November 2006 newsletter

OUR APOLOGIES THAT SOME of you thought you had missed a newsletter. The October newsletter was early because of the change of venue of the October meeting and this one is late because of the Chairman’s inefficiency!

Since our last newsletter, we have had two very special meetings, both in The Clore Studio. In October we welcomed Dame Beryl Grey, who entertained us with stories of the early days of The Royal Ballet, including the lengthy tours of the States, her time in Russia and as a guest around the world. Dame Beryl only touched on her time a Director of Festival Ballet and her involvement with English National and the Royal in recent years and left members wanting to hear more.

In November, following our AGM, we were delighted to welcome our Patron, Monica Mason. Monica spoke about her planning of the 75th Anniversary seasons and plans for the future. She also gave an interesting insight into the changing personnel in the Company and of planning new choreography. Members volunteered many suggestions of works that they would like to see back in the repertoire.

For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on our website, once the report has been checked by the guest speaker. 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.

Future meetings
Our next meeting is on Friday 15 December and we have a special pre-Christmas treat. Our guest will be Principal dancer, Johan Kobborg, who will talk about his productions of La Sylphide and Napoli Divertissements. Johan has not been dancing recently because of an injury, but is extremely busy. We are delighted that he has found time in his schedule to talk to us, in between rehearsals and costume design. We know this will be a popular meeting and suggest you arrive early to avoid being disappointed. The meeting will be restricted to members only up to 7.15pm. If there still seats at that time, we will open the meeting to guests. As announced at the AGM we hope to move to a larger venue for some meetings in the New Year.

Provisional dates for the rest of next season are:Thursday 18 January, Thursday 22 February, Thursday 15 March, Wednesday 11 April, Wednesday 16 May, Thursday 14 June, Thursday 12 July. Please note these dates are provisional. They will be changed, if they clash with ballet events at the Opera House. There may be some additional dates added later.

Meetings, unless otherwise stated, begin at 7.30 p.m. and are held at the Swedenborg Hall, off Bloomsbury Way (nearest tube Holborn). Doors open at 6.30 p.m. Admission: Members £3, Concessionary Members £2, Guests £7. The Swedenborg Hall seats a maximum of 100 people, so turn up early to be sure of getting in.

Annual General Meeting
At our Annual General Meeting the current committee was re-elected:- David Bain (Organising Secretary), Joan Seaman (Membership Secretary), Melanie Shipton (Treasurer), Liz Bouttell (Reporting Secretary), Sylvia Tyler, Geoffrey Griffiths, Rachel Holland, Belinda Taylor and Brian Don. The Chairman and Deputy-Chairman will be elected at the next committee meeting. A copy of the Chairman’s report is enclosed with this newsletter for those members who weren’t at the AGM or receive the newsletter by e-mail.

The Royal Ballet has announced that Wayne McGregor has been appointed as Resident Choreographer to the Company from 1 December 2006. Members who enjoyed the recent performances of his Chroma will be delighted to hear this news. The Association will be writing to congratulate him.

Members will have seen in the press that Darcey Bussell decided to retire from dancing at the end of this season. It is likely that her last performance will be in the Company’s mixed bill a the beginning of June.

As you may have heard, Tom Whitehead has been given leave of absence from The Royal Ballet to dance in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, which is at Sadler’s Wells from 13 December until 21 January 2007. We wish Tom great success with this exploit.

Maia Makhateli, sister of the Royal’s David Makhateli, has joined Birmingham Royal Ballet as a soloist and recently made her debut as Sugar Plum Fairy.

The UK Dance Awards have an Audience Award for Favourite Company. If you would like to vote, you should text the name of the company to 07946 702700.

A lot of ballet is planned for television over Christmas and into the New Year. These include a Royal Ballet documentary, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in Giselle, and three masterclasses on Tchaikovsky’s ballets with Sir Anthony Dowell, Dame Antoinette Sibley, Sir Peter Wright and Monica Mason over Christmas. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Ballet Hoo will also be repeated. A celebration of Tchaikovsky in January and February will include the Royal’s Sleeping Beauty and a documentary by Darcey Bussell.

The Royal Ballet has announced a large number of cast changes recently. These include Hristov replaces Putrov and Galeazzi with Makhateli (20)/ Bonelli replace Tapper/ Pennefather in Nutcracker; Yanowsky replaces Tapper in Apollo; Marquez replaces Tapper, Duprot replaces Marquez, Bond replaces Duprot, Gartside replaces Avis and Avis replaces Whitehead and tba in Onegin ; Galeazzi replaces Tapper and Hatley replaces Galeazzi in Mayerling. The new Marriott is Children of Adam with two casts – Benjamin, Pennefather, McRae and Lamb, Harvey, Ondiviela and Seven Deadly Sins has one cast, Yanowsky, Nunez.

If you haven’t already done so, please renew your membership. This newsletter will be the last received by those who fail to renew their membership. Last season we ended with 460 members. Already we approach 400, but some regulars have yet to rejoin.

Ballet Russes
At our October meeting we gave three copies of the Ballet Russes DVD as raffle prizes. The copies have now arrived and the Chairman will be contacting the winners to arrange collection of them.

Annual Dinner Photos
A selection of photos from this year’s dinner can be seen on our website. Photos can be ordered off the site or from the album at meetings.

Annual Dinner 2007
Our annual dinner will be on Wednesday 2 May at the Rubens Hotel. An application form will be attached to the next newsletter in early January.