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January 2011 newsletter


We were thrilled to welcome Principal Tamara Rojo as our first guest of the New Year. Tamara provided us with a fascinating evening speaking about the last three years of her career. This included working on new choreography with Kim Brandstrup and Liam Scarlett and her time shadowing Karen Kain, Director of the National Ballet of Canada, after participating in the Dance East Retreat for potential directors.

Future meetings
At our second meeting of the month on Tuesday 25 January we have an all Australian evening when we welcome Gary Norman, Senior Ballet Teacher at The Royal Ballet School, who will be accompanied by the winners of the Association’s 2010 RBS Awards, Claudia Dean and Lachlan Monaghan. Details about this meeting were in the last newsletter. Because of the timing of this newsletter and the speed of post, this meeting may have already occurred by the time you receive this notification.

Please note that our February and March meetings are on Wednesdays, when they are preceded by concerts in the Church from 6-7pm, so please do not arrive before 7pm unless you wish to attend the concert, in which case arrive before 6pm. On Wednesday 16 February we are very pleased to welcome The Royal Ballet’s newest Principal, Nehemiah Kish, as our guest. He joined the Company at the start of this season. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Nehemiah trained at the National Ballet School of Canada and joined the National Ballet of Canada in 2001, becoming Principal in 2005. He joined the Royal Danish Ballet as Principal in 2008. His repertory includes James, Basilio, Albrecht, Onegin, Romeo, Siegfried, Prince Florimund, Petruchio, Solor, Danilo and Song of the Earth as well as many works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, James Kudelka and Christopher Wheeldon. Soon after joining The Royal he danced the pas de deux from Winter Dreams with Tamara Rojo at the International Ballet Festival in Havana. We can expect a very interesting evening.

At our following meeting on Wednesday 30 March we are delighted to welcome Principal Lauren Cuthbertson as our guest. It is amazingly six years since Lauren last spoke to the Association during which time much has happened, including her promotion to Principal in 2008. Lauren missed the whole of the 2009-10 season in London as result of a serious illness. She returned at the end of the season to dance Juliet on tour to much critical acclaim. Her wide repertory has included new works by Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor. Prior to this meeting we will have seen her debut in the title role in Alice in Wonderland, a much anticipated event. We can expect an entertaining evening.

Meetings, unless otherwise stated, begin at 7.30pm 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 Tottenham Court Road). Doors open at 6.30pm unless otherwise stated. Entrance is £4 for members, £3 for concessions, £8 for guests.

The provisional dates for the rest of the season are Thursday 14 April, Wednesday 11 May, Wednesday 18 May, Friday 3 June. Some other dates may change if they clash with Royal Ballet events and others may be added, so please check each newsletter.

Congratulations, etc
We send our congratulations to the Company’s Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor on receiving a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List and to Guest Teacher Loipa Araujo on being awarded the Légion d’honneur by the French, which she received from the French Ambassador in Cuba in January.

As announced when she spoke last summer, Vanessa Fenton left the Company after the last performance of Cinderella on New Year’s Eve. We have given her a cheque to buy a present from the Association and will announce what she has chosen in a later newsletter. Sadly we have to announce that Victoria Hewitt has also left the Company after a long period of injury. We will be sending her present to her. We wish them both the very best with their future careers.

We have received a letter of thanks from Ivan Putrov for the gift we gave him last summer. He writes:

“I am writing to thank The Ballet Association very much for their kind gift of money. During my years with the Royal Ballet, I have enjoyed tremendous support from the Association and from your members. The positive response of the audience makes a big difference for dancers. The period of my injury was a difficult time for me and it was equally challenging returning to the stage. I will never forget the flower throw after my first La Sylphide, organised by your members, which lifted my spirits after all those months of absence.

After I competed at the Prix de Lausanne back in 1996, I came to the Royal Ballet School. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a bursary by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation towards my RBS fees. The Foundation provided financial help when I needed it. I have accordingly sent the money you gifted to me on to the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, so that they can use it towards assisting a promising young dancer of today to train in London.

I will be dancing at Sadler’s Wells Theatre from 17 to 26 March 2011 in The Most Incredible Thing. This is a brand new full-length dance work based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story, with music by the Pet Shop Boys written especially for me and with choreography by Javier de Frutos. Booking is now open and I hope this event will be of interest to your members.”

2011 Visit to Elmhurst School for Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet, 22-23 June
All applications for this visit have been successful. There will be 36 members attending. Further detailed information will be sent to each individual at a later date. If you have any questions, please ring Brian Don on 020 8368 4419.

Visit to The Royal Ballet Upper School, 9 February 2011, 9.15am- 12.45pm
There are still places available for this visit to the Upper School to watch two classes which we hope will include our 2010 RBS Award winners, Claudia Dean and Lachlan Monaghan. The cost of the visit will be £12.50 for members and £15 for your guests. If you would like to attend, please send your name and address and the name of any guest you are bringing along with a cheque made payable to The Ballet Association to the Chairman, David Bain, at the address below. All monies collected will be donated to The Royal Ballet School to provide additional funds for students. No tickets will be issued. Your name will be placed on a list which will be held at the door.

Dancing for the Children
Mara Galeazzi , Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet is organising another of her unique charity 'GALAS', together with friends from the ballet world and the wider world of entertainment at Sadlers Wells on 3 April at 7pm.

'THE GALA of 2011' will be in aid of children through her charity Dancing for the Children, which she descibed to us at one of our meetings. Tickets are on sale from February 1st from the Sadler's Wells box office and website.

Dancing for the Children website

Annual Dinner 2011
We are now able to confirm that our Annual Dinner will be on Tuesday 17th May. Once again, it will take place at the Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road. Dinner is at 8pm. A private bar is available from 7pm. The hotel has raised prices, partly as a result of the increase in VAT, so the cost this year will be £38.

Given the popularity of our dinners and our growing membership, we expect a very heavy demand for tickets, so early application is advised. Consequently, as in recent years, the dinner will be open to members only in the first instance. If there are still vacancies at the end of March, we will open it up to members’ guests at this stage. There will be about 145 places for members and 35 for an exciting array of dancers of all ranks, Company management, etc. 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.

Please print out and complete the application form and send it with your cheque and a stamped addressed envelope to Melanie Shipton, The Ballet Association, 7 Dutch Gardens, Kingston, Surrey, KT2 7TT. Please note, if you fail to send a stamped addressed envelope you may lose your place if we are over-subscribed.

CHAIRMAN: David Bain, 23 Capstan Square, Stewart Street, London E14 3EU Tel: 020 7515 1254