November 2008 newsletter

SINCE OUR LAST NEWSLETTER we have had three very interesting meetings. At the first in October we were delighted to welcome Ballet Mistress, Ursula Hageli, as our guest. She spoke of her training at the Royal Ballet School and her very varied career with Stuttgart, Northern and London City Ballet companies, as well as her work with the Royal Ballet Education department and her own small company with Richard Slaughter. It was of particular interest to members to hear of the part Svetlana Beriosova had played in her early career. Ursula then gave us a fascinating insight into her role as ballet mistress, referring in particular to the current productions of Swan Lake and Manon.

At the next meeting, we welcomed Soloist Eric Underwood. Eric spoke of his training in America and of his career with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and American Ballet Theatre before he joined the Royal Ballet in 2006. Since joining, Eric has been very fortunate in being involved in many of the Company’s new works, working with Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon and William Tuckett. Members were pleased to hear that Eric enjoys London and is very happy in The Royal Ballet.

At our first meeting in November, we were very pleased to welcome Principal Character Artist and choreographer Alastair Marriott and Soloist Jonathan Howells as our guests. They spoke of their long and varied careers, including reminiscences of working with De Valois, Ashton and MacMillan. We are very grateful to our membership secretary, Joan Seaman, for coming out of retirement to carry out this interview, stepping in to replace Deputy Chairman, Sylvia Tyler, who was ill. The Chairman was at the International Dance Festival in Havana. Alastair and Jonathan provided a very entertaining evening.

For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on this 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, please send a stamped, addressed envelope to Joan Seaman, our membership secretary, at 56 Turney Road, London SE21 8LU.

Future meetings
Our next meeting is on Friday 28 November and is preceded by our AGM. It therefore starts at 6.45 p.m. It is with great pleasure that we welcome Principal, Marianela Nuñez, as our guest that evening. It is amazingly four years since Marianela last spoke to us. During this period she has received ecstatic reviews for a diverse range of roles and is in demand internationally. In December she dances Gamzatti in Milan. Last summer she danced Juliet for the first time and she has just appeared in the new McGregor ballet, Infra as well as Glen Tetley’s Voluntaries. We can expect a very enjoyable evening.

The only meeting during the next month is on Wednesday 10 December. As a very special pre-Christmas treat we welcome our Founder President, David Drew, as our guest. It will be David’s first talk to the Association since he retired from the Royal Ballet. He has continued as a guest Principal Character Artist and amongst other activities, his scenario for The Three Musketeers was danced by Northern Ballet Theatre. Always a popular speaker, we can expect a very entertaining evening.

Meetings, unless otherwise stated, begin at 7.30 p.m. 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). Doors open at 6.30 p.m. 

Dates for next season
These will probably include Wednesday 14 January, Friday 23 January, Wednesday 18 February, Wednesday 25 February, Friday 6 March, Tuesday 10 March, Friday 17 April, Friday 8 May, Wednesday 20 May, Wednesday 17 June, Wednesday 15 July.  Please check meeting dates carefully as they sometimes change to avoid clashes with other events.

Annual Dinner 2009
This year we celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Association. We apologise for the delay in announcing the date of the dinner, but hope to be able to announce it at the AGM. Details will appear in January.

Ballet Association Website
We are very grateful to John Mallinson, who has taken over the organisation of the website. If you haven’t visited it for some time, we suggest you do so. It has been revamped and some reports of meetings include audio clips. We hope to include more photographs in future. There is also a map showing the venue of our meetings.

Congratulations, etc.
We send rather belated congratulations to Mara Galeazzi who married her longtime boyfriend Jurgen in the summer break. Congratulations also to those who have had babies in the last year – Zenaida Yanowsky, Vanessa Fenton and ex-Royal Ballet Dancers Sarah Wildor and Adam Cooper.

Members were saddened to hear of the death of Nadia Nerina on 6 October. She joined Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet in 1946, transferring to Sadler’s Wells Ballet, later The Royal Ballet, the following year and had an illustrious career before retiring in 1968.

Nominations for the 2008 Critics Circle Dance Awards include Edward Watson (Best Male Dancer), Sarah Lamb (Best Female Dancer), Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon (Best Classical Choreographer), Martin Harvey and Eric Underwood (Spotlight Award Male Classical) and Yuhui Choe (Spotlight Award Female Classical). We wish all these nominees the best of luck.

The Society for Dance Research has organised a study day on Saturday 6 December – Antony Tudor and his role in British Dance to celebrate the centenary of Tudor’s birth. It will be held at the Kahn Studio at Sadler’s Wells. Details can be found on the SDR website.

If you have yet to renew your membership, please do so as soon as possible. This will be the last newsletter you receive if you don’t renew. Renewal forms should be sent to Joan Seaman, our membership secretary. 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.

Annual General Meeting
The meeting on Friday 28 November will be preceded by our AGM. Consequently the evening’s proceedings will commence at 6.45 p.m. It will be held at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. The AGM will be followed by guest speaker, Marianela Nuñez, at 7.30 p.m.


Minutes of previous Annual General Meeting
Matters Arising
Chairman’s Report
Financial Report
Election of Committee
Any Other Business

At this meeting we shall be electing Honorary Officers and Committee Members. The current Committee is David Bain ( Chairman and Organising Secretary), Sylvia Tyler (Deputy Chairman), Joan Seaman (Membership Secretary), Melanie Shipton (Treasurer), Liz Bouttell (Reporting Secretary), Brian Don, Geoffrey Griffiths, Rachel Holland and Belinda Taylor. All members of the current committee have indicated they wish to continue on the committee. Anyone interested in joining the committee should phone David to discuss what it entails. If we have more than one nomination an election may be held.