November 2007 Newsletter

FOLLOWING OUR AGM AT the start of November, we welcomed Principal dancer, Mara Galeazzi. Always a favourite with members of the Association, Mara spoke of her career since her promotion to Principal, her shows in Italy and performances in Africa for her Charity, Dancing for the Children. She spoke movingly about Africa, her own illness and of the death of Glen Tetley, who had used her so early in her career in La Ronde. Members will be pleased to know that the difficulties with sound which we experienced earlier in the season have been rectified.

By the time you receive this newsletter, we will have had our second November meeting, where our guest is First Artist, Francesca Filpi talking of her role as a Fellow of the Imperial Ballet Faculty and the Wells Summer School for young dancers which she organises every year.

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.

Future meetings
We have only one meeting in December. On Thursday 6 December at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church we are delighted to welcome Soloist, Thomas Whitehead, as our guest. Born in Bradford, Tom trained at Arts Educational and the Royal Ballet School. He danced in Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto in his graduation year before joining The Royal Ballet in 1994. He was promoted to Soloist in 2002. Tom has a vast repertoire which has included José, Espada, Paris, Tybalt, Hilarion and the Gaoler in Manon. Last season he was given leave of absence to dance with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures as the Swan/ Stranger in Swan Lake both in London and on a world tour. We are very pleased that Tom is able to talk to us on his return to the Company about his experiences last year, as well as his career in the Company.

We have two meetings in early January, both at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. On Wednesday 2 January we are very pleased to welcome First Soloist José Martin. Born in Madrid, José trained at the Victor Ullate Ballet School and then the School of American Ballet. Before joining The Royal Ballet in 2002, he was a soloist with San Francisco Ballet, Zurich Ballet, ENB and Boston Ballet. He was promoted to First Soloist in 2005. He has danced leading roles in works by many choreographers including Bintley, Duarto, Kudelka, Morris, Robbins, Welch and Van Manen. Since joining the Royal his repertory includes Bluebird, Lescaut, Mercution, Bronze Idol, Jester, Bryaxis, Alain, lead Hungarian Officer, Puck and Gurn. In 2004 he was awarded the Léonide Massine Positano Prize. José’s experience in a number of companies and knowledge of new choreography will make him a very interesting guest.

The following week, on Wednesday 9 January we welcome our fourth Principal ballerina of the season, Roberta Marquez. We are delighted that Roberta has agreed to talk to us on her return to London after a gala performance in Rio where she will partner fellow Brazilian, Thiago Soares. Roberta trained at the Maria Olenewa State Dance School before joining the Municipal Theatre Ballet, Rio de Janeiro in 1994. She was promoted to Principal in 2002. Her repertory included Aurora, Odette/Odile, Nikiya, Swanhilda, Juliet, Katerina in Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew, Chloé, Sugar Plum Fairy and Giselle. Her awards include Best Dancer of the Year, Rio de Janeiro Dance Awards 2001 and, in the same year, the Silver Medal and Best Couple awards at the Moscow International Dance Competition. She was first seen in London when she appeared as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet in Makarova’s Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadère, as well as Giselle. She also danced Nikiya as a guest artist with ABT. In 2004, she joined The Royal Ballet as a Principal. Roles have included Cinderella, Lise, Sylphide, The Pupil in The Lesson and Afternoon of a Faun. She has just, to much acclaim, made her debut as Juliet. We can expect a very interesting evening.

Meetings, unless otherwise stated, begin at 7.30 p.m. They are usually held at either the Swedenborg Hall or Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. The two venues are a couple of hundred metres apart. Swedenborg Hall is in Barter Street, off Bloomsbury Way (nearest tube Holborn). It seats a maximum of 100 people, so turn up early to be sure of getting in. Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church is at the eastern end of Shaftesbury Avenue, opposite the Shaftesbury Theatre. From Covent Garden you walk up Endell Street and cross over Shaftesbury Avenue. The church is then on your left. (nearest tube Tottenham Court Road) This venue is larger and can accommodate our membership.

Doors open at 6.30 p.m. Admission: Members £3, Concessionary Members £2, Guests £7.

Dates for the rest of the season will, as far as possible, be taken from the following: Thursday 6 December, Wednesday 2 January, Wednesday 9 January, Friday 1 February, Wednesday 13 February, Thursday 6 March, Wednesday 26 March, Friday 4 April, Thursday 17 April, Wednesday 30 April, Friday 30 May, Thursday 5 June, Thursday 19 June, Thursday 3 July. However, other dates may be needed to fit in with speakers’ commitments. We have now removed Thursday 29 November, Thursday 14 February, Thursday 21 February, Friday 29 February, Thursday 24 April, Thursday 15 May from our list of meetings, although the last should be kept in your diary (see below).

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. At the subsequent committee meeting David Bain was re-elected as Chairman and Sylvia Tyler as Deputy-Chairman. 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. Minutes of the AGM will be posted on our website. Any member who was not present and would like a copy of the accounts should send a stamped addressed envelope to Joan Seaman.

Annual Dinner 2008
Our Annual Dinner for this season will be on Thursday 15 May at our usual venue of the Rubens Hotel. Details will be in the January newsletter.

If you haven’t already done so, please renew your membership. Please return the renewal form to Joan Seaman, as soon as possible. This will be the last newsletter you receive if you do not renew. Any membership queries should be addressed to Joan on 020 8670 4671.


The first exhibition of photographs by dancer/photographer VIACHESLAV SAMODUROV
Gallery hours 12 – 5 Wednesday – Sunday
020 7729 509

In recent years Viacheslav Samodurov has studied and practised photography. His subjects have been drawn from his experiences as a performer concerned with the concepts of movement and stillness. This applies whether pictures of dancers or architectural structures. The photographs of Viacheslav Samodurov are an intimate view of the normal working practices of dancers at the Royal Opera House in London. Using his privileged access as a principal dancer at the ROH and his close relationship with dancer colleagues, he produces work which is innovative in regard to the study of movement. His use of photography whatever the subject, is always extremely engaging.