April 2008 newsletter

WE HAD TWO VERY enjoyable meetings during March. At the start of the month, we welcomed Principal Ivan Putrov as our guest. Ivan gave a very thoughtful account of his career since he was promoted to Principal in 2002. He spoke about the injury which kept him off stage for much of a year and was very generous in his appreciation of his various partners. Towards the end of the month we welcomed Soloist Joshua Tuifua. It is nine years since Joshua talked to the Association. He gave a very entertaining account of his career. He spoke about the impact of reviews, both by critics and online, and his interest in photography. Joshua is kindly providing us with some of his photos to raffle at our Annual Dinner. By the time you receive this newsletter we will have had our first April meeting with guest Jeanetta Laurence, Assistant Director, Royal Ballet. We are looking forward to an interesting evening.

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, please send a stamped, addressed envelope to Joan Seaman, our membership secretary, at 56 Turney Road, London SE21 8LU. We have recently caught up on a lot of overdue reports, including those on both our meetings this February.

Future meetings
Our second meeting in April is on Wednesday 30 April, at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. We are very pleased to welcome Principal, Thiago Soares, as our guest. Thiago last spoke to us in December 2003, long before his promotion to Principal in 2006. Born in Brazil, Thiago trained at the Centre for Dance, Rio de Janeiro, and joined the Rio de Janeiro municipal Ballet in 1998. Although Thiago has danced Romeo in Brazil, he makes his London debut in the role next month. His roles have included Onegin, Siegfried, Orion, Solor and many others. He was named Outstanding Male Artist (Classical) at the Critics’ Circle Dance Awards in 2004. We can expect an entertaining 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: Friday 30 May, Thursday 5 June, Thursday 19 June, Thursday 17 July.

N.B. Please note that the meeting in July has been moved from 3rd to 17th.

Jock Drewett
A memorial gathering for Jock will be held on Saturday 24th May, from 2.30 to 5pm at the Upper Vestry Hall, St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury (entrance Little Russell Street). Light refreshments will be served and the organisers are asking for a £5 donation from all who attend to help cover the costs. If you are likely to attend, please inform David Bain by the beginning of May, who will notify the organisers so they have a rough idea of numbers.

Swan Lake
Nicola Humphries, BBC Radio Documentaries, writes: “I am researching a documentary for BBC Radio 4 which is dedicated to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The programme is part of a series called ‘Soul Music’ which reveals the personal and emotional connections to pieces of music that never fail to move or inspire us. As Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is so synonymous with the ballet we are keen to focus on memories and interpretations that those who love ballet may hold in relation to this music. Perhaps there is a performance that stands out in someone’s mind? Or maybe the music reminds someone of a particular time or place in their lives? I do hope that this might be of interest and that there might be a way for people to share thir thoughts. We have until June 6th to record.”

Nicola’s contact details are: Nicola Humphries, BBC Radio Documentaries, BBC, Level 9, The Mailbox, Birmingham, B1 1RF
0121 567 6741

Other news
Principal Iain Mackay and Senior Soloist Silvia Jimenez left BRB at the end of the recent Plymouth week. The couple, who married last summer, have settled in Madrid, where Iain will be dancing with Angel Corella’s new company Ballet de España. Congratulations to Victoria Marr on her promotion to Senior Soloist and to Samara Downs and Kit Holder on their promotion to First Artist.

Members will be saddened to hear that Zachary Faruque has decided to stop dancing. He left the Royal Ballet last month and will be setting up a software business with his father.

Annual Dinner 2008
Our Annual Dinner takes place on Thursday 15th 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 around 30 members on a waiting list. If you have not received a ticket, it probably means you are on the waiting list, but it is worth checking with the Chairman, in case your ticket has got lost in the post. (Please do not ring David 18-24 April). 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.

This year’s dinner is a very special occasion. We will be marking the retirement of our President, Desmond Kelly, after 38 years with the Royal Ballet Companies. (A fund raising gala to mark Desmond’s retirement is being held on Saturday 28 June in Birmingham)

To mark this occasion, we are delighted to announce an impressive guest list, including: Monica Mason, Jonathan Cope, Christopher Saunders, Sir Peter Wright, Jeanetta Laurence, Anthony Russell-Roberts, Kevin O’Hare, David and June Drew, Desmond and Denise Kelly, Marion Tait, David Morse, Wayne McGregor, Barry Wordsworth, Alina Cojocaru, Johan Kobborg, Sarah Lamb, Roberta Marquez, Marianela Nunez, Thiago Soares, Johannes Stepanek, Joshua Tuifua, Helen Crawford, Giacomo Ciriaci, Laura McCulloch, Kristen McNally. We are awaiting definite confirmation from some other guests. An update will be given at the 30 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 1 May. We cannot guarantee to be able to meet everyone’s requests. We will do our best, but only 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. As this is a private dinner, please do not post your photos of dancers on any website.