February 2008 newsletter

DURING FEBRUARY WE HAD two very interesting meetings. At the start of the month, we welcomed First Soloist, Martin Harvey, as our guest. As always, Martin was very entertaining but also gave a very thoughtful analysis of his changing interpretations of dramatic roles. He spoke about his guest appearances in Birmingham and gave us some insight into his possible future. In the middle of the month, we welcomed Soloist Giacomo Ciriaci and First Artist, Helen Crawford. A couple in real life, they talked of their careers in the Company and Giacomo’s plans to open a wine bar. A delightful couple, they recounted many amusing experiences. We gave Giacomo a present from the Association to mark his time with the Company. He had asked for a pair of good quality biking gloves and had chosen the best pair in the shop. We wish him a very successful new career and look forward to holding an event in the wine bar sometime in the future.

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. We have recently caught up on a lot of overdue reports.

Future meetings
We have two meetings in March. On Thursday 6 March at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church we are delighted to welcome Principal dancer Ivan Putrov. Born and trained in Kiev, Ivan won the Prix de Lausanne and Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition before joining the Royal Ballet School in 1997 and the Company in 1998. He was promoted to Principal in 2002. He last talked to us in that year, six months before he was promoted. He has lots to talk about, including a serious injury that kept him from performing for a year. In 2004 he received the Medal for Work and Achievement from the President of Ukraine. His repertoire is extensive and has included Glen Tetley’s Pierrot Lunaire and, most recently, the lead in Kenneth MacMillan’s Different Drummer. When Ivan last spoke, he talked about his family and his training and brought many photographs to share with members. This time we will concentrate on his six years as a Principal. We can expect an interesting evening.

Our second meeting of the month is on Wednesday 26 March, again at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. We are very pleased to welcome Soloist, Joshua Tuifua, as our guest. Of British-Tongan parentage, Joshua joined the Company in 1992 from the Royal Ballet School. He was promoted to Soloist in 2005. During his career he has performed a range of dancing and character roles, including Benvolio, the Gentleman in Manon, Lysander, Gamache and, most recently, Eros in Sylvia. He has created many roles, in ballets as diverse as Sawdust and Tinsel, Turn of the Screw, Masquerade and This House Will Burn. A favourite with members, who has attended many of our Annual Dinners, Joshua last talked to us in 1999. He is sure to provide a very entertaining evening.

On Thursday 17 April at the Swedenborg Hall we are delighted to welcome as our guest, Jeanetta Laurence, Assistant Director of The Royal Ballet. Jeanetta danced with The Royal Ballet Touring Company, the New Group and SWRB. She was promoted to soloist with SWRB in 1978 and left the Company the following year to have a family. In 1983, she founded Dance Directory, an agency for freelance dancers and choreographers, with Rashna Homji. After she left the agency she worked for director and choreographer Gillian Lynne before joining The Royal Ballet as Artistic Administrator in 1990. She was appointed Assistant Director in 2003. Jeanetta also last talked to the Association in 1999, so there will be much to talk about.

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: Wednesday 30 April, Friday 30 May, Thursday 5 June, Thursday 19 June, Thursday 3 July. Please note that the meeting scheduled for Friday 4 April has been cancelled.

Other news
Philip Gammon is giving a recital of the Chopin music used in Dances at a Gathering on Sunday 9 March at 3pm at the Parish Church of Saint George, Headstone, Harrow. The box office can be contacted on 020 8863 8937 and tickets are £6.

Annual Dinner 2008
As confirmed in the last newsletter, our Annual Dinner will be on Thursday 15th 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 £32. Most of the tickets have already been taken, but there are a few left at the time of writing. If you are unsuccessful in getting a ticket, you will be put on a waiting list. Last year, about twenty of those on the waiting list got places at the dinner because of illnesses, etc., so it is always worth applying and keeping your fingers crossed. We will not be announcing the guest list until the April newsletter. You will then have an opportunity to let us know which dancers you would like to sit near.