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September/October 2009 newsletter

We have had a great start to the new season with two excellent meetings. At our August meeting, we were delighted to welcome Royal Ballet Principal Federico Bonelli and his wife, First Soloist, Hikaru Kobayashi. Whilst concentrating on their time in the Royal Ballet, they also spoke briefly about their training and time in Zurich and Dutch National Ballet companies. They also spoke a little about their experiences in Havana on the recent tour. Federico spoke of his previous time in Cuba, when as a student he entered their international competition. They gave us a very enjoyable evening and talked to members and posed for many pictures after the talk. The following week we welcomed Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, Natasha Oughtred. Natasha gave us a very entertaining evening. She spoke of her training and time in the Royal Ballet, including her reasons for leaving the Royal and joining BRB. It was fascinating to hear about the differences between the companies from a dancer’s perspective. It is often difficult for us to welcome dancers from Birmingham and we are very grateful to Natasha for sparing the time to come to London to talk to us and to our President, Marion Tait, for helping make the visit possible.

Future meetings
At our meeting on Friday 2 October we have our annual account of The Royal Ballet’s summer tour. We are delighted to welcome First Artists Nathalie Harrison and Lara Turk as our guests for this meeting. They will talk about their careers in The Royal Ballet and, in Lara’s case, previously in South Africa, before giving us a detailed account of the tour to Washington, Granada and Havana. Both stayed in Havana for a few days after the tour and were seen sampling the city’s restaurants before Nathalie returned to London and Lara investigated more of the Caribbean. We know members always enjoy this opportunity to hear of the experiences of two of the corps. We can expect a very enjoyable evening.

At our second meeting of the month on Thursday 15 October we are extremely pleased to welcome Principal Alina Cojocaru as our guest. It is some four years since Alina last spoke to a packed meeting of the Association. A lot has happened in that time, including a serious injury which kept Alina from performing for much of the last year. She returned to dance Giselle in April, to perform in Johan Kobborg’s Les Lutins and for the Royal’s tour. We can expect a fascinating evening hearing about Alina’s performances around the world as well as in London.

Meetings, unless otherwise stated, begin at 7.30 p.m. and are at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church which 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, if you face East (nearest tube isTottenham Court Road). Doors open at 6.30 p.m.

Provisional dates for the rest of the season are Friday 20 November, Tuesday 8 December, Friday 22 January, Tuesday 23 February, Wednesday 3 March, Wednesday 17 March, Wednesday 7 April, Friday 16 April, Thursday 13 May, Thursday 20 May, Thursday 27 May, Thursday 3 June, Thursday 17 June, Thursday 24 June. Some dates may change depending on commitments of speakers.

Royal Ballet School
Angela Wood, one of the recipients of the Ballet Association’s Annual Awards to the Royal Ballet School has written to thank us for the award:

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the five-hundred pounds towards my studying at the Royal Ballet School next year, it is such a blessing for me and my family. What a lovely organisation, helping aspiring dancers to reach their dreams – thank you for making my path easier. I will never forget your sincere generosity. Wishing you every success and happiness along with many thanks. Fondly, Angela Wood.

Annual Dinner 2009
Some dinner photographs have now been placed on our website. They will also be available at meetings.

If you haven’t already returned the renewal form, which was attached to the last newsletter, to Joan Seaman please do so as soon as possible, but not later than the end of October.  

Visit to Elmhurst School of Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet, 16-17 June 2010
If you have not yet returned the form indicating your interest in this visit, please do so asap so we can book places. Please return the form to Belinda Taylor. Forms may also be handed in at the next Ballet Association meeting. 

Founders of The Royal Ballet
Members may have heard that there is a service of dedication for a memorial tablet to the founders of The Royal Ballet (Ninette de Valois, Frederick Ashton, Constant Lambert and Margot Fonteyn) at 12 noon on Tuesday 17 November in Westminster Abbey. If you wish to attend you should apply in writing with a sae to: The Assistant Receiver (Protocol), Room 17, The Chapter Office, 20 Dean’s Yard, Westminster Abbey, London SW1P 3PA.

“Diaghilev the Man”
The Great Britain-Russia Society invite members of The Ballet Association to a talk on Wednesday 14th October by Dr Sjeng Scheijen, who will be speaking (in English) about his biography of Diaghilev. Copies of the book, which normally sells at £25 will be available at the meeting at the bargain price of £14. (Please bring the exact amount in cash.)

The meeting opens with drinks at 6.30, for a 7 p.m. start at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2TA. If you would like to attend, please send a cheque for £5 made payable to “The Great Britain-Russia Society” to Ms Ute Chatterjee, The Hon. Membership Secretary, 43 Kenilworth Court, Lower Richmond Road, London SW15 1EN.

Annual General Meeting
The meeting on Friday 20 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 a guest speaker, tbc, at 7.30.


  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

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), Rachel Holland, Geoffrey Griffiths, Belinda Taylor, Chris Scott and Brian Don. All of the current members have indicated they wish to continue on the committee.

Association members wishing to nominate candidates for election should write to the Chairman, David Bain, by Friday 21 November, using the nomination form attached. 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 may be held.

Note: The Chairman and Deputy Chairman are appointed by the Committee at their first meeting after the AGM. Please send any nominations to the Chairman, address below.

CHAIRMAN: David Bain, 23 Capstan Square, Stewart Street, London E14 3EU