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November/December 2012 newsletter

SINCE OUR LAST NEWSLETTER we have had two very entertaining meetings. At our October meeting guests Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera provided us with a lively evening recounting many amusing experiences. They spoke enthusiastically about working with choreographer Liam Scarlett in recent years, as well as talking about ballets they had performed together, their early years and other aspects of their careers. Carrying on the Spanish speaking theme, our guest at our November meeting was Principal Zenaida Yanowsky. It is over eight years since Zenaida last spoke to us and she provided us with another lively evening. On that day she had received a number of congratulatory texts and emails, but it wasn’t until she phoned her father that she heard that the Spanish Ministry of Culture had awarded her their 2012 Award for Interpretation. She had also just learnt that her son had turned down the role of Joseph in his school’s Nativity play and was playing a sheep instead. Zenaida spoke of the issue of being a tall dancer and therefore restricted in repertoire in recent years, but was confident that this was no longer an issue, as could be seen by both her and Alina Cojocaru being cast in the same role in Las Hermanas.  

For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on our website once the report has been checked by the guest speaker.

Future meetings
Our next meeting on Friday 7 December we have a change of speaker. Unfortunately Tamara Rojo has had to withdraw as the Board of ENB has called her to a meeting. She hopes to speak to us in the New Year. In her place, we are delighted to welcome First Artist Meaghan Grace Hinkis. Meaghan trained with Fabrice Herrault, as well as in New England and graduated from the ABT School. She joined ABT II in 2007 and ABT in 2009, in which year she won the bronze medal at the Helsinki IBC. In 2007 she attended the Stiefel and Stars Program in Martha’s Vineyard and danced Clara with ABT II. At ABT she performed a leading role in Alexei Ratmansky’s Dumbarton. Joining the Royal Ballet last season, she has danced Clara and was murdered by Thomas Whitehead at the start of Sweet Violets with the second cast. This season, she has featured a lot, including dancing the first movement of Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto. We can look forward to a very interesting evening.

Provisional dates for the rest of the season are Thursday 10 January, Friday 18 January, Wednesday 6 February, Wednesday 6 March, Wednesday 13 March, Wednesday 20 March, Friday 22 March, Thursday 4 April, Thursday 18 April, Friday 31 May, Friday 7 June. All dates are subject to change. We have removed Thursday 14 February, Thursday 16 May, Wednesday 19 June from the list given in the last newsletter as they clash with other events. As a result, we may have to add some alternative dates later.  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. If you walk past the opticians you will see the church. Doors open at 6.45 p.m. unless otherwise stated. Entrance is £4 for members, £3 for concessions, £8 for guests.

Members will have heard in the News that Tony Hall has been appointed Director General at the BBC. We wish him every success in this role, which he takes up in the Spring, and wait with anticipation to see who takes over as Chief Executive at the Royal Opera House.

Rather later than anticipated, Deborah Bull finally completed her involvement with the Opera House in November after 30 years to take up her role as Executive Director of the Kings’ Cultural Institute.

We congratulate Liam Scarlett on being appointed Artist in Residence with the Royal Ballet. In this role he will choreograph both for the Company and more widely. He danced for the last time at the end of the run of Swan Lake, very briefly as a swan!

Members may wish to venture to the Pit Lobby the next time you are at the Opera House to see a bust of Dame Monica Mason by Steve Jolly of PropMakers. We welcome Christine Lemon who has joined the Ballet Stage Management Team as ASM. Alexander Whitley and Mayuri Boonham have been appointed as Affiliate Choreographers through until 2014. They will choreograph works for the Linbury.
The Director’s Appeal Birmingham Royal Ballet
As announced in the last newsletter, the Association has donated £450 towards this appeal. This entitles us to two tickets for BRB rehearsals. If you would like to be considered to represent the Association at one of these rehearsals, with a guest, please apply to the Chairman at the address at the bottom of the newsletter- post or e-mail, indicating which rehearsals you are interested in. We will hold a draw for each rehearsal. Dates of the rest of rehearsals this season are: Aladdin – Thursday 14 February 7.00pm, Giselle – Tuesday 18 June 7.00pm. Each is preceded by light refreshments from 6.00pm.

National Dance Awards
As last year, we have sponsored the Award for Best Classical Choreography at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. The nominations for this award are David Bintley (Faster for BRB), Christopher Hampson (Storyville for Ballet Black), Anabelle Lopez Ochoa (A Streetcar Named Desire for Scottish Ballet) and Alastair Marriott and Christopher Wheeldon (Trespass for the Royal Ballet). Nominations for other awards include: Edward Watson for Best Male Dancer; Marianela Nuñez, Tamara Rojo for Best Female Dancer; Arthur Pita – Best Modern Choreography for The Metamorphosis in the Linbury; Yuhui Choe and Beatriz Stix-Brunell for Outstanding Female Performance; Paul Kay and Dawid Trzensimiech for Outstanding Male Performance.

Visit to Museum of London
A small group of members had a very interesting visit to the Museum of London in October to see some of the Pavlova artefacts held there. The curator, Beatrice Behlen, gave an introduction to the department and talked about the conservation of the items seen, while Caroline Hamilton, a costume historian who curated the Pavlova items, gave members more detail about the items that the Museum had taken out for them. These included the Dying Swan tutu, which was too fragile to move from its store and was seen in situ.

Annual General Meeting
At our AGM on 20 November the current committee was re-elected unopposed. The committee is David Bain (Organising Secretary), Sylvia Tyler (Membership Secretary), Melanie Shipton (Treasurer), Liz Bouttell (Reporting Secretary), Rachel Holland, Geoffrey Griffiths, Belinda Taylor, Chris Scott, Brian Don, Annette Fraser and Chiara Gorodesky. At the subsequent committee meeting David Bain was re-appointed as Chairman and Sylvia Tyler as Deputy Chairman will be appointed at the next committee meeting. The Chairman’s Report and minutes of the previous AGM, which were circulated, will be posted on our website. Annual accounts were also circulated and are available on request.  

A reminder! If you have yet to renew your members, please note that this will be the last newsletter that you will receive unless you do so. Renewal forms were attached to the September newsletter. If you would prefer to pay by electronic transfer, please indicate on the form and Sylvia will get in touch with you.

Visit to Elmhurst School for Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet – 19-20 June 2013
Our annual visit to Birmingham is always very popular. If you are interested in attending, please complete the attached form. On the first day we will attend BRB class, have lunch together, have an interview of a BRB dancer and watch a performance of Giselle. On the Thursday, following breakfast, we will arrange transportation from the hotel to Elmhurst School for Dance, where Association members will receive a warm welcome. Our President Robert Parker will be our host for the day. Following 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 conclude at approximately 3.30 pm.

CHAIRMAN: David Bain