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August/September 2013 newsletter

AT OUR FIRST MEETING of the new season, we were delighted to welcome Olivia Cowley, newly promoted soloist with The Royal Ballet. Olivia provided us with an entertaining evening, talking about her training and her time in the Company, with particular emphasis on working on new works with a variety of choreographers. She also talked of why she started using Twitter, and how she posted tweets about life in the corps de ballet. She gave us an account of a typical day. At the end of an excellent meeting, her boyfriend, Henry St Clair spoke briefly about an exciting project he had led to produce a ballet film for smartphones and tablets. Details are included later in this newsletter.
For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on our website once the report has been checked by the guest speaker. If you do not have access to the internet and would like a copy of a report, please send an A5 stamped, addressed envelope to Geoffrey Griffiths, BA Committee, 5 Monkhams Avenue, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 0HB.
Future meetings
At our next meeting on Wednesday 4 September we welcome Artists Mayara Magri and Nicol Edmonds at the start of their second season in the Company. Born in Brazil, Mayara joined The Royal Ballet last season, after one year at the Royal Ballet School, which she entered following success at the Prix de Lausanne, where she won a Scholarship and the Audience Prize. Nicol, from Devon, graduated from Elmhurst School for Dance and spent two years with Finnish National Ballet before joining the Royal. As well as talking about their careers, Mayara and Nicol will speak about the Royal Ballet tours to Monte Carlo and Japan. Meetings where you have the opportunity to meet newer dancers in the Company are always popular and amongst the most entertaining of the year.
At our meeting on Wednesday 2 October we are delighted to welcome the Royal Ballet’s Ballet Mistress Samantha Raine as our guest. Sam trained at Kirkham Henry Performing Arts (her mother’s school) and at The Royal Ballet School. She joined the Company in 1997 and was promoted to Soloist in 2006. She has a very broad repertoire of roles, including Princess Louise and Princess Stephanie, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Blue Girl, Fairy of the Golden Vine and Fairy of the Song Bird, Autumn Fairy, Vivandière, Sylph, Moyna, as well as roles in ballets by MacMillan, Forsythe, McGregor, Balanchine, Robbins and Wheeldon. She was awarded the Kenneth MacMillan Choreographic Award in 1995 and the first Dame Ninette de Valois Award in 1998 and has choreographed a short ballet for The Royal Ballet Lower School and A Little Princess for London Children’s Ballet. She was appointed Ballet Mistress at the start of last season. We can expect a fascinating evening hearing about her career and her crucial new role.
Please note that the meeting originally scheduled for 17 October has been cancelled as it clashes with a Birmingham Royal Ballet performance at Sadler’s Wells. Meetings scheduled for 9 January and 13 and 20 February have also been cancelled and replaced by meeting on 12 February.
Provisional dates for the rest of next season are: Tuesday 12 November (This meeting will be preceded by our AGM), Wednesday 27 November, Wednesday 11 December, Wednesday 29 January, Wednesday 12 February, Wednesday 5 March, Wednesday 26 March, Wednesday 2 April, Thursday 24 April, Wednesday 7 May, Thursday 22 May, Wednesday 4 June. Although all dates are subject to change, please put these dates in your diaries. 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. If you walk past the opticians you will see the church. Doors open at 6.45pm unless otherwise stated. Entrance is £4 for members, £3 for concessions, £8 for guests.
News, farewells, etc
Members will have been extremely saddened to hear of the death of the distinguished teacher David Howard. David danced with Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet from 1957 – 1963. He became a sought after teacher based in New York, was a guest teacher with the Royal Ballet from 1997 – 2011 and a mentor for several Company dancers. He gave a memorable talk about giving class to the Association in 2002 with Tamara Rojo, Brian Maloney and Tim Matiakis illustrating the talk. He will be greatly missed. You will find links to obituaries and the report of his demonstration to the Ballet Association here.
A regular ballet fan has bound editions of the Dancing Times from 1946 onwards which she wishes to give away. If you would be interested in acquiring these, please contact our Chairman, who will pass on your details to her. You would obviously need transport to collect this substantial collection.
Dancers: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Ballet. Photographs by Andrej Uspenski.
A spectacular journey to the heart of the Royal Ballet, Dancers is an intimate photographic record taken by Royal Ballet dancer Andrej Uspenski. For two years Andrej has taken luminous photographs of Royal Ballet dancers in rehearsal and on stage. The book contains more than 200 photographs, black & white and colour, including backstage images and breathtaking glimpses taken from the wings.

This stunning collection of pictures, highly stylised and charmingly informal, is a must for any ballet fan. Daily Mail
Uspenski’s volume shows the company in moments of unguarded intimacy that only a fellow dancer could capture. Daily Telegraph

Special Price: £21 (RRP: £35.00) | ISBN: 9781849433884 Plus postage £2.75. Ballet Association members can get 40% off DANCERS with the following discount code: OnBallet. Simply enter the code when you check out: or buy direct from our distributors and quote OnBallet over the phone: +44 (0)1235 465547.
Sunday Ballet Walk
For Sunday 20 October, we have organised a historic walk around London's West End with costume historian, Caroline Hamilton. The walk will take in places of interest and landmarks relating to Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the Anna Pavlova Company. London was an important city for both Companies and the West End provided not only the theatres in which they performed but also the costumiers, shoe makers, rehearsal spaces, artists’ studios and hotels that the company used.

The walk will go past the theatre in which Anna Pavlova first performed, and notoriously slapped Mikhail Mordkin on stage, as well the studio in which Diaghilev’s set painters Vladimir and Elizabeth Polunin painted the sets for La Boutique Fanstasque and Le Tricorne. The walk will start at 10am and will cost £7.50. If you are interested, please email
Birmingham Royal Ballet – The Director’s Appeal and Campaign for the Future
As in recent years, the Association has donated towards David Bintley’s Appeal and, once again, become a Gold Barre member. This is helping BRB bring The Prince of the Pagodas on stage later this season. With our membership, two members will be invited to watch each rehearsal during the 2013/2014 season. The first two rehearsals are:

Tombeaux, E=mc•, ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café on Wednesday 2 October at 7pm
The Sleeping Beauty on Monday 7 October at 6.30pm

If you would like to be included in the ballot to attend these rehearsals, please contact our Chairman by email or mobile phone stating which rehearsal you are interested in attending and whether you would like one or both tickets. If successful in the ballot you will be sent our membership card to prove your identity. Those attending will be provided with light refreshments before the performance.
The Royal Ballet School
Ana Carlsen, Development and Publicity Coordinator, The Royal Ballet School sent the Association this report:

As The Royal Ballet School academic year comes to an end and we have said our sad farewells to the Graduate Year students, I am delighted to provide a final report on the Ballet Association’s two Students.
Annette Buvoli

Annette is an exceptional student. She has been a total joy to teach throughout the year and has had an incredibly successful year. Her work ethic is second to none and she has made huge progress overall.

During the Spring and Summer terms the students worked with The Royal Ballet dancing in La Bayadère, Symphony in C and Mayerling. Following on from a very successful tour to Richmond, Virginia and New York during the Easter break the students returned to school for their annual and final appraisals.

Annette is a delightful girl she was chosen to dance the lead role in La Destinée and also perform in Larina Waltz, Rhapsody Pas de Deux and Greek Dances at the End of Year performances. Her performance at the Paris Opera was very special for Annette and gave her great confidence. She received some wonderful reviews for her performance, one said she was the highlight of the evening and showed 'grains of stardom'!

I shall miss not teaching her next year but look forward to watching her progress 'across the road' and hope that she fulfils her great potential as a professional.

Nicola Tranah
Ballet Teacher
As you can see from Nicola’s report, the third year at The Royal Ballet School has seen Annette flourish as a dancer and all her hard work come to fruition. Annette delivered beautiful performances at the Royal Opera House playing lead roles in La Destinée and Rhapsody Pas de Deux and deservedly received some excellent reviews from the press.
La Destinée review
‘For the School, the centrepiece of the programme was La Destinée. The star roles go to Annette Buvoli, David Donnelly (both joining The Royal Ballet) and Danielle Muir (joining Berlin Ballet). Muir has a slightly lawless glance ferocious enough to freeze the Tropics, and a possessive hand, Buvoli had the pick of the dancing and Donnelly had to pick his way between them, a masterful menu of misunderstandings’.

Full review may be found at:
As I think you know Annette will soon be joining The Royal Ballet. She graduated from The Royal Ballet School with Honours and was presented with The Gailene Stock and Gary Norman Award for Excellence at the Graduation Ceremony following the Royal Opera House performance.
Yaoqian Shang:

Shang is a beautiful dancer and has the potential to be a future star. She works with excellent focus and commitment. She has been a real joy to teach throughout the year.

During the Spring and Summer terms she worked with the Royal Ballet dancing in La Bayadère, Symphony in C and Mayerling which was a hugely valuable experience for her.

After successfully completing their appraisals the third year students’ focus turned to the End of Year performances at the Royal Opera House where they performed in La Destinée a new ballet choreographed by Mark Annear, Jiří Bubeníček’s Canon in D Major, Seven Greek Dances by Maurice Béjart, Larina Waltz by Ashley Page and Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody Pas de Deux. Shang was cast as the lead role in Seven Greek Dances and also gave beautiful performances in Larina Waltz, La Destinée and Rhapsody Pas de Deux.

She is very much wanted at Birmingham Royal Ballet by David Bintley and I look forward to watching her progress as she climbs rapidly through the ranks. I shall miss her fun demeanor and talent next year.

Nicola Tranah
Ballet Teacher

The third year at The Royal Ballet School has seen Shang grow as a dancer. She graduated from the School with Honours and was awarded the top prize of De Valois Award for The Most Outstanding Graduate Student.
Following the End of Year Performances Shang and Annette returned home to spend time with their families but will return shortly to begin their professional careers and would like me to convey their gratitude to The Ballet Association for supporting their development.
It has been a great year for the Ballet Association students – Marcelino Sambé is of course already with The Royal Ballet, and will soon be joined by Annette and Shang will I am sure be a star with Birmingham Royal Ballet. On behalf of us all at The Royal Ballet School we would like to thank you for your support and look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of your three new students Chisato Katsura, Reece Clarke and Adam Russell Jones. Until then I wish you and everyone at The Ballet Association, a lovely summer.

We also received cards from Annette and Shang before they went on holiday.

Annette wrote:

To all the Ballet Association, I can hardly believe that my time at the Royal Ballet School is almost over! The experiences and opportunities that I have had will forever be in my memory. I am looking forward to the new chapter in my life as a member of the Royal Ballet Company. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything without all your help. You have helped my dreams come true. I am excited to perform my first principal part soon in our end of year performance. I hope you will be able to come and watch. Best regards, Annette.

Shang wrote:

To the Ballet Association: Thank you for your kindness and support for the last two years, now that it is my last term in the Royal Ballet School I have been busy preparing for the end of year performances. I will be doing the leading role in Béjart’s Seven Greek Dances, Rhapsody pas de deux, and Larina Waltz at the LinburyStudio and will also be doing Mr Annear’s new piece La Destinée at the main stage performance. I am really excited about my performances at the Royal Ballet School. It has been so amazing for me and I have learnt so much from my different teachers and the different repertoire I have danced. It has helped me so much in my journey to becoming a professional dancer. I am really looking forward to starting my new journey with the Birmingham Royal Ballet after this summer. I just wanted to say thank you so much again for your support over the last two years. I feel very lucky. It’s helped me so much. I hope you all can watch me perform some day in the future. Lots of love, Yaoqian Shang.

Frederick Ashton Foundation – Ashton Symposium, Sunday 22 September
The Frederick Ashton Foundation is organising a full day symposium, at the Royal Ballet Upper School in Floral Street, celebrating the continuing power and ambition of Ashton’s work, focusing on its role today and into the future. There is an impressive list of guest speakers. Full details here.

The day costs £60. For booking, contact
The Many Faces of Robert Helpmann Symposium, Sunday 27 October
Miracle in the Gorbals and Adam Zero. It will take place at the Royal Ballet Upper School from 9.30am to 6.30pm and will cost £65 (£22 for students). Bookings can be made at and further details can be obtained from the Royal Ballet School.
Crystal Ballet Genesis
International stars bring ballet to the world with Crystal Ballet’s Genesis created by Olivier and Evening Standard award-winning choreographer Kim Brandstrup and former Royal Ballet dancer Ernst Meisner especially for download. A revolution in watching ballet, Genesis has been created especially for some of the most feted and talented dancers of our generation, including Alina Cojocaru and Vadim Muntagirov.

A ticket to the ballet can cost more than £50. To download Genesis costs just £15 to watch eight of the world’s great dancers on your device as many times as your heart desires, wherever you are. A revolution in watching ballet. For more information,
Membership renewal
It is the time of year when we ask you to renew your membership. Please return the attached renewal form to Sylvia Tyler, Membership Secretary, as soon as possible, but not later than the end of October. There has been no rise to membership fees this year. If you joined the Association after the start of April 2013, your membership covers this coming season. Your membership card will have indicated this. If you have an email address, please consider receiving the newsletter by email in future. If you would prefer to pay by electronic transfer, please indicate on the form and Sylvia will get in touch with you. If you have a friend who you think might be interested in joining the Association, please give them a copy of the form.

Ballet Association Questionnaire, August 2013
We are trying to gain some insight from members as to how they would like the Association to be run and any changes that might be made. We would appreciate it if you could print and fill in this short questionnaire and return it with your annual membership subscription. Click here for the form.

CHAIRMAN: David Bain, 23 Capstan Square, Stewart Street, London E14 3EU
Tel: 020 7515 1254 Mobile: 07855 823921
Email: or