September 2016 newsletter
AT THE FIRST MEETING of the new season, it was a pleasure to welcome two of the younger members of the Company, Artists Ashley Dean and Julia Roscoe. They spoke about their training and short careers, before talking about the Company’s Summer tour to Japan. Both Ashley and Julia joined the Royal Ballet as Apprentices as part of the Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme, Ashley in 2014 from English National Ballet School and Julia in 2015 from The Royal Ballet School. Julia was chosen as the Young Girl by Johan Kobborg for his production of La Sylphide aged nine, after he had seen her in a children’s ballet. She joined White Lodge at 11, following two years as a Junior Associate. In contrast, Ashley’s training in South Africa was confined to after school and Saturdays until she was 15, when for one year her mother drove her into Capetown every day. During that year she auditioned in London and was accepted by ENB School. They gave us an entertaining account of their first years in the Company, the Japanese tour and learning La Fille mal gardée in three days at the start of this season.
A summary report is available on our website, www.balletassociation.co.uk, once the report has been checked by the guest speaker/s. 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.
At our next meeting on Thursday 15 September we are very privileged to welcome former Royal Ballet Principal Viviana Durante who is returning to the Company this season to coach for the revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia. Born in Rome, Viviana trained there before joining The Royal Ballet School aged ten. She graduated into the Company in 1984, after only one year in the Upper School, and was promoted to Principal in 1989 aged 21. She left the Company in 1996, although continued to appear regularly as a Guest Artist until 2000. In 2001 she joined ABT as a Principal and La Scala Ballet as a Principal Guest Artist, continuing to dance regularly with leading companies around the world, particularly K Ballet, Tokyo. Viviana was renowned for her intensely dramatic performances and won particular acclaim for roles in Kenneth MacMillan’s ballets and her partnership with Irek Mukhamedov. She has danced at the National Theatre, acted at the Edinburgh Festival and on film, choreographed and judged competitions, as well as being a Patron of the Hammond School and New English Ballet Theatre. We can expect a fascinating evening and are delighted to welcome Viviana back to the Association.
At our second meeting of the month on Wednesday 28 September we are delighted to welcome Royal Ballet Principal Vadim Muntagirov as our guest. Vadim was born in Chelyabinsk, the son of two dancers and trained at Perm Ballet School before moving to The Royal Ballet Upper School. He graduated into English National Ballet in 2009, became a principal in 2011 and lead principal in 2012. There he created the role of Prince in Wayne Eagling’s The Nutcracker and danced Conrad in Le Corsaire. He joined The Royal Ballet as Principal in March 2014 and has danced roles across the repertoire, including recently the Girl’s Cousin in The Invitation, Florizel in The Winter’s Tale, and the Young Man in Two Pigeons. In the first part of the season he dances Colas and the Princes in Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty as well as a role in David Dawson’s The Human Seasons. We can expect an interesting evening with a very popular Principal dancer.
On Wednesday 12 October we have the enormous pleasure of welcoming back the Director Laureate of Birmingham Royal Ballet, choreographer and former Director Sir Peter Wright. He last spoke to the Association in October 2014, talking about the early years of his career, including working with John Cranko in Stuttgart. By the end of the evening we had reached 1964, so we look forward to hearing about the next stages of his career. He joined The Royal Ballet in 1969 as Associate to the Directors, later Associate Director and was appointed Director of Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1977. He has recently published his autobiography Wrights & Wrongs: My Life in Dance. We can expect a very entertaining evening a few weeks before Peter celebrates his 90th birthday.
Provisional dates for meetings next season are: Thursday 3 November, Thursday 24 November (This meeting will be our AGM), Wednesday 7 or 14 December, Thursday 19 January, Wednesday 25 January, Wednesday 1 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, Friday 9 June (not Tuesday 6th as originally stated). Please note that the meeting for Thursday 9 February has been cancelled as clashes with an Insight Evening at the Opera House. 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.
The Royal Ballet School
We have received a card from our three 2015 Award winners, graduate Gabrielle Beach and second years, Yuki Sugiura and Joshua Junker, who we supported through last season. They write:
Dear Ballet Association, I wanted to thank you again for the great support before we break up for the summer. It is very helpful and I appreciate it a lot! I’m looking forward to relaxing but also doing the summer course in Prague during the summer break. I wish you a great summer and will see you next season, Joshua Junker.
Thank you so much for support this last term at The Royal Ballet School. I’ve had a great time learning and performing fun pieces like the Mistake Waltz in Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, a contemporary piece called Vertigo Maze and Kenneth MacMillan’s Soirée Musicale. This summer I am dancing two pas de deux’s in Boston. I can’t wait to join Boston Ballet II next season and feel I will fit in well. Without your help I couldn’t have become a professional dancer. Thank you so much! Gabrielle Beach.
I would like to thank you for your support again. I’ve worked hard for the end of year performance this term. I’m performing Les Patineurs, Soirée Musicale and the Defile. I’m looking forward to the summer holiday in Japan!!!. I wish you a lovely summer. Thank you so much!!! Yuki Sugiura.
Members who visited Elmhurst School for Dance on our first Annual Visit when our President Desmond Kelly was Artistic Director may remember that our Annual Elmhurst Award was presented to a rather tall Year 7 student, Riccardo Castellanos. Ricky transferred to The Royal Ballet School in Year 10 and completed Year 12 last season. Rather than move into his graduate year, he has taken up a contract at Norwegian Ballet for the coming season. Graduate Joseph Aumeer, who was listed as joining the Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme at the start of this season has instead accepted a contract with Paris Opera Ballet.
Birmingham Royal Ballet Director’s Appeal
As in previous years we have made donations towards the Director’s Appeal, which this year is supporting Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Tempest. In total, we will have donated £1000, part of which was our “Thank you” donation following the Annual Visit. As a thank you for our support, we receive a couple of invitations to attend working rehearsals in the Birmingham Hippodrome.
For next season these are:
The Tempest – Thursday 29th September 2016, 7.00pm
The Nutcracker – Thursday 24th November 2016, 7.00pm
Cinderella – Tuesday 14th February 2017, 7.00pm
Coppélia – Monday 12th June 2017, 7.00pm
Baiser Triple Bill – Tuesday 20th June 2017, 7.00pm
If you would like to use the Association’s Gold Barre ticket for any of these rehearsals please let our Chairman know. We will hold a ballot for the tickets where necessary.
It is the time of year when we ask you to renew your membership. Please return the attached renewal form to Liz Atkins, Membership Secretary, as soon as possible, but not later than the end of October. If you joined the Association, as a new member, after the start of April 2016, 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 Liz will get in touch with you with our bank details, but please still send a copy of the form to her by post. Click here for the renewal form (pdf format).
To save on costs your committee has decided to only issue membership cards to new members. So please keep your previous card and cross out the date. If you have lost your card please indicate this on your form, enclose a stamped addressed envelope and Liz will send you a new one. If you have a friend who you think might be interested in joining the Association, please give them a copy of the form.
As most of you will be aware, the Association donated £5,000 towards the revival of the original sets and costumes, with some minor alterations, for the Royal Ballet’s production of Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody. We presented the cheque to our Patron Kevin O’Hare at our Annual Dinner in 2015. We hope that this will be the first of what will become a regular donation to the Company, possibly every two years. To enable us to do this, we ask that all members consider adding a donation to their renewal fee. Those of you who have attended the Open Rehearsals over the last three years have experienced a wonderful opportunity to observe the Company at work. Making a donation to the Association enables members to contribute in a small way towards future revivals, etc. We are very grateful to those members who have made donations over the last year.
The Frederick Ashton Foundation is holding a series of filmed masterclasses given by the original casts of rarely performed works by Frederick Ashton, presented by Alastair Macaulay and featuring dancers of The Royal Ballet. They will be held at The Royal Ballet School, 46 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DA from 2.30-5.30pm with Introduction, discussion and Q&A, followed by a reception.
Sunday 18 September 2016 with Anthony Dowell. Dance of the Blessed Spirits (Dance in the Elysian Fields) (1978) with Vadim Muntagirov and The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Florimund’s Variation, Act II, (1968) with Reece Clarke.
Sunday 13 November 2016 with Merle Park. The Walk to the Paradise Garden (1972): Akane Takada and Ryoichi Hirano.
Sunday 19 February 2017 with Donald MacLeary and Darcey Bussell. Raymonda pas de deux (1962): Marianela Nuñez and tba.
Tickets are £60 per masterclass (£150 if purchasing all three at the same time). Click here for ticket application forms. All proceeds to benefit the Frederick Ashton Foundation (reg. charity no 1143433)
CHAIRMAN: David Bain, 23 Capstan Square, Stewart Street, London E14 3EU
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