April 2007 newsletter

WE HAD TWO VERY entertaining meetings in March. First Artist, Zachary Faruque, spoke of his career so far, talking, in particular, about his time at The Royal Ballet School and the male role in ballet. He gave us considerable insight into life in the corps de ballet. Later in the month, we welcomed Tamara Rojo as our guest. Tamara last came to talk to us five years ago. So the interview concentrated on the intervening years and her plans for the future. She was both amusing and analytical.

For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on our website, www.balletassociation.co.uk 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
For our meeting, on Wednesday 11 April, we are pleased to welcome First Soloist Deirdre Chapman. Born in Minneapolis, Deirdre danced with San Francisco Ballet from 1992, before joining Rambert Dance Company in 1998. She joined The Royal Ballet in 2002 and was promoted to First Soloist in 2003. Her repertoire is extensive and has included Webster in Wedding Bouquet and The Pianist in The Lesson. We look forward to an entertaining evening. This meeting will be at the Swedenborg Hall, see below.

Our guests at the meeting on Thursday 10 May will be Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Desmond Kelly and Marion Tait. We are delighted that Desmond, our President, and Marion are able to find time in their busy schedule to talk to us. BRB will have just returned from America. They will talk about all aspects of BRB, including Ballet Changed My Life –Ballet Hoo! Neither needs any introduction to members. Assistant Director at BRB, Desmond began his career at London Festival Ballet, becoming a principal at 21, before joining the Royal Ballet Companies in 1970, where he partnered many leading ballerinas including Margot Fonteyn, Antoinette Sibley and Natalia Markarova. Desmond was appointed Assistant Director in 1990. Marion is now Ballet Mistress. She joined The Royal Ballet’s touring company when she graduated from the Royal Ballet School. She has had an illustrious career dancing both ballerina and character roles. She created many roles in ballets by MacMillan and Bintley. To ensure everyone can get in, this meeting will be held at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church at 7.30pm.

Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church is at the eastern end of Shaftesbury Avenue, opposite the Shaftesbury Theatre. It is about 150 metres from the Swedenborg Hall. From Covent Garden you walk up Endell Street and cross over Shaftesbury Avenue. The church is then on your left. As the church has other meetings, please do not arrive before 6.30.

Provisional dates for the rest of this and start of next season are: Thursday 28 June, (Please note this is a change of date from 14 June), Thursday 12 July, Thursday 30 August, Thursday 13 September. All these dates are provisional. They will be changed, if they clash with ballet events at the Opera House. Please note, we have cancelled our meeting on Wednesday 16 May, as it coincides with Darcey Bussell’s performances at Sadler’s Wells. We also already have a meeting and the annual dinner.

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.

Members will be sorry to hear of injuries to Viacheslav Samodurov and Brian Maloney that will keep them from dancing for the rest of the season.

As you may know, the Association gives presents to those who leave after ten years in the Royal Ballet. At the end of this season, this will include Darcey Bussell , Belinda Hatley and Christopher Carr. Christopher will be returning as a guest to rehearse ballets, particularly in the Ashton repertoire. Any donations to their presents can be made at meetings or sent to the Chairman, at the address below.

Annual Dinner 2007
Our Annual Dinner takes place on Wednesday 2nd May at the Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road. Dinner is at 8.00 p.m. A bar is available from 7.00 p.m. The dinner is now full, with over 20 members and their guests on a waiting list. If you are on the waiting list, you will be allocated places as vacancies arise. There are always some cancellations because of illness or work. Some of these occur at the last minute. If you would be interested in coming at short notice to fill a cancellation, please contact David Bain (numbers below). If you have a ticket and can’t come, please let David know, even if it is at the last moment, by contacting him on his mobile. If you just don’t turn up, it leaves a space at a table.

We are delighted to announce an impressive guest list, including: Monica Mason, Jonathan Cope, Christopher Saunders, Dame Beryl Grey, Sir Peter and Lady Sonya Wright, Tony Hall, Jeanetta Laurence, Henry Roche, Johanna Adams, Georgie Perrott, Genesia Rosato, Alexandra Ansanelli, Brian Maloney, Rupert Pennefather, Richard Ramsey, Eric Underwood, Ernst Meisner, Fernando Montano, Erico Montes, Gemma Pitchley-Gale, Sabina Westcombe and Liam Scarlett. We are awaiting definite confirmation from some other guests (mainly principals and soloists) – an update will be given at the April meeting or can be obtained from the Chairman. It will be e-mailed to all those who provided an e-mail address. If you have a preference for whose table you would like to be on, please send it in writing, post or e-mail, to David Bain at the address below by 20th April. We cannot guarantee to be able to meet everyone’s requests, but will do our best, if you give us a number of alternatives. Each table will seat 10 –16, including two or three invited guests. So you should be seated no more than one place away from a guest.

As usual, we will have photographs taken of the guests on each table, during the evening. These will be available for members to purchase at a future meeting and some will be placed on our website. In the past we have been happy to allow members to take their own photos at the end of the meal. Unfortunately, the age of digital cameras has increased the amount taken to an unacceptable level and spoilt the evening for some dancers and members. If you bring a camera, please refrain from taking photos until after the speeches and only take photos of those members and dancers who were on your table. In that way, we can ensure that no dancer has to put up with excessive requests to be photographed and that opportunities to talk with dancers are not interrupted.