February 2006 newsletter

AT OUR FIRST MEETING of 2006, members were entertained by two of the younger members of the Royal Ballet, Yuhui Choe and Celisa Diuana. It is always interesting to meet dancers towards the start of their careers. They spoke about their training, their Prix de Lausanne experiences and their time in the Company. From the many comments from members since the meeting, it is clear both dancers made a great impression and their careers will be watched with interest.

For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on both our own website, www.balletassociation.co.uk and on www.ballet.co.uk, once the report has been checked by the guest speaker. Reports are also posted, one month after they have appeared on our own site, on www.criticaldance.com. If you do not have access to the internet, and would like a copy of a report on any meeting, please send a stamped addressed envelope to Joan Seaman, our membership secretary, at 56 Turney Road, London SE21 8LU. If you do not have access to the internet, and would like a copy of a report on any meeting, please send a stamped addressed envelope to Joan Seaman, our membership secretary, at 56 Turney Road, London SE21 8LU. As always, we are not up to date with reports. We hope to be so soon!

Future meetings
Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 22 February. We are delighted to welcome Brian Maloney as our guest. Born in Apple Valley, California, Brian trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet, Washington DC. He currently trains with David Howard, and many members will have seen him working with David, when he came to talk to the Association. Before joining the Royal Ballet in 2000, Brian was a member of Le Jeune Ballet de France. He was promoted to soloist in 2003. Amongst many roles, members will have seen Brian as Lescaut in Manon, Eros in Sylvia, Hans-Peter in The Nutcracker and as the Boy in La Fête Étrange.

Meetings begin at 7.30 p.m. and, unless otherwise stated, are held at the Swedenborg Hall, off Bloomsbury Way (nearest tube Holborn). Doors open at 6.45 p.m. Admission: Members £3, Concessionary Members £2, Guests £7.

On Wednesday 1 March at 7.00 pm we have a special meeting, Young Choreographers at Work. It will be held in The Clore Studio at The Royal Opera House. As members will know, over the last three years we have made donations to support the new works shown in the First Drafts performances. We are delighted that some of the choreographers producing pieces for the next First Drafts in March have agreed to rehearse their ballets for us. It is a privilege for us to have this rare opportunity to see choreographers at work. We are extremely grateful to the choreographers and dancers and to Monica Mason, for allowing us this privilege. Because the meeting is in The Clore Studio, it will have to be ticketed and will be slightly more expensive than usual (Members £4, Concessionary members £3, Guests £8). Tickets will be available for purchase at the February meeting. Members who cannot attend this meeting should phone David Bain on 020 7515 1254 to book a ticket. (If you have already done so, could you phone again to receive a ticket number.) Tickets can be collected or bought from the information desk in the box office from 6.00pm on the night or from David in advance. Please note the start time of 7.00 pm. Tickets will not be available after that time.

On Wednesday 22 March, we hold our second meeting of the year at the Royal Ballet School. We are thrilled to welcome Jonathan Cope as our guest. Jonathan was to have danced his last performances with the Company in The Firebird in February. Tragically, a road accident a few weeks ago robbed us of the opportunity to see these last performances, although members were delighted that he was presented on stage to the audience after The Firebird on Monday. We are delighted that he has agreed to talk to us, at the beginning of his career as Repetiteur. We expect this to be a very popular meeting and will operate a booking system, as we did at the AGM, to ensure those travelling long distances can reserve a ticket. To book places, please ring our membership secretary, Joan Seaman, on 020 8670 4671. Booking will open on Monday 6th March. Please ring between 9.00 am and 5 pm. No bookings will be taken before his date. When you phone, you will be issued with a ticket number. Please bring this number on the day, as it will speed up finding your name on the list. If Joan is out, please leave a message on the answering machine and phone back later to get your ticket number. Initially, we will only take bookings for members. If you wish to bring a guest, you may book a place for them from Monday 13th March.

NB On the day, please do not arrive before 6.45. If you have booked a ticket, please ensure you arrive before 7.15, at the latest. After 7.15, we will allocate any spaces to anyone who turns up on the day. Doors will close at 7.30.

Advance notice of our next two meetings. On Thursday 6 April we welcome Edward Watson, who was promoted to Principal at the start of this season. On Wednesday 10 May our guest will be the newest member of the Company, First Soloist Alexandra Ansanelli, who members may have seen make her debut with the company in the Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux in the current mixed bill. There will be more about these meetings in our next newsletter.

Provisional dates for the rest of next season are: Wednesday 14 June and Thursday 13 July.

Royal Ballet 75th Anniversary
At the AGM, it was agreed that the Association should give £2,500 this and next season to the Royal Ballet towards new choreography. We have received the following letter from Jeanetta Laurence, Assistant Director:

“I am writing on behalf of Monica and the Company to ask you to convey our heartfelt thanks to The Ballet Association for the gift it has given towards our 75th Anniversary Syndicate. We are all extremely grateful for the Association’s continuing and unstinting support and look forward to having you all alongside us as we celebrate this significant moment in the Company’s history.

My personal thanks again to all the members; the generosity of the Ballet Association is very much valued by all of us here at The Royal Ballet.”

A reminder that if you have anecdotes, etc. of the last 75 years, which you would like to share, please send them to Sylvia Tyler at Flat 7, 19/24 Wynyatt St, EC1V 7HY. If you would prefer to tell them, rather than write them down, we will provide someone to write for you. If you have photos taken at the stage door, etc., we would also like to hear from you.

Congratulations to all those who won the 2005 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards: Marianela Nunez won Best Female Dancer, Christopher Newton - Best Choreography (Classical) for Ashton’s Sylvia, Rupert Pennefather – Outstanding Artist (Classical), The Royal Ballet – Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Classical) and Monica Mason – De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.

Congratulations to Jaimie Tapper and Johan Persson on the birth of Lukas Christopher earlier this season.

Members will be interested to know that Adam Cooper is joining the cast of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre from 6 March – 20 August.

Annual Dinner 2006 - Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of The Royal Ballet
We are now able to confirm that our Annual Dinner will be on Wednesday 24th May. Once again, it will take place at the Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road. Dinner is at 8.00pm. A private bar is available from 7.00pm. The dinner will cost £31.

This year’s dinner celebrates The Royal Ballet’s 75th Anniversary. Given this, the popularity of our dinner last season and our growing membership, we expect a very heavy demand for tickets, so early application is advised. Initially, this year’s dinner will be open to members only. If there are still vacancies by the end of March, we will open it up to members’ guests. (You may apply for a guest on the application form, but, if you do, please send two separate cheques and two stamped addressed envelopes.) There will be a maximum of 140 places for members and 35 for an exciting array of dancers of all ranks, Company management, etc. We will not be announcing the guest list until the May newsletter. You will then have an opportunity to let us know which dancers you would like to sit near.