January 2014 newsletter
AT OUR SECOND MEETING iin November we welcomed two of the younger members of the Company, Artists Claudia Dean and Tierney Heap, as our guests. Claudia had made her debut as The Chosen One in Kenneth MacMillan’s Rite of Spring to much critical acclaim just before the meeting and Tierney has made her debut as one of the four soloist girls in Diamonds since. As expected, we had a very lively and fascinating meeting learning about their very different experiences at school and in their first years in the Company. At our December meeting we welcomed First Artist Hayley Forskitt and her fiancée former Royal Ballet Soloist Brian Maloney. As well as talking about their training and their time in the Royal Ballet, Hayley spoke about her years with Norwegian National Ballet and Brian about his new role working with injured dancers alongside sports scientists. This season Hayley has danced a number of solo roles including Mercedes and the Dryad Queen in Don Quixote and the Arabian dance in Nutcracker.
For members unable to attend meetings, a summary is made available on our website once the report has been checked by the guest speaker.
At our first meeting of the New Year on Wednesday 29 January we welcome Royal Ballet School teacher Anita Young and our 2013 Royal Ballet School Award winners Chisato Katsura, Adam Russell-Jones and Reece Clarke. Anita is a former Royal Ballet soloist and currently teachers the first year girls in the Upper School and therefore taught Chisato last year when she won the Young British Dancer of the Year. Reece joined the Royal Ballet just before Christmas. We include a short progress report on the students later in this newsletter and a letter of thanks from them. This annual meeting always gives us a fascinating insight into ballet training and preparing for a professional career, as well as an opportunity to meet the stars of the future. As this meeting is on a Wednesday it will be preceded by a free concert in the church. If you wish to attend the concert please arrive by 6.00pm, otherwise please do not arrive before 6.55pm.
Our guest at our next meeting on Thursday 20 February will be former Royal Ballet Principal Leanne Benjamin. Born in Australia, after a lengthy and illustrious career dancing with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Deutsche Oper Ballet as well as the Royal, Leanne retired last summer. Her repertoire has been extensive, including all the classics. Throughout her career she has created roles in new works by, amongst others, Twyla Tarp, Ashley Page, Alastair Marriott, Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor, but it will be her performances in many of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballets for which she will be most fondly remembered. We look forward to reminiscing with her and hearing about her plans for the future.
Provisional dates for the rest of next season are: Monday 17 March, Wednesday 2 April, Thursday 24 April, Thursday 22 May, Wednesday 11 June. Although all dates are subject to change, please put these dates in your diaries. NB Please note there have been a number of changes to the dates of meetings because of clashes with other events. 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 walk up Endell Street and cross over Shaftesbury Avenue and walk past the opticians. Doors open at 6.45 p.m. unless otherwise stated. Entrance is £4 for members, £3 for concessions, £8 for guests.
Annual General Meeting
At our Annual General Meeting it was agreed that the concessionary rate for membership should rise from £7 to £10 next season. This is to take account of the increased cost of postage.
Congratulations to Dame Gillian Lynne and to Carlos Acosta who received a DBE and CBE respectively in the New Year’s Honours List.
Birmingham Royal Ballet has recently welcomed Artist Luke Schaufuss, who joins the Company from the Royal Danish Ballet and announced that Artist Nikki Moffatt is leaving the Company. National Ballet of Japan Principals Ayako Ono and Yudai Fukuoka will be joining the Company for the Birmingham performances of The Prince of the Pagodas. Congratulations to First Soloist Laetitia Lo Sarda and her husband Toby Norman-Wright on the birth of their son Sebastien and to Soloist Laura Purkiss and her husband on the birth of their daughter Nancy.
As announced previously, the Association is entitled to two reserved places at BRB rehearsals in Birmingham. The next two rehearsals are:
Three of a Kind: Card Game, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Elite Syncopations, Tuesday 18 Feb 7.00pm and
The Prince of the Pagodas, Monday 24 February 7.00pm.
If you would like one or both tickets for either of these rehearsals, please apply to the Chairman by 31 January and your names will be put in a draw.
The Royal Ballet School Award Winners 2013
Shortly before Christmas we received the following report from Ana Carlsen, Development & Publicity Coordinator at the Royal Ballet School:
“The first term of the 2013-14 academic year came to an end last Friday with a lovely Carol service for the students and their families. I am delighted to provide you with a short progress report on Chisato Katsura, Adam Russell-Jones and Reece Clarke.
Report from Chisato’s Ballet Teacher: Chisato is an extremely talented young lady. This term the students have focused on learning various heritage solos from The Royal Ballet repertoire and on raising the level of technique and quality. The students have also worked on their own individual choices for the Lynn Seymour Award for Expressive Dance held in early December in which Chisato was awarded 1st place for her beautiful performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Isadora. Rosalyn Whitten
Report from Adam’s Ballet Teacher: It is such a pleasure to have Adam in the Graduate class, he has made some very good improvement over the term. I am most impressed by his intelligence which helps him make the necessary changes to his technique more quickly. For the last few weeks of term Adam was seconded to Birmingham Royal Ballet for their Christmas productions, which was a great opportunity for him. In between he auditioned with Stuttgart Ballet and I was delighted to see him as one of the first of this year’s students to be awarded a contract. I look forward to working with Adam next term and seeing his continued improvement as the year progresses. Gary Norman
Report from Reece’s Ballet Teacher: We are all so delighted for Reece that he has secured a contract with The Royal Ballet so early in the year. It is a well-deserved position as he is a very talented dancer and has been a wonderful student to teach. Sadly he won’t be able to perform David Dawson’s pas de deux for which he was chosen but he will be returning to dance the lead in Raymonda Act III for the End of Year School performance at The Royal Opera House and I look forward to seeing him then and also to watching him progress in the future. Gary Norman
I will take pleasure in keeping you updated on your students’ progress during the year and behalf of us all at The Royal Ballet School, I would like to wish you a warm and festive Christmas and a happy New Year.”
We also received a card from Chisato:
Dear Ballet Association,
I am writing on behalf of us all to thank you for your support and encouragement this year. As you may be aware, Reece has now joined the Royal Ballet Company and is doing really well, Adam has been invited to perform with Birmingham Royal Ballet in the Christmas season of The Nutcracker and I have been working extremely hard now in my 2nd year of the Upper School. I will be taking part in the Lynn Seymour Award, and I will also be choreographing my own piece for the Ursula Moreton Choreographic competition. I would like to thank you again and wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Ballet Association Questionnaire
Thank you to all those members who returned the questionnaire that was attached to our last renewal form. A full analysis of the results will be included in the next newsletter after it has been discussed by our committee. Those members who have yet to renew will not have received this newsletter, so if any of your friends say they haven’t received this newsletter this may be the reason.
Our Membership Secretary and Deputy Chairman Sylvia Tyler is unwell. Whilst remaining as Deputy Chairman, Sylvia has had to step down as Membership Secretary. For the rest of this season I will cover this role.
We, therefore, need to find a new Membership Secretary before the start of next season. Hopefully there is someone in the membership who would like to take on this role. If you are interested, please contact me to discuss what the role entails. Although the role is not set in stone, ideally the Membership Secretary should be able to arrive at most meetings by 6.30pm and be able to use a computer.
I look forward to hearing from anyone interested.
Men in Motion 30 & 31 January 2014 at the London Coliseum
Former Royal Ballet Principal Ivan Putrov has sent us more details for his Men in Motion programme. The dancers will include Edward Watson & Vadim Muntagirov, both of whom are nominated for best dancer of the year by Dance Critics' Circle, Valentino Zucchetti & Yonah Acosta, Elena Glurdjidze, Principals with Berlin Staatsballett Marian Walter & Rainer Krenstetter, an RBS graduate who will make his first professional appearance in London, Stuttgart Ballet’s Marijn Rademaker, Norwegian National Ballet’s Daniel Proietto and myself. Richard Bernas will be in charge of orchestra and chorus and Philip Gammon at the piano. Choreographies by Balanchine, Petit, Jacobson, Nijinsky, Goleizovsky, Fokine, Goecke, De Frutos, Pita, Øyen, Maliphant and more.
Vadim will make a debut as Spectre, Valentino will dance Vestris & solo from Who Cares?, Daniel has a new creation by Øyen to Nina Simone, Edward has a new creation by Pita & also a new duet with Marijn by De Frutos, Rainer will be Faun. Myself I will dance Narcisse, Petrushka and 2x2 by Maliphant.” Ivan hopes as many Association members as possible will attend.
Annual Dinner 2014
Our Annual Dinner will be on Tuesday 6th May. Once again, it will take place at the Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road. Dinner is at 8.00pm. A private bar is available from 7.00pm. The cost this year will be £39, the same as it was last year. We expect a heavy demand for tickets, so early application is advised. 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 February, we will open it up to members’ guests. 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 middle of April. You will then have an opportunity to let us know which dancers you would like to sit near.
2014 Visit to Elmhurst and Birmingham Royal Ballet, 4-5 June 2014
Our annual visit to Birmingham is always very popular. If you are interested in attending, please complete the linked pdf form.
On the first day we will attend BRB class, have lunch together, have an interviewwith a BRB dancer and watch a performance of their Ashton programme, Darkness and Light, which includes Dante Donata, Les Rendezvous and Façade. On the Thursday, following breakfast, we will arrange transportation from the IBIS 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. Additional nights in the hotel can be booked for the same price as our discounted rate.
Fernando has asked us to advertise the premiere of his short dance film Narcissus. Unfortunately his request came too late to include in the printed version of this newsletter, so if you have friends who receive their newsletter by post, please pass on the information if you think they will be interested. The performance is at the Hippodrome Casino in London. Click for further information.