May 2007 Newsletter

SINCE OUR LAST NEWSLETTER we have had two very different meetings. In April, Deirdre Chapman spoke of her very varied career, both in America and the UK. She spoke about the differences between San Francisco Ballet, Rambert and the Royal and her work with a variety of choreographers, including Christopher Bruce and Glen Tetley.

At our May meeting, we were delighted to welcome Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Desmond Kelly and Marion Tait. They spoke emotionally about their experiences during the Ballet Hoo project and the television programme Ballet Changed My Life. You couldn’t help be moved by some of the tales of the young people involved. They also kept members entertained with stories from their remarkable careers, as well as talking about the move from being dancers to ballet staff.

Members will be delighted to hear that Vanessa Palmer has given birth to a son, Jamie.

As members will know, a number off dancers are off injured. Alina Cojocaru is replaced in both Swan Lake and Symphonic Variations by Roberta Marquez. Carlos Acosta replaces Federico Bonelli in Swan Lake. Bennet Gartside replaces Viacheslav Samodurov in Checkmate.

The most recent casting (18 May) for Symphonic Variations is on 2(mat), 4, 7 June Sarah Lamb, Isabel McMeekan, Lauren Cuthbertson, Rupert Pennefather, José Martin, Yohei Sasaki and on 2(eve), 6, 8 June Roberta Marquez, Laura Morera, Belinda Hatley, Federico Bonelli, Stephen McRae, Ludovic Ondiviela.

Annual Dinner 2007
From the many messages we’ve received, it is clear that this year’s Annual Dinner was again one of our most successful, with over 170 present. As always, we are extremely grateful to the dancers and other Company members for giving their time to be with us. We had to make one or two table changes at the last moment. Apologies to anyone this disappointed, but from the buzz of conversation and smiling faces there can’t have been many of you. Sadly, Sir Peter and Lady Sonya Wright were unable to attend as Sonya had a fall. We sent her our love and wish her a speedy recovery. During the evening we presented bouquets to our Patron, Monica Mason, Dame Beryl Grey and Georgie Perrott. We were very pleased to welcome Dame Beryl, who celebrates her 80th birthday in June. Georgie retires from her role as Administrative Assistant to the Director at the end of this season. We will miss her greatly.

The final list of those who attended was: Monica Mason, Jonathan Cope, Christopher Saunders, Dame Beryl Grey, Tony Hall, Jeanetta Laurence, Henry Roche, Johanna Adams, Georgie Perrott, Federico Bonelli, Ivan Putrov, Tamara Rojo, Edward Watson, Genesia Rosato, Alexandra Ansanelli, Ricardo Cervera, Laura Morera, Hikaru Kobayashi, Brian Maloney, Richard Ramsey, Eric Underwood, Cindy Jourdain, Ernst Meisner, Erico Montes, Gemma Pitchley-Gale, Sabina Westcombe and Liam Scarlett.

As usual, we had photographs taken during the evening. These are available for members to purchase at £2 a copy (7”x5”). An album of these is available at meetings and some will be placed on our website.

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
In June we will have two meetings, both at the Swedenborg Hall. The first is an extra meeting, on Tuesday 5 June. Our special guest is Birmingham Royal Ballet, Principal Robert Parker. A favourite with audiences since he joined BRB in 1994, members will know that Robert is retiring at the end of this season to become an airline pilot. He has created many roles, mostly in ballets by David Bintley, including Hamlet in The Shakespeare Suite, Arthur and Mordred in Arthur, and the title roles in Beauty and the Beast and, most recently, Cyrano. He also created the lead in Kim Brandstrup’s Pulcinella. He received the Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Male Artist in 2003. He has danced all the major classical roles, as well as much of the Ashton and MacMillan repertoires. We can expect an entertaining evening. We expect many members will wish to say goodbye to Robert.

At our second meeting of the month on Thursday 28 June, we are delighted to welcome The Royal Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor. Wayne studied dance at University College Bretton Hall and the José Limón School, New York. He is the founder of Random Dance, a Resident Company of Sadler’s Wells for which he has created over thirty works. He has created Engram, Qualia, Symbiont(s) and, most recently, Chroma for The Royal Ballet. He has also created works for NDT, Stuttgart Ballet, ENB, San Francisco Ballet and Rambert Dance Company as well as a range of opera and theatre companies, film and television. He won Laurence Olivier Awards in 2004 and 2007 and a Critics’ Dance Circle Award in 2007. We are extremely grateful to Wayne for finding time in his busy schedule to come and talk to us. He has just returned from Mali, where Random were dancing. Wayne was appointed Resident Choreographer earlier this season. We can expect a fascinating evening exploring the role he has been given, working with young choreographers in the Company as well as talking about his career so far.

With two meetings in June and the Companies away, we have decided to cancel the meeting which was planned for Thursday 12 July. We will put some extra meetings in at the start of the season.

Provisional dates for the start of next season are: 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.