Penne D’Agenais 1994

This Summer school was arranged by Juanita through contacts she made from the first summer school with the local tourist board. Accommodation was found for us in a house that would sleep 16 and it had a swimming pool. To offset the cost we agreed to do 3 performances at different venues finishing in the Hall of the town hall. Lieven was our tutor again and we found 4 musicians to come with us.

We found the house and got the key. I counted 16 beds in 8 double or twin rooms. However there were only 3 chairs, hardly any bedroom furniture, not enough pieces of crockery and the space the landlady thought we could dance in was unsuitable being air less and having a very low ceiling.

So the good lady had to hire a hall for us to rehearse in which was not too far away but we had to go by car. She provided more chairs and more crockery. We then found that if the pump to keep the water suitable in the swimming pool was on, all the electricity in the house was off. The poor lady had to get in electricians to upgrade the power supply so we could use all the facilities.

The 12 dancers included Juanita, Melus, Colin, Cathy Greenhill and her partner at the time John, Barbara Ravelhofer (whom most of us met for the first time), Valerie Reed, Steve, Peter and myself with Lieven making up the 12th. We repeated many of the dances from the previous year which means we learnt them thoroughly and the 4 men worked on Buffons.

On of the funniest moments was watching the 4 of them rehearse in the dinning room, a room with a slope and only just enough space. Lieven wanted them to put some vigor into it and I can still see Steve desperately ducking and weaving to avoid being hit and Colin’s bemused expression.

The first of the performances took place in a very nice theatre which was quite big. I think 6 people came to watch including 3 from Belgium who knew Lieven. The second took place in a church which was lacking the usual facilities. The floor was uneven tiling and I fell over and damaged my ankle. I was unable to dance for the rest of the holiday. I think we had 12 people watching us.

The last performance was better attended, 24 and someone from the local press who took a photo. I still have a copy of the paper showing the picture of us dancing. As I was unable to dance I was given a camera to record the performance.

The Holiday came to a sad end for Juanita and myself as we had to go and pay the lady who had done all the work with the booking, but was so out of pocket for the all the expenses she incurred, with the house, and loosing money on the performances. She had also suffered a personal crisis so we felt very bad seeing her very distressed but there was little we could do.

From that time onward we decided against doing performances to subsidize the holiday and if we took costumes it would be for our own fun.

From Alison