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May 2012 newsletter

AT OUR APRIL MEETING it was an enormous pleasure to welcome Principal Sarah Lamb as our guest. Sarah gave us a very entertaining evening. Speaking first about the serious injury she had suffered in 2008, she gave a detailed account of how it occurred and the recovery process. We are very privileged that she felt able to share details of what was a very difficult period in her career. Moving on to happier times, Sarah spoke of the many highlights in recent years and the very broad repertoire that she performs. Used regularly in new works, she was able to give us some insight into the different ways choreographers work, but also spoke about her many roles in Ashton and MacMillan ballets and the classics. It was a fascinating evening which was very well attended despite our wet April.

Future meetings
As announced in the last newsletter, on Wednesday 30 May we have a very special meeting when we welcome the Royal Ballet’s new Director Kevin O’Hare. Currently Administrative Director, Kevin has spoken to the Association twice since joining the Royal Ballet, both times alongside his fellow former BRB principal Miyako Yoshida. This time he will not have Miyako to hold his hand! We are very grateful to Kevin for agreeing to speak to us at what must be a very busy time for him. We look forward to hearing more about his planning for next season and, possibly, future seasons, as well as looking back on his time as Administrative Director and his dancing career.
N.B. This will undoubtedly be a very popular meeting, but please remember that as it is a Wednesday, it will be preceded by one of Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church’s Free Concerts. If you wish to attend the concert first please arrive by 6pm. Otherwise, please do not arrive before 7. If you do, please wait in one of the many coffee shops or bars in the area.

At our meeting on Thursday 14 June we are delighted to welcome two young American members of the corps, Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Meaghan Grace Hinkis. Beatriz trained at the School of American Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet School and privately in New York with Fabrice Herrault before joining Morphoses at the age of 15. She has danced in Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia and Commedia, and was, this season, Alice in his Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She also created a role in Wayne McGregor’s Carbon Life. Having recently graduated from High School by correspondence, Beatriz is planning on continuing her studies. Meaghan also trained with Fabrice Herrault, as well as in New England and graduating 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 this season, she has danced Clara and was murdered by Thomas Whitehead at the start of Sweet Violets with the second cast. We can look forward to a very interesting evening.
Provisional dates for the rest of this season are: Thursday 28 June, Thursday 12 July. There will be no meeting in August.

We are now able to give potential dates for next season. They are:

Wednesday 5 September, Thursday 20 September,
Thursday 4 October, Friday 19 October,
Thursday 1 November, Friday 16 November, Tuesday 20 November, Wednesday 28 November,
Thursday 6 December, Friday 7 December,
Thursday 10 January, Friday 18 January, Thursday 24 January,
Wednesday 6 February, Thursday 14 February, Wednesday 20 February, Thursday 28 February,
Wednesday 6 March, Wednesday 13 March, Wednesday 20 March, Friday 22 March,
Thursday 4 April, Wednesday 10 April, Thursday 18 April, Wednesday 24 April,
Thursday 9 May, Thursday 16 May, Thursday 23 May, Friday 31 May,
Friday 7 June, Friday 14 June, Wednesday 19 June.

The first three dates are fairly definite. Obviously we will not be using all the other dates, but give them to indicate the dates we may use to help members plan their bookings. All dates are subject to change.

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.

If you wish to contribute to the Association’s present for Dame Monica Mason, which we announced in the last newsletter, please send a cheque payable to the Ballet Association along with any message on a postcard sized piece of paper, which will be stuck in a book of messages, to Sylvia Tyler, Membership Secretary, The Ballet Association, Flat 7, 19/24 Wynyatt Steet, London, EC1V 7HY. We will be making the presentation to Monica at The Annual Dinner on 17 May.

We have sent our congratulations to Royal Ballet Principal Tamara Rojo on her appointment as Artistic Director of English National Ballet from next season. There will be an envelope at reception at future meetings this season for anyone who wishes to donate towards our leaving present for Tamara.

We have also sent our congratulations to Dame Monica Mason and Edward Watson on their Olivier Awards. Monica received a special award celebrating her long career with the Royal Ballet and Ed received the Outstanding Achievement in Dance Award for his performance in Arthur Pita’s Metamorphosis in the Linbury Theatre.

We also congratulate Mara Galeazzi and her partner, Jurgen, on the birth of their daughter Maia.

We are delighted to announce that Robert Parker has agreed to become a President of the Association when he takes over as Artistic Director of Elmhurst School for Dance. We are very pleased that Desmond Kelly has agreed to remain as one of our Presidents. Whilst retiring as Elmhurst’s Artistic Director, he will remain very active mounting ballets around the world and in an advisory role at Elmhurst.

Royal Opera House Exhibition
The current exhibition at the Royal Opera House is Monica Mason: A Life with the Royal Ballet. We have arranged a guided tour given by the curator of the exhibition, Cristina Franchi, for members of the Association on the morning of Monday 25 June, starting at 10.30am. The cost of the visit will be £7.50 which will include tea/coffee and a donation to the work of the Collections.

Annual Dinner 2012
We are delighted to announce that our Annual Dinner on Thursday 17th May at the Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road is now full with a waiting list of around ten members. If you forgot to apply you may add your name to the waiting list by contacting the Chairman. It is always useful to have a few names on the waiting list of members who can come at very short notice.
We have a very exciting and illustrious guest list at this year’s very special dinner which celebrates our Patron’s 54 years in the Royal Ballet. This includes our Patron Dame Monica Mason, Director designate Kevin O’Hare, Associate Director Jeanetta Laurence, our Presidents Jonathan Cope (Répétiteur), Christopher Saunders (Ballet Master and Principal Character Artist) and Marion Tait (Assistant Director, Birmingham Royal Ballet) , Music Director Barry Wordsworth, Ballet Mistress Ursula Hageli, Guest Teacher Olga Evreinoff, Former New York City Principal Merrill Ashley (who is staging Ballo della regina), Principal Dance Notator and Répétiteur Grant Coyle, Artistic Administrator and Character Artist Philip Mosley, Deputy Company Manager Elizabeth Ferguson, Assistant to Artistic Direction Julia Lister, former Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers Nicola Tranah (now graduate class teacher at the Royal Ballet School) Isabel McMeekan and Stephen Wicks, Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Robert Parker (Artistic Director designate of Elmhurst School for Dance), Royal Ballet Principals Marianela Nuñez, Thiago Soares and Edward Watson, Soloists Melissa Hamilton, Alexander Campbell, Emma Jane Maguire, First Artist Fernando Montaño, Artists Claudia Dean, Benjamin Ella, Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Fumi Kaneko. There will be four or five others, but they haven’t confirmed in time to be included in this newsletter. If you have a preference for whose table you would like to be on, please let David Bain know by 12 May. We cannot guarantee to be able to meet everyone’s requests. We will do our best, but only if you give us a number of alternatives.

As usual, we will have photographs taken of the guests on each table during the evening. Our authorised photographer will be our member, Janet Radenkovic. The photos will be available for members to purchase at a future meeting and some will be placed on our website. As in the past we are happy to allow members to take their own photos at the end of the meal. If you bring a camera, please refrain from taking photos until after the speeches and only take photos of those members and dancers who were on your table. In that way, we can ensure that no dancer has to put up with excessive requests to be photographed and that opportunities for others to talk with dancers are not interrupted.

Visit to The RBS Upper School, Wednesday 30 May 2012, 9.15am-2.45pm
We have arranged a visit to the Upper School in Floral Street to watch classes and rehearsals which we hope will include some of our 2011 RBS Award winners, Nina Tonoli, Yaoqian Shang and Marcelino Sambé. Nina is in the graduate year and Yaoqian and Marcelino are in the second year. This visit will be a joint visit with members of London Ballet Circle.

We will watch two morning classes 9.30-11 and 11.15-12.45, one being 3rd Year girls with Nina and the other either 2nd Year boys with Marcelino or girls with Yaoqian. After a short lunch break for a snack, we will watch another session from 1.30-2.45pm. This may be a pas de deux class or a rehearsal.

If a 9.30 start is a little early for you, if, for example, you are coming some distance, then you are free to join us in time for the 11.15 class. If you are staying up for our talk with Kevin O’Hare that evening, there is plenty of time to have a late lunch after the afternoon class, as the lunch break is only long enough for a quick snack.

Please arrive by 9.15 (or 11.10 if you would prefer to miss the earlier class). 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, address and contact details (preferably an e-mail address), and that of your guest if you are bringing one, along with a cheque made payable to The Ballet Association to the Chairman, David Bain, at the address below. Places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis up to a maximum of 100. All monies collected will be donated to The Royal Ballet School to provide additional funds for students. We will not be issuing tickets. Your name will be placed on a list which will be held at the door. We will contact you to inform you of your ticket number on the list.

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