You can all form a support group for one another and help each other maintain an overall positive attitude even when the going gets tough!

Playing tourist with my friends Guilherme (left) and Vitor Menezes while on tour in Madrid.&nbsp;

Playing tourist with my friends Guilherme (left) and Vitor Menezes while on tour in Madrid. 

... Happy touring!

Universal Studios, Singapore.

Universal Studios, Singapore.

Three Places To Visit In Singapore

Jeanette Kakareka

When English National Ballet is on tour, I always make an effort to go out and experience things any time that I'm free--even when I'm tired. While that does mean that our month-long tour in Asia was exhausting, it was also one of my most memorable trips!

 

 

The first night in Singapore, we arrived at our hotel very late at night after a long, but particularly enjoyable, flight from Beijing. The next day was a day off so we made our way to Sentosa, a small island with an assortment of activities to keep you busy.

The small group of us headed straight for Universal Studios, which is one of the first attractions you find on the island. It's certainly manageable to fit everything in one day, including more than one go on your favourite rides. Our favourites were the Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers: The Ride.

Later that night, even though we were tired from walking in the heat all day long, we grabbed a taxi and drove to the Night Safari. It's the world's first safari park built for nocturnal animals, separate from their daytime park. This was probably my favourite outing the whole month! Not only can you get amazingly (sometimes uncomfortably,) close to the animals, but they are also passionate about education and conservation. 

Our last show in Singapore was a 3pm matinee of Le Corsaire, so afterwards, we had a filling dinner of Singapore chilli crab and lots more seafood! The next day we ignored the predictions of rain and headed towards Sentosa again--this time for the Zipline! Here is a photo of us right after we were unlatched from the top!

And we couldn't leave without a small dip.

TIP: We realised this a little too late, but there is actually a train that you can take from the VivoCity tube stop (Level 3, Lobby L) to different stops inside of Sentosa. This is much easier (and cooler) than trying to walk the whole way across the boardwalk.

I can only hope that there will be an excuse for me to go back to Singapore one day!