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May 2016 newsletter

AT OUR APRIL MEETING we were delighted to welcome Soloist Fumi Kaneko as our guest. Fumi spoke about her training in Japan and the many competitions that she entered, including Varna where she won the gold medal. Having sent a video to The Royal Ballet, she was invited to come and do class with the Company and after a couple of days was offered a contract, though sorting out visas meant she joined late in a season in April 2011. She spoke of the various roles that she has danced with the Company, including being chosen by Carlos Acosta to dance Kitri in his production of Don Quixote with Thiago Soares, “such a good partner and natural actor.” Early in her second performance she suffered a major knee injury. Fumi explained in detail what had happened and the operation that followed. As a result, it was about a year later when she got back on stage. She has danced many roles, including the Gypsy Girl in Two Pigeons and roles in many of the Company’s new works. Fumi provided members with a fascinating evening.

A summary report is 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 Roger Handley, 12 Pinewood, Willow Grove, Chislehurst, Kent, BR7 5BT. Members are reminded that interviews should not be recorded or filmed and that photographs should only be taken at the end of the meeting. We welcome dancers speaking freely when they come to meetings. Sometimes they say things they do not wish to see in print and edit this out of the official reports. Therefore, please do not post your own reports of meetings on social media.

Future meetings
At our meeting on Thursday 19 May we are very pleased to welcome back our Patron and Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare. Keeping up the custom set by his predecessor, Kevin has agreed to talk to us every couple of years. He will look back over the last two seasons, which included Rhapsody to which the Association had donated towards the revival of the original sets and costumes. He will also look forward to next season and to 2017 which will mark the 25th anniversary of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s death. Since Kevin became Director, the Company has performed much new work and we can expect an interesting evening discussing his plans for the future.

At our meeting, on Friday 17 June we are delighted to welcome Genesia Rosato, former Principal Character Artist, who retired from The Royal Ballet after 40 years in February. Genesia joined the Royal Ballet Upper School at the age of 15 and was invited to join the Royal Ballet by Kenneth MacMillan in 1976. That year she danced in the first performance of Glen Tetley’s Voluntaries and as Princess Louise in Mayerling. She was promoted to Soloist in 1982 and Principal Character Artist in 1993. As well as Princess Louise, she created Natasha in Winter Dreams and roles in Rhapsody, Gloria, Isadora and Consort Lessons. In 1980, she appeared as Ludmilla Schollar in the film Nijinsky. She has performed all the major character roles in the Company’s repertoire and we can expect a very interesting evening as it is nearly 12 years since Genesia last spoke to the Association.

We sent a present to Genesia when she left the Company. She has since written:

Dear David and all the very kind members of the Ballet Association. Thank you all so much for the generous gift you sent me. I have now purchased a beautiful Mont Blanc Fountain Pen. I will think of you all everytime I write with it! I look forward to seeing you all at the dinner in May and at my talk in June. Thank you for the support you have given me over my 40 years in the Company. Much love and thanks, Genesia.

Provisional dates for meetings next season are: Wednesday 31 August, Thursday 15 September, Wednesday 28 September, Tuesday 11 October, Thursday 3 November, Thursday 24 November, Wedesday 7 or 14 December, Thursday 19 January, Wednesday 25 January, Wednesday 1 February, Thursday 9 February, Friday 17 February, Thursday 2 March, Wednesday 22 March, Wednesday 5 April, Thursday 13 April, Thursday 27 April, Wednesday 10 May, Wednesday 17 May, Friday 26 May, Thursday 1 June, Tuesday 6 June.

Meetings 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, 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.

Open Rehearsal – The Royal Ballet
Clore Studio, Thursday 19 May 12.00-13.30
There are still a few places left for this rehearsal. It is a great privilege to be invited to watch a rehearsal during the Company’s normal working day. There are approximately 150 places for members only. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you would like to attend, please apply to our Chairman, David Bain, 23 Capstan Square, Stewart Street, London E14 3EU, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope for return of your ticket. There is no charge for this event. However, you will remember that at the start of this season we asked all members to make a donation to the Association so that we can sponsor another Royal Ballet production, as we did this season with Rhapsody. We would like to sponsor a piece every other year. If you did not make a donation when you renewed or joined, we would ask you to enclose one with your application for this event, making the cheque payable to The Ballet Association.

Annual Dinner 2016
We still have places available for our Annual Dinner on Tuesday 10 May. If you wish to make a last minute application, please contact our Chairman. As we have spaces, we will not be able to refund anyone who is unable to attend unless we can find a replacement. However, if you do have to drop out, please let us know so we don’t leave an empty space on a table. Dinner is at 8.00pm preceded by drinks which you can purchase from 7.00pm at the Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road. If you wish to purchase drinks for your meal, this can be done during the drinks reception. (Please note. House Wine is expensive £32 per bottle and over £9 per glass, so you may wish to club together on your table to share a bottle). Dress is smart casual. We aim to start speeches at 10.15-10.30pm and finish the evening around 10.45-11.00pm. During the dinner we will mark the retirement from dancing with the Company of Leanne Cope, Genesia Rosato and Ricardo Cervera, and the 90th birthday of Sir Peter Wright.

As always, we have a very exciting guest list at this year’s dinner. This includes:- our Patron Kevin O’Hare (Director of The Royal Ballet); Christopher Powney (Director of The Royal Ballet School); our Presidents Jonathan Cope (Répétiteur), Jay Jolley (Artistic Teacher and Programme Manager, The Royal Ballet School), Dame Monica Mason (Former Director of The Royal Ballet), and Christopher Saunders (Senior Ballet Master and Principal Character Artist; Sir Peter Wright (Director Laureate, Birmingham Royal Ballet); Wayne McGregor (Resident Choreographer); Lesley Collier (Répétiteur); Philip Mosley (Artistic Scheduling Manager and Character Artist); Johanna Adams Farley (Stage Manager); Ricardo Cervera (Assistant Ballet Master); Paul Lewis (Teacher at the Royal Ballet School and formerly with Northern Ballet Theatre and English National Ballet); Principals Matthew Golding, Laura Morera and Thiago Soares; former Principal Character Artist Genesia Rosato; First Soloists Johannes Stepanek, Akane Takada and Valentino Zucchetti; Soloist Paul Kay; First Artists Mayara Magri and Tomas Mock; Artists Grace Blundell, Reece Clarke, Ashley Dean, Benjamin Ella, Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Mariko Sasaki; and former First Artist, now star of Broadway, Leanne Cope. We hope there will be a few 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 6 May. We cannot guarantee to be able to meet everyone’s requests. We will do our best, but only if you give us at least three alternatives.

As usual, we will have photographs taken of the guests on each table during the evening. 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.

Visit to the Royal Ballet Upper School
Once again we had a very successful visit to The Royal Ballet Upper School on Wednesday 27th April. Members watched a Third Year ladies classical class with Nicola Tranah, a Second Year ladies classical class with Daria Klimentova and a Second Year men character class with Amanda Maxwell. We would like to thank all at The Royal Ballet School for a very interesting and entertaining day. This combined visit with London Ballet Circle raised £2400 for the School with around 150 members attending. During the day we saw three of our award winners, Gabrielle Beach, Yuki Sugiura and Kiely Groenewegan.

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