March 2006 Newsletter

SINCE OUR LAST NEWSLETTER we have had three very enjoyable meetings. In February, we welcomed Brian Maloney as our guest. Brian charmed members with tales of his school days in America and his career with Le Jeune Ballet de France and The Royal Ballet, speaking very openly about the long period he was off because of illness and injury. The following week, we were able to watch two young choreographers at work on pieces for First Drafts. We are extremely grateful to Ernst Meisner and Pietra Mello-Pittman for agreeing to rehearse their work for us, and to the dancers – Natasha Oughtred, Gary Avis, Caroline Duprot, Laura McCulloch, Gemma Pitchley-Gale, Emma Maguire and Sabine Westcombe. It is an unusual privilege to be able to watch a rehearsal of new works, which we know members enjoyed. We are especially grateful to Pietra and her dancers. She had expected to rehearse the pas de deux from her piece, only to find she was missing one half of the couple, and had, therefore, to rehearse the section for all the girls, including herself.

At our second meeting in March, a packed Royal Ballet School greeted Jonathan Cope. Jonathan spoke about his accident and movingly about his farewell on stage after the performances of The Firebird. Whilst the interview concentrated on the three years since he last talked to the Association and his experiences as a repetiteur, he also talked about earlier experiences including his time in school. As might be expected, the meeting ran over, with Jonathan generously spending time to talk with groups of members after his talk. We were delighted to be able to announce at the meeting that Jonathan has agreed to become a President of the Association.

For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on both our own website, and on, 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 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, but have posted a few recently.

Future meetings
We are very pleased to welcome Edward Watson as our guest at our meeting on Thursday 6 April. Promoted to Principal at the start of this season, Edward’s career has been followed with interest by many members since he was at the Royal Ballet School. He is particularly recognised for the roles he has created in new works, such as Wayne McGregor’s Symbiont(s) and Qualia. Roles this season have included Romeo, the Brother in My Brother, My Sisters and The Lesson.

On Wednesday 10 May, we are delighted to welcome the newest member of the Company, First Soloist Alexandra Ansanelli. Members will have seen make her debut with the Company in the Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux and then in Jerome Robbins Afternoon of the Faun. She is currently reviving the role that was created on her by Christopher Wheeldon in Polyphonia. Trained at the School of American Ballet Theatre, Alexandra joined New York City Ballet at the age of 16 and was made a Principal in 2003. She joined the Royal Ballet in January. We know members will be keen to welcome her to London.

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.

Provisional dates for the rest of this season and the start of the next season are: Wednesday 14 June, Thursday 13 July, Wednesday 30 August.

Special Royal Ballet 75th Anniversary Event
On Friday 19th May at 3.00 pm, we have arranged a guided tour of the 75th Anniversary exhibitions at the Royal Opera House. We will be escorted by the Company Archivist. The tour will be followed by tea at 4.30pm. Numbers for this very special event will be restricted to 30. Priority will be given to members who have submitted articles, etc. for our compilation of members’ memories of the Company. Other places will be allocated by ballot. If you would like to attend, please submit your name to the Chairman in writing (post or e-mail) by 19 April. Successful applicants will be notified by the beginning of May.

There is still time to submit 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.

Annual Dinner 2006 - Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of The Royal Ballet
Our Annual Dinner on Wednesday 24th May at the Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road is already full. If you forgot to apply, you can still do so and your names will be added to the waiting list. (There are always some members who drop out through illness or business commitments, so it is still worth applying. Details were in the last newsletter. An application form can be obtained from Joan Seaman and David Bain). We will be announcing the guest list in the May newsletter. You will then have an opportunity to let us know which dancers you would like to sit near.

Birmingham Royal Ballet have announced that James Barton and Nathanael Skelton have joined the Company from Elmhurst School for Dance. Juan Torres, Mateo Klemmayer and Letizia Giuliani have left.
Both companies have announced their 2006/7 seasons. As some members are not Friends of ROH or BRB, we summarise the seasons below.

BRB start with Romeo and Juliet which they bring to Sadler’s Wells at the end of October. This is followed by The Nutcracker. On 25 November the will be a Gala Performance to celebrate Sir Peter Wright’s 80th birthday. In February, there is the premiere of David Bintley’s new production of Cyrano with music by Carl Davis and a Stravinsky Celebration featuring Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Symphony in Three Movements. The summer season is made up of Peter Wright’s Coppélia and a mixed bill containing Oliver Hindle’s The Four Seasons, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs and John Cranko’s Pineapple Poll.

The Royal Ballet starts its season on 5 October with Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Tetley’s Voluntaries and Kylian’s Sinfonietta. Other mixed bills are: Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments with new works by Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor; La Sylphide with Rhapsody and with Napoli Divertissements; Balanchine’s Apollo and Theme and Variations with a new work by Alastair Marriott; MacMillan’s La Fin du Jour, Tetley’s Pierrot Lunaire with a new William Tuckett Seven Deadly Sins; and finally de Valois’ Checkmate, Ashton’s Symphonic Variations and MacMillan’s Song of the Earth. Full length works are de Valois’ Coppélia, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cranko’s Onegin and MacMillan’s Mayerling.