February 2007 newsletter

SINCE OUR LAST NEWSLETTER we have had two very entertaining meetings. In January, Stephen McRae talked about his training in Australia, the Prix de Lausanne, his time at The Royal Ballet School and his career so far in The Royal Ballet. He also spoke about his work with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg and new work that had been choreographed on him. In February, Gary Avis talked about his career since leaving the Royal Ballet to form K Ballet in Japan. He gave us considerable insight into performing in Japan, before speaking about his time in English National Ballet and his eventual return to The Royal Ballet. He spoke about how he prepared for character roles, including Madge in La Sylphide. This meeting was our first to use Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. Feedback from members has been very positive about it as a venue. Unfortunately, the meeting coincided with snow hitting London and its surrounds which meant some members couldn’t get there.

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
We have two meetings in March. The first is on Thursday 15 March and will be at the Swedenborg Hall. We are pleased to welcome First Artist, Zachary Faruque, as our guest. Born in Northampton, Zachary trained at the Royal Ballet School. He was runner-up in the Young British Dancer of the Year 2001. He joined The Royal Ballet in 2003 and was promoted to First Artist in 2006. His repertoire has included the lead male in Les Noces, Hans Peter/The Nutcracker, and the pas de trios in Les Rendezvous, as well as roles in all the Company’s major works and some new choreography. We know that members enjoy the opportunity to meet the younger members of the Company and look forward to an entertaining evening.

Our second meeting is on Friday 30 March. (Please note that this is a change of date – not 23 March as originally announced.) We are delighted to welcome as our guest, Principal Tamara Rojo, who has been exciting audiences with her portrayal of Odette/Odile in recent weeks. It is five years since Tamara last spoke to the Association; an action packed five years in which Tamara has performed as a guest around the world as well as delighting audiences at the Opera House. 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: Wednesday 11 April, Thursday 10 May, Wednesday 16 May, 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.

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.

Advance notice. Our guests at the meeting on Thursday 10 May will be Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Desmond Kelly and Marion Tait. We will provide more information about this meeting in our next newsletter, but 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 the Bally Hoo Project.

Members will be saddened to hear of the deaths recently of three of our longer serving members: Christine Aylward, Anita Pini and Marjorie Taylor. Anita had membership number 85, one of our earliest members. The Association has received a number of donations from the friends of Marjorie Taylor in her memory, for which we are very grateful. We will miss them all. Members may also have heard that Glen Tetley died on 3 February. His Pierrot Lunaire is being danced later in the season.

Earlier this year we gave the second £2,500 towards the Royal Ballet’s 75th Anniversary Syndicate. Jeanetta Laurence wrote ‘to thank the Ballet Association once again for its extreme generosity’ and asked that we pass on her ‘personal thanks to the Association; your generosity is very much valued by us all here at The Royal Ballet.’

Members may have heard that an exhibition, Dancing Through the War: The Royal Ballet 1939-1946 runs at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms until 20 May. Admission £11/£9. On 13 March at 7.00pm Jean Bedells, Julia Farron and Pauline Clayden will share reminiscences. To book call 020 7766 0155/0152.

Members will be pleased to hear the Alastair Macaulay, a former member of the Association, has been appointed dance critic of the New York Times.

We congratulate Carlos Acosta on being named Best Male Classical Dancer in the National Dance Awards and receiving the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. Miyako Yoshida was named Best Female Classical Dancer and Stephen McRae, Best Emerging Dancer, at the National Dance Awards and Wayne MacGregor’s Chroma for The Royal Ballet won the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. Our congratulations to them all.

Ernst Meisner, who previously produced his own show BalletMoves, ran a workshop and performance over a January weekend for 80 children from state schools in Kent. A member has produced a report on the weekend, which is posted on our website. A copy can also be obtained from the Chairman.

Annual Dinner 2007
Our Annual Dinner will be on Wednesday 2nd 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. An application form was sent with the last newsletter. The dinner is now full with a waiting list for places. You can still apply to go on the waiting list, if you are happy to fill a vacancy at short notice. If you lost your application form please contact Joan Seaman, who will send you a copy. We will not be announcing the guest list until the next newsletter in early April. You will then have an opportunity to let us know which dancers you would like to sit near.