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October 2010 newsletter

AT OUR THIRD MEETING of the new season, we were delighted to welcome First Soloist Bennet Gartside, who gave us a very candid and entertaining account of his career. Welcoming the opportunities given to him by Ross Stretton during his time as Director, he also identified the roles and influences that had re-invigorated his career in recent years. He also spoke of his work in filming productions and organising the Company’s film archive.

After our AGM it was a pleasure to welcome Principal Johan Kobborg as our guest. After talking about the way his role in Onegin has developed, Johan spoke about his productions of La Sylphide, his choreography and galas he has mounted in Scandinavia. Having worked with many different directors, he also discussed what he perceived to be the attributes of good direction. He provided the large audience with a fascinating evening.

Future meetings
Our next meeting will be on Thursday 18 November when we welcome our President, Ballet Master Christopher Saunders as our guest. Christopher last came, just after he took over as President, with two of the newer members of the Company, to talk about that year’s tour some seven years ago. He had only recently moved across to work as Ballet Master. He now has a wealth of experience in the role and has impressed members at masterclasses by his skills in teaching. We welcome the opportunity to explore this aspect of the Company’s work and can expect a very interesting meeting.

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 is Tottenham Court Road. Doors open at 6.30 p.m. unless otherwise stated. Entrance is £4 for members, £3 for concessions, £8 for guests.

The provisional dates for the rest of the season are Wednesday 8 December, Friday 7 January, Tuesday 25 January, Wednesday 16 February, Wednesday 30 March, Thursday 14 April, Wednesday 11 May, Wednesday 18 May, Friday 3 June. Please note that the meetings originally scheduled on Friday 21 January, Wednesday 2 February, Friday 4 March and Wednesday 27 April have been cancelled as they clash with Royal Ballet events. Tuesday 25 January is an additional date. Some other dates may change if they clash with Royal Ballet events and others may be added, so please check each newsletter.

We have received thankyou cards from the 2010 recipients of our Royal Ballet School Awards.

Claudia Dean wrote: “Dear everyone at the Ballet Association. To win this special award at our end of year ceremony 2010 was one of the highlights in my year! I am very grateful for this acknowledgement by the Ballet Association. Your contribution is going towards my continued training at the Royal Ballet School and my future professional development. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting you all in the future. If I can help the Association in any way, please let me know. Kindest regards, Claudia Dean.”

Lachlan Monaghan wrote: “Dear Mr Bain and everyone at the Ballet Association. Thank you very much for the funding you have supplied. I have now started the 2nd Year and am very much enjoying it. Your generosity will assist me in completing this year. It is greatly appreciated. Regards, Lachlan Monaghan.”

Members will have an opportunity to meet Claudia and Lachlan on 25 January, when they will speak alongside Gary Norman.

If you haven’t already returned the renewal form to Sylvia Tyler please do so as soon as possible, but not later than the end of October. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

Annual General Meeting
At the AGM on 11 October meeting the following were elected to our committee: David Bain (Organising Secretary), Sylvia Tyler (Membership Secretary), Melanie Shipton (Treasurer), Liz Bouttell (Reporting Secretary), Rachel Holland, Geoffrey Griffiths, Chris Scott, Brian Don, Annette Fraser and Nathalie Dantes. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman will be elected at the next committee meeting.

Visit to Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 Exhibition
We have managed to arrange a private tour of the exhibition, Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929, at the Victoria and Albert Museum for members. This will be on Thursday 11 November between 9am and 10am and will be conducted by Jane Pritchard, the curator of the exhibition, who some members will have heard talk both amusingly and eloquently on ballet at Opera House education events. We will also be able to stay in the exhibition once it opens to the general public at 10am which may be necessary given the extent of the marvellous artefacts that the exhibition holds. The cost will be £10 which includes entry to the exhibition.

Visit to White Lodge Museum
We have managed to arrange a visit to White Lodge Museum which is the first dedicated ballet museum in the UK and holds the Royal Ballet School Collections. The visit will first include a tour of the facilities of the Lower School, followed by the museum. This will be on Sunday 21 November and will start at 11a.m. The cost of the visit will be £5 per person as a donation to White Lodge. Help with transport from the local station can be arranged.

Visit to Elmhurst School for Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet – 22-23 June 2011
Following very positive feedback from members after this year’s visit, we are planning a similar visit for next summer. It will include the first night of David Bintley’s Allegri Diversi and Carmina Burana, which is selling fast. We have reserved a number of seats in the Dress Circle and Stalls and will allocate these on a first-come, first-served basis.

We have reserved accommodation at the IBIS hotel for those who require it. We have chosen the IBIS as it is substantially cheaper than alternative hotels – £42 for a twin-bedded room for one or two people. However, you can make alternative arrangements if you wish, although you will have to meet the group at the IBIS on the Thursday morning if you require transport to Elmhurst.

Provisional programme (subject to change).

22 June
11.15 am Attend BRB class followed by lunch in the Green Room opposite the theatre
Afternoon at leisure after booking into the IBIS hotel
6.15 pm Interview of a BRB dancer in a Company studio
7.30 pm Performance Allegri Diversi and Carmina Burana

23 June
Following a leisurely breakfast, we will arrange transportation from the hotel to Elmhurst School for Dance. After registration and reception, members will enjoy a day in the school watching classes and rehearsals together with the presentation of the Association’s Annual Award to a student during lunch. The day will be hosted by our President, Desmond Kelly and will conclude at approximately 3.30 pm.

The overall cost will be £24 for the performance ticket, £42 for hotel room (twin-bedded so £21 each if two of you are sharing) and £15 to cover donations to BRB, etc. You will need to arrange your own transport to Birmingham. Very cheap train or coach fares can be obtained if booked well in advance.

If you are interested in attending, please print and complete the application form and return it with a non-returnable deposit of £15 and stamped addressed envelope to Brian Don, BA Committee, 5 Weirdale Avenue, London N20 0AN.

CHAIRMAN: David Bain