Archive for March, 2012

Celebrating Influential Women with the Mayor of RBKC and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

An inspirational reception held at the Town Hall by the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea Councillor Julie Mills, with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in attendance. A room full of women at the top of their professions – professions represented being eclectic; philanthropy, armed forces, retail, government, entertainment, legal and medical with many High Commissioners or Ambassadors representing the Commonwealth. This was particularly relevant since the event was being held on Commonwealth Day. An informal approach to the event enabled everyone to ‘network’ together and it was a privilege for all to meet the Duchess who was particularly interested in meeting those representing parts of the Commonwealth she had visited.

 ‘HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (centre) with the wife of the Lieutenant Governor of the Royal Hospital Angela Currie (blue); Chelsea in-pensioners and the Royal Borough’s Mayor Cllr Julie Mills.’


Natalia Kremen – Ballet Dancer and Principal of Ballet School in Kensington

Many of us think of little girls in pretty tutus and fairy wings when we think of a ballerina, but on Wednesday we met the very elegant, very hard working, very NOT dressed in fairy wings, Natalia Kremen. A Russian ballerina who has been living In England for five years and who dances with the English National Ballet.

Natalia started dancing at eight and then went on to attend the Moscow Ballet Academy in Moscow aged 10 to 18. After her time at school she performed for some time with the Stanislavski musical theatre. Her father was also a ballet dancer but his career was ended after an injury. As a result he did not want Natalia to pursue a ballet career. But whilst interviewing her it was clear to us that she was passionate about making dance her life. She is married to David Makhateli Principal dancer at the Royal Ballet.

If performing with The English National Ballet wasn’t enough, Natalia also teaches at her own ballet school. Her classes are based in Kensington and she caters for both group and private classes. She hopes to expand her school and reach as many boys and girls as possible. She uses the Vaganova method of teaching and loves to show her students ‘the heart of ballet’. She spoke of times where she had seen performances with ‘ballet dancers with big smiles and beautiful steps but who didn’t have any heart’. At the moment it seems she must be really making her budding dancers feel the soul of ballet, as some travel from far distances to attend her classes.

When she moved to England she did not speak English and explained to us that she didn’t know what she would have done ‘Without the help and support from her family’. Natalia sees her family in Moscow a few times a year, where her father, though out of action as a dancer, has recently made a documentary about key individuals within the ballet world.

A self-confessed ‘perfectionist’, Natalia seems determined to bring the best in her students. She spoke about the search for a new studio for her school and the importance of the lighting and location. She expressed that she could see dance potential in all of her students not only in their dancing but how they have learnt to ‘support each other’ in their learning of the dance steps.

Hannah McKellar-Ricketts (Work experience)

Image and copyright: Lucy Elliott, The Kensington Magazine




Photography Workshop in Mallorca 24 Feb – 28th Feb

Fabulous few days!  How to learn to take photographs and have a great break at the same time. Small group tuition led by professional photographer Michael Potter in the photogenic surroundings of Pollenca. Three things that matter: the ISO, the Av and Tv.  From here we mastered the art of shooting fast objects either clearly or with blur to give the impression of speed, portraits with a model or unsuspecting folk in the Sunday market and how to use lighting – all with the purpose of ‘telling the story’.

Michael is a natural teacher and together with his wife, Fiona, provide a most convivial environment in which to learn photography.  Accommodation is provided in their beautiful home in Pollenca with terraces, pool, studio and sitting rooms – minutes from two squares, numerous bars/coffee shops, a large Cathedral, a Roman Bridge and bustling Sunday market. So plenty of photo opportunities.

Would thoroughly recommend Eye Photographic Workshops as being a great place for beginners or intermediates to learn or refresh techniques. Price (four nights/five days) includes transfers, accommodation, food, drink and tuition but excludes flights. For more information see www.eyephotographicworkshops.com.  An excellent two day workshop is also available in Chiswick (tried and tested!)

Images taken by Lucy Elliott/The Kensington Magazine on this workshop (copyright: ibid)