October 2007 Newsletter

SINCE OUR LAST NEWSLETTER we have had three excellent meetings. At our first meeting in September, we welcomed Senior Ballet Stage Manager, Johanna Adams. She provided a fascinating evening, speaking about her career with Festival Ballet, Berlin Ballet and The Royal. She provided us with a wonderful insight into both what happens back stage during a performance and the preparation for mounting a ballet both at the Opera House and on tour. She brought with her an array of materials including prompt books and stage plans, which were passed round for members to study. From the many comments received since, it is clear we must persuade Johanna to return another season.

At our next two meetings, we welcomed two of the Company’s newer Principals, Laura Morera and Sarah Lamb. They both gave us entertaining evenings speaking about their very different careers, Laura training at the Royal Ballet School and Sarah in Boston. Both had many funny experiences to relate, but also talked of the pressures that exist in the ballet world. We apologise about some difficulties with the sound system, particularly at the last meeting. The Baptist Church is working with engineers to rectify this.

For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on both our own website, www.balletassociation.co.uk and on www.ballet.co.uk, 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 www.criticaldance.com. 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 two meetings in November. The first on Friday 2 November at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church is preceded by our AGM and therefore starts at 6.45. After the AGM we are delighted to welcome Principal, Mara Galeazzi, as our special guest. Mara last spoke to the Association in July 2003 around the time she was promoted to Principal. Since then, much has happened in her life. She delighted audiences with her interpretation of Mary Vetsera, Marie Larisch, Manon, Lescaut’s Mistress, Columbine and Tatiana. She has guested with Scottish and Stuttgart Ballets. But at the same time she has battled with health problems, as well as setting up a charity, Dancing for the Children, for children in Africa and organised her own shows in Italy, Mara in Motion. Please try to arrive before 6.45, if attending the AGM, or after 7.15 if only attending the talk.

The second meeting is on Thursday 22 November at the Swedenborg Hall. As our guest for this evening, we welcome First Artist Francesca Filpi. Francesca grew up in Devon and trained at Stonelands, Dawlish and the Paris Opera Ballet School before joining the Royal Ballet School, where she danced solo and pas de quatre from Swan Lake at her graduation performance. Joining the Company at only 16, she has danced a wide variety of roles, including Prayer in Coppélia, a Harlot in Romeo and Juliet, Nurse in Onegin and Arabian in Nutcracker. However, as some members will know, Francesca is also a Fellow of the Imperial Ballet Faculty and runs The Wells Summer School for young dancers every year. We can expect an interesting evening hearing about these two very different sides of her life.

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
The meeting on Friday 2 November will be preceded by our AGM. Consequently the evening’s proceedings will commence at 6.45pm. It will be held at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church.

1. Apologies
2. Minutes of previous Annual General Meeting
3. Matters Arising
4. Chairman’s Report
5. Financial Report
6. Election of Committee
7. Any Other Business

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.

Romeo and Juliet
Members may wish to know that the performance of Romeo and Juliet on 30 October will be the four hundredth performance in the Royal Opera House. To commemorate this achievement, there is a new, revamped programme. Our member, Margaret Stonborough, was commissioned to do an article finding out why this ballet is still so popular. She interviewed Monica Mason, Deborah MacMillan, John B. Read, Christopher Saunders, the Costume Supervisors, Philip Stafford (the fight director), Pat Pursey (responsible for the sets and stage crew), and Philip Mosley (now responsible for making sure everybody is rehearsed and fitted for costume). The result is 'It's a living, breathing thing' which members might find interesting and, therefore, might wish to purchase a programme.

Birmingham Royal Ballet
Congratulations to BRB Friends who celebrate their 25th Anniversary. Also congratulations to Jamie Bond, Alexander Campbell, Joseph Caley, Jenna Roberts and Tyrone Singleton who have all been promoted to Soloist, and Arancha Baselga, Jonathan Caguioa and Valentin Olovyannikov who have been promoted to First Artists.

We co-opted one extra member to the committee at the last AGM and, therefore, there are no vacancies. However, this should not stop anyone interested in applying to join the committee. Association members wishing to nominate candidates for election should write to the Chairman, David Bain, by Wednesday 9th November, using a copy of the attached nomination form. No nomination can be received at the AGM. Candidates for election must be proposed and seconded, in writing, by members of the Association. Anyone interested in joining the committee should phone David to discuss what it entails. If we have more than one nomination an election will be held.

If you haven’t already done so, please renew your membership as soon as possible. Please return the renewal form to Joan Seaman, as soon as possible, but not later than the end of October. There has been no rise to membership fees this year. Concessionary members should indicate which concession applies. This information will help us in analysing the profile of our membership. If you joined after the start of May, your membership covers this coming season.