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September/October 2017 newsletter

WE STARTED THE NEW SEASON with three very entertaining meetings. At the end of August, we welcomed Royal Ballet Principal Alexander Campbell as our guest. We started by talking about the recent Royal Ballet tour to Brisbane and Alexander’s debut as Florizel in The Winter’s Tale partnering Akane Takada, and the Knave of Hearts in Alice. He gave an account of the gala performance in Cairns, which being outside was interrupted by a storm. Kevin introduced him as Australian, which received a great ovation, until he added ‘from Sydney.’ We talked about the variety of roles that he has performed since joining the Royal Ballet, before touching on his appearance on Test Match Special. Probably the only ballet dancer to be interviewed on ‘In a View from the Boundary’, Alexander explained how his father’s involvement in Australian cricket led to his involvement in a course organised by the ECB. 
A couple of weeks later we were delighted to welcome Bennet Gartside and to congratulate him on his promotion to Principal Character Artist. Again, Benn started by talking about his performances on the recent tour, which included performing Leontes in The Winter’s Tale twice in one day as Thiago Soares was injured. Benn then talked about his development as an actor, highlights having included Prince Gremin, Crown Prince Rudolf, Bottom, Widow Simone and the Husband in The Concert. Benn then spoke of other aspects of his career, including his forthcoming performances in The Judas Tree. For some years Benn has taught class for Opera House employees and has now taken over Isabel McMeekan’s classes for the public, which are attended by some members of the Association. 
At our second meeting in September, we were delighted to welcome Royal Ballet Soloist Mayara Magri. We are extremely grateful to Mayara for agreeing to talk at relatively short notice. She told us about her spectacular Summer, dancing as Giselle in Sao Paolo, performing in the Festival in Joinville, and most recently dancing at the opening of the New Theatre in Hull and the Concerto pas de deux at the Ann Maguire Gala in Leeds. Last season she danced the Gypsy Girl in The Two Pigeons, many roles in Sleeping Beauty, which she also performed in the department store Liberty, Rubies, and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, and many other roles. This season she will dance in Twyla Tharp’s The Illustrated ‘Farewell’. Brazilian, Mayara trained in Rio before winning the Senior Age Division at Youth America Grand Prix and a scholarship and audience prize at Prix de Lausanne in 2011. She used her scholarship to join The Royal Ballet School and joined the Royal Ballet in 2012, was promoted to First Artist in 2015 and to Soloist in 2016. Mayara gave us a very entertaining evening. Sarah Lamb, who was originally scheduled for this meeting, is still rehabilitating from the injury she received last season and our meeting with her will be rescheduled for later in the season when she is fully recovered. We apologise that the change of speaker could only be notified to those who receive newsletters by email.
A summary report is available on our website 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.
Future meetings 
On Thursday 12 October we are extremely privileged to welcome a very special guest, Dame Beryl Grey. Dame Beryl celebrated her 90th birthday in June. We are pleased to announce that she has fully recovered after an operation for cancer in the Summer. Dame Beryl needs no introduction, being one of those whose name is synonymous with British Ballet. Making her debut with the Company when fourteen, she danced her first Odette/Odile in 1942, aged fifteen. Beryl will speak of her career, including her time at the Bolshoi and as Director of London Festival Ballet, as well as speaking about her involvement with the companies in recent years. Earlier this year Oberon Books published her autobiography, For the Love of Dance, and we will have copies available at a discounted price of £20, and there will be an opportunity to get your copy signed at the end of the meeting. (Full price is £25.)
Unfortunately we have had to cancel our second meeting of the month on Wednesday 25 October.
Our meeting on Thursday 2 November will be preceded at 6.30pm by our AGM (see later). We are extremely honoured to have American choreographer Twyla Tharp as our guest after our AGM. This meeting will start a little earlier than usual at 7.15pm, to enable Twyla to prepare for the next day’s general rehearsal of her new ballet The Illustrated ‘Farewell’, which expands on her 1973 classic As Time Goes By. As previously announced, the Ballet Association has donated £5,000 towards this production. In 1995 Twyla choreographed Mr Worldly Wise for the Company and two years later they performed Push Comes to Shove. Later this season BRB perform her In the Upper Room. Since graduating in 1963, Twyla has choreographed more than 160 works, 129 dances, 12 television specials, five Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure-skating routines. She has won numerous awards and has choreographed for companies worldwide including her own company Twyla Tharp Dance. We can expect a very special evening. 
Provisional dates for meetings this season are: Wednesday 15 November, Friday 8 December,  Thursday 4 January, Thursday 18 January, Thursday 25 January, Wednesday 14 February, Thursday 22 February, Thursday 8 March, Thursday 22 March, Thursday 12 April, Friday 20 April, Thursday 10 May, Thursday 24 May, Thursday 7 June. Please note that the meetings scheduled for 5 October, 25 October, 24 November and Wednesday 13 December have been cancelled.

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.
Annual General Meeting  
The meeting on Thursday 2 November will be preceded by our AGM. Consequently, the evening’s proceedings will commence at 6.30pm and doors will open at 6.00pm. It will be held at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. The AGM will be followed at 7.15pm by our meeting with Twyla Tharp
1. Apologies
2. Minutes of previous Annual General Meeting
3. Matters Arising
4. Chairman’s Report
5. Financial Report
6. Election of Committee
7. Any Other Business

At this meeting we shall be electing Honorary Officers and Committee Members. The Committee for 2016-17 season was David Bain (Chairman and Organising Secretary), Liz Atkins (Membership Secretary), Melanie Shipton (Treasurer), Liz Bouttell (Reporting Secretary), Ann Maclennan (Events Secretary), Rachel Holland, Chris Scott, Chiara Gorodesky, Roger Handley, Ann Dawson and Jacqui Sporle. Ann Maclennan was co-opted after the last AGM. Chiara and Chris are currently in the USA and Russia respectively. 

Association members wishing to nominate candidates for election or wishing to join the committee themselves should write to the Chairman, David Bain, by Monday 30 October. No nomination can be received at the AGM. Candidates for election must be proposed and seconded, in writing, by members of the Association. Anyone interested in joining the committee should contact David to discuss what it entails. Please do not contact him about this before 12th October. Prospective committee members ideally should be able to write reports on meetings, a job shared by the committee when Liz Bouttell is unavailable. The various Secretaries, Treasurer and committee members will be elected at the meeting. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman are appointed by the Committee at their first meeting after the AGM. 
In addition to the changes at The Royal Ballet announced in the last newsletter, members will have heard that Soloist Eric Underwood decided to leave the Company at the start of this season after 11 years to pursue opportunities elsewhere. We wish him great success with his new ventures.
We send our congratulations to First Artist Demelza Parish who got married during the Summer holidays and to Ballet Mistress Samantha Raine on the birth of her baby daughter in August. 
Zenaida Yanowsky, who retired from The Royal Ballet at the end of last season, returns to dance the Queen of Hearts, a role she created, in Alice on 27 September and 9 and 23 October. 
Members with long memories will have been saddened to hear of the death earlier this month of Tamara Tchinarova (Finch) at the age of 98. Tamara was one of the last surviving dancers of the Ballet Russes which she joined in 1932 aged 13.  Married for some years to actor Peter Finch, she wrote occasionally for the Dancing Times. 
Members are reminded that there is 24 hours of live streaming of ballet classes and rehearsals on World Ballet Day on Thursday 5 October from The Australian Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet with recorded sections from many other companies including ENB, BRB, Northern and Scottish Ballet.

Freed of London factory visit
Tuesday 17 October, 10.30-12.30, 62-64 Well Street, Hackney, London E9 7PX 
After two successful visits, earlier this year, we have arranged an additional autumn tour.
Freed of London has a long-established tradition and is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of professional dance shoes. Two thirds of all Freed’s classic pointe shoes are made to dancers’ specific requirements and as Freed supplies most major ballet companies worldwide they are worn by Prima Ballerinas the world over.

As the factory is an old building it does not meet modern accessibility requirements and there are about ten steps up to the front door and once inside a flight of stairs down to the toilets. However the welcome will be warm and refreshments will be provided. Although Freed do not make a charge themselves we would ask for a donation of £12.50 to go to the BA’s funds for supporting young dancers. 
Royal Opera House, Bow Street Backstage Tour
Tuesday 21 November at 10.30
We have arranged an exclusive tour for BA members so we expect (although no absolute guarantee) to have a custom-made tour with a ballet slant.
Thurrock Tour in the High House Production Park in Purfleet
Friday 12 January 2018 at 1.30
This tour will give you the opportunity to see the production workshop and costume centre and to see in action and hear about some of the skills needed to produce the sets and scenery for ballet (and opera). You will be able to view the craftspeople at work from the viewing galleries. You will get an understanding and appreciation of what is involved in transporting the sets to Covent Garden and hopefully see some of the historic and very special costumes from the archive collection.
There is an on-site café serving sandwiches, paninis and hot drinks and it is from here our tour will start. The tour itself is fully accessible. The site is a 15 minute walk from the nearest train station at Purfleet.  There is a half hourly service (c2c) to Purfleet from Fenchurch Street and West Ham.
For all these events please see the booking form attached to this newsletter. Any queries please contact Ann Maclennan by email at or on 020 8941 1607.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director’s Appeal Gold Barre  
The Association has renewed its Gold Barre membership of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director’s Appeal. As in previous years this entitles us to two reserved seats at each rehearsal, with some refreshments before. If you would like to attend any of the rehearsals please write to our Chairman, indicating if you need one or two tickets. If necessary, we will hold a ballot. Doors open one hour in advance. 
The rehearsals are:
  Penguin Café Mixed Programme Tuesday 26th September – 7pm
  Aladdin Tuesday 3rd October – 1.30pm
  The Sleeping Beauty Monday 12th February 2018 – 7pm
  In The Upper Room Mixed Programme Tuesday 19th June – 7.00pm
  Romeo and Juliet Monday 25th June – 7pm
It is the time of year when we ask you to renew your membership. Please return the renewal form to Liz Atkins, Membership Secretary, no later than the end of October. If you joined the Association, as a new member, after the start of April 2017, your membership covers this coming season. Your membership card will have indicated this. To save on costs your committee has decided to only issue membership cards to new members on joining. If you have lost your card and need a replacement, 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 marking it as an application. If you have an email address, please consider receiving the newsletter by email in future given the rising cost of postage. 
As mentioned above, the Association has made a second donation to the Royal Ballet towards a partial revival. For the 2015-16 season, we donated £5,000 towards the revival of the original sets and costumes, with some minor alterations, for the Company’s production of Rhapsody. For the 2017-18 season, we have made a similar donation towards Twyla Tharp’s The Illustrated ‘Farewell’, a new ballet which expands her class As Time Goes By. We presented the cheque to our Patron Kevin O’Hare at our Annual Dinner in March.

We hope that this 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 small donation to their renewal fee. Those of you who have attended the Open Rehearsals over the last four 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 and new work. We are very grateful to those members who have made donations over the last year. 
Men in Motion
London Coliseum, 22nd & 23rd November
“Showcasing male strength, beauty and diversity at its best”   Harper’s Bazaar

“It makes a pretty wonderful case for the male dancer”  The Guardian
Once again Ivan Putrov has assembled an international cast of award-winning dancers. Men in Motion regulars Royal Ballet Principal Edward Watson, Daniel Proietto (Norwegian National Ballet), Marian Walter (Principal,  Berlin State Ballet) and Matthew Ball (Royal Ballet First Soloist) are joined by new recruits Timofej Andrijashenko (Soloist, La Scala) and Mathieu Ganio (Etoile, Paris Opera). The performances feature choreography ranging from Fokine and Nijinsky to Maliphant and Pita. Ivan Putrov dances the role made famous by Nijinsky in Fokine’s Le Spectre de la rose. Daniel Proietto performs Russell Maliphant’s exquisite Afterlight, inspired by Nijinsky. Royal Ballet principal, Edward Watson reprises Arthur Pita’s comic but ultimately poignant Volver,Volver which sees him move from matinee idol to Spiderman. Marian Walter and Timofej Andrijashenko dance the pas de deux from Roland Petit's Proust. Men in Motion is accompanied by a live orchestra under the direction of Richard Bernas. 
The Frederick Ashton Foundation: Ashton Rediscovered 2017-18
A series of masterclasses given by the original casts of rarely performed works by Frederick Ashton. Introduced by Jane Pritchard and featuring dancers of The Royal Ballet. To be filmed for educational and research purposes. Held at The Royal Ballet Upper School, 46 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DA.
  Sunday 19 November 2017 with Anthony Dowell, 2.30-5.30pm Le Rossignol (1981)
  Sunday 11 February 2018 with Monica Mason, 2.30-5.30pm Spanish Dance from Swan Lake (1963) 

Each masterclass will include an Introduction, Q&A and drinks reception. Booking is now open:
Tickets: £60 per person - download the ticket application form. For further information, please email or leave a message on 020 7212 9627 (voicemail). All proceeds to benefit the Frederick Ashton Foundation (reg. charity no. 1143433)

Sylvia Tyler
We are reminded by our first Chairman and co-founder Shane Tyler that October 2017 is the Association’s 44th Anniversary. Some members may wish to mark this by visiting the grave of his wife and co-founder Sylvia Ann Tyler, our former membership secretary or sending flowers. Her grave is in Edgwarebury Cemetery, Edgwarebury Lane, Edgeware, Middlesex, HA8 8QP. Details of transport, etc. can be obtained from Emma Durkin, Customer Services Administrator on 020 8958 0090 or or at their website

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