GENERAL INFORMATION FOR REGISTERED STUDENTS - 2003
Welcome to the Granville Ferry Studio Summer Dance Programme. This information section will give you an idea about the area and some of the specifics relating to the course that we think you will need to know - like where it is and how to get there. I encourage you to read it thoroughly.
The first class is at 2:00 pm on the first Saturday of each course. Most dancers arrive the day before - on Friday. Some students have driven in and arrived on the Saturday but most fly to Halifax and come to Granville Ferry by bus. There is only one bus a day and it arrives around 10:05 at night so if you are bussing Friday night is the time to arrive. The Saturday class allows us to start the casting process. Please note that all $$ values in this information section are in Canadian $$.
WHERE IS THIS PLACE AND HOW DO I GET THERE ?
The course takes place in an old church in the centre of the little town of Granville Ferry (pop 585) in the province of Nova Scotia on Canada's East Coast. Granville Ferry is two hours west of Halifax (the capital of Nova Scotia) on the Bay of Fundy side of the province, and is across a small bay from the town of Annapolis Royal (pop 680). They are both very old towns dating back to the 1600's but the majority of the surviving buildings are from the mid 1800's - the Victorian era.
Most people who come fly to Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, and then take a bus from there to Annapolis Royal. If you don't want to fly you can also get to Halifax by bus or train. Halifax is serviced by most major airlines. It is also an international airport and there are some flights to it from Europe as well as regular ones from New York and Boston.
One bus a day departs Halifax for the Annapolis Valley at 6:30 PM from the bus terminal at 1161 Hollis Street. Its in the same building as the train Via Train Station. Return Bus Fare for a student is $51.31 (Full fare is 68.48). Reservations for the bus are not necessary but the toll free number is 1-800-567-5151. The bus arrives in Annapolis Royal at 10:05 in the evening and we will come and pick you up in Annapolis and take you to Granville Ferry ‹ about a 2-minute drive. Buses return daily from Annapolis to Halifax departing at 11:15 AM and arriving in Halifax at 3:05 PM. You will need to know this to book your return flight. You should allow at least two hours to get from the airport to the bus and vice versa. From the Halifax airport you can get a bus called the "Airbus" (902-873-2091) that goes directly from the airport to the Halifax bus terminal for about $12.00. When you go back out to the airport at the end of your stay you can take an "Acadian Lines" bus for $6.00 from the terminal. Its odd that one fare is cheaper but has something to do with bus monopolies. It is possible to get to Halifax earlier for your return flight by taking a special airport bus directly from Granville Ferry. This is more expensive - $53 one way - but can get you to the airport by about 12:30. Their number is 1-888-283-2222.
It¹s a bit more interesting, but also more complicated to fly (bus or train) to St. John, New Brunswick, then take a ferry (3 hours) from St. John to Digby, Nova Scotia. Digby is about a half an hour from Granville Ferry and we will pick you up at the ferry terminal if you choose to come this way. Fare on the ferry is between $25 and $30 per person depending on the time of year. Ferry times are different at different times of the year and they change each year from a winter to summer schedule near the end of June so to get the right times you should give them a call at 1-888-249-7245 (the ferry service number). You can also check out their web site at http://www.nfl-bay.com. Allow at least 2 hours travel time from the St. John airport to the ferry.
It is possible to drive as well. CAA will provide you with maps if you are a member. If you aren't a member get some good maps. From Central Canada and points west the Trans Canada highway is the best route. Take the Trans Canada to Truro and then head south on the 102 (towards Halifax). Cut across to the 101 on number 14 and then follow the 101 to Bridgetown. Get off the 101 at Bridgetown and take the number 1 to Granville Ferry - about 20 minutes. Taking the ferry from St. John New Brunswick (if coming from central Canada) cuts out 6 hours of driving but costs between $70 and $75 one way for the car and about $20 - $35 per person in the car depending on the time of the year. If want to take the ferry with your car you must call ahead and make a reservation at the above number. The ferry is quite large and comfortable.
We check all these times and fares in January and it is possible that some might change between then and when you come.
**** However you are coming please let us know ****
Our phone number in Granville Ferry is 902-532-7196
WHAT¹S THE ACCOMODATION LIKE?
The whole course takes place in the church. You will stay in the large furnished apartment below the studio. All that is in the church is the studio upstairs and the living space downstairs. There is also a bell tower complete with bell but you wouldn¹t want to live there. The living space has good natural light. The accommodation is shared - 2 to a room - and we provide the beds, pillows and bedding. Also there is no phone in the church. There is a pay phone at the corner store, about a two minute walk or, if you prefer, you may use the phone in our house which is about a mile up the road. Please give our number out as a contact number should anyone need to reach you. Our Nova Scotia number is 902-532-7196. Remember this number is valid only from mid May to the end of August. The number for the course for the rest of the year is our Toronto number 416-920-7463.
The church has a fully equipped kitchen and you are responsible for your own food while you are there. Equipped means: fridge, stove, washing machine, coffee maker, blender, dishes, glasses, pots, pans, cutlery, dish towels, toaster etc. Granville Ferry has only a small rural general store in it ‹ with almost no groceries. Groceries, and pretty well everything else, are to be had in Annapolis Royal which is a 15 minute walk or a three minute bike ride. We will provide an assortment of bicycles for your use while you are there. These aren't state of the art bikes but the wheels are pretty round.
Annapolis has the usual smattering of businesses: 2 banks (the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Nova Scotia) 2 grocery stores, a hardware store, a liquor store, a drug store, a health centre, a theatre, 2 bars, a Legion, a volunteer fire department, a good leather and book store, a laundromat, a health food store, a "farmers' market" (on Saturday mornings) a decent second hand clothing store a lot of antique and craft stores and some surprisingly good restaurants and cafes. Annapolis also has a number of historic sites, homes and museums, a large and remarkable historic garden, Canada's oldest cemetery and a great 17th century fort - Fort Anne.
WHAT ARE THE CLASSES AND SCHEDULE LIKE?
The course is made up of a combination of private technique classes, group technique classes and repertory classes. Each week you will have 2, two-hour private technique classes tailored to your needs. These classes consist of a long slow modern barre ‹ simple but very thorough and detailed. The material covered is valid for any serious dancer - modern, ballet or jazz. The centre portion of the class focuses on performance technique. Twice a week there will also be a group technique class consisting of a barre designed to allow you to work on the material from the privates and a conventional centre focussing on material from the rep classes.
There will be at least three repertoire classes a week where a variety of dances will be learned. These dances will be performed at the end of the session. On the first Saturday we will give an introductory group class in the afternoon starting at 2:00 PM. This is a rep assessment class - not an audition. The rep load is pretty hefty and to get a good start on things we will do preliminary casting for the repertoire after this class. Keep in mind that the rep is selected and distributed so that everyone will get substantial parts to dance. This isn't a course where the best dancers get all the best roles. It¹s a course where every dancer gets good roles that challenge their artistry.
The classes run from Sunday through Friday with Saturday off. Saturday is market day and a pretty social day in rural areas and it¹s the best day to not be working. So the week goes something like this:
Sunday ‹ 3 privates - students A, B, C
Monday ‹ 3 privates - students D,E, F
Tuesday ‹ Group technique class in the morning and rep class in the afternoon.
Wednesday - Same as Sunday
Thursday - Same as Monday - but with an evening rep class
Friday - Same as Tuesday
Saturday - Day Off
For those arriving on Friday night we always make sure there is food in the church to cover an evening snack and breakfast. If you have any unusual dietary concerns please let us know. On the first Saturday morning, before the introductory class, we will take you to the market to do some food shopping and simply get used to the area. Saturday night we will host a dinner and a "get together" at our house, which is about a mile up the road from the church. The private technique classes start Sunday morning.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEISURE TIME?
The nature of the private classes affords a good deal of leisure time and not surprisingly a few people have asked me what there is to do in the area. My first bit of advice is to rest and enjoy the leisure time - it doesn't show up that often in dance. However, more than a bit of the leisure time gets eaten up with homework from both the rep classes and the privates. We've always found it odd that most dancers rarely do technique homework. Its been our experience that doing "technique" homework dramatically accelerates change and progress. The rep homework is substantial. The 6 of you will learn a whole show in 4 weeks. The church has VCRs to aid in learning rep and you have unlimited access to the studio when its not being used for classes. You can use the space for technical homework, rep homework or to work on stuff of your own.
We assume that anyone who registers for a course like this has some idea what small town life is like or is at least interested in trying it out. If you really crave the action and diversity of a big city then you might have a hard time here. The pace is slower and the variety of activities just isn¹t the same. That said the area is exquisitely beautiful - all of it - Granville Ferry, Annapolis Royal, the surrounding area and the Bay of Fundy coast which is not too far away. We don't mean to imply its boring in any way. The Maritimes is a very social place and all dancers who have come have found tons to do and none have been at all bored. There is a big (for the Maritimes) theme park nearby, a wildlife park and lots of other people your age who return from university to work for the summer. There are bars and restaurants and parties and a great ice cream parlour just a short walk up the road.
History is big in this area. This is where Champlain first landed in North America in 1605 ‹ fifteen years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. The area is loaded with museums and historical sights and old houses and remarkable gardens
Compared to city living you might say its thin ‹ at least on the surface. There is a theatre in town which plays "fairly" current movies weekly. It also presents the occasional live performance. My own dance company has performed there three times, the Danny Grossman company twice and Toronto Dance Theatre once ‹ though never in the summer. In the summer the theatre presents local theatre productions and some music concerts. Because the area is a tourist destination there are a number of good restaurants both in Granville Ferry and Annapolis. From time to time there are dances at the Legion or the Fire Hall (both in Annapolis). These are rural, ragged, often fun, "fasten your seatbelt" kind of events. Annapolis also has a few bars, both of which, on a good night, can be pretty entertaining. On the outskirts of Granville Ferry is a dance hall called Grizzlies that has afforded more than a few entertaining nights for past dancers. The drinking age in Nova Scotia is 19.
Mostly the social stuff depends on whom you meet and people in Nova Scotia are easy to meet and friendly and generous almost to a fault. Every Saturday morning there is a Farmers' Market in Annapolis and its both fun and a good place to socialize and find out what¹s going on. Pam and I will do what we can to get you rolling in terms of meeting local people but its really not that hard.
WHAT¹S THE WEATHER LIKE?
The AnnapolisValley has a unique micro-climate. Normally its perfect ‹ warm, clear days and cool nights. However it is the Maritimes and because of the ocean influence anything can happen. Early June can be wet and cool and by the middle of August evenings can also be cool. Bring some kind of rain gear and something warm.
WHAT DO I BRING ?
We provide bedding, including pillows, so you don't need to bring any of that.
The apartment has a sound system that plays cd's and tapes.
For class bring unitards, or leotards and tights (something tight fitting) as well as some warm sweat clothes.
Make sure you bring running shoes and knee pads.
Also bring a towel, sun screen, insect repellant, swim wear, bicycle helmet (if you intend to use the bicycles helmets are mandatory in NS), raincoat or waterproof jacket, and a few warm clothes
Hopefully this covers most of the bases. Should you want to know anything else please feel free to call either Pam or I at 416-920-7463 up until mid May and then at 902-532-7196 from then on. Call collect if you need to.
March 7th, 2003