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    April/May Newsletter

    Future Meetings

    At our meeting on Monday 15th April,  we are delighted to welcome Royal Ballet First Artists Joshua Junker  and Francisco Serrano.  Both are former winners of the Association’s Royal Ballet School Awards in 2016 and 2015 respectively and joined The Royal Ballet’s Aud Jebsen Young Dancer’s programme a year later, being promoted to First Artists in 2022. Joshua was born in the Netherlands and studied breakdance and contemporary dance before joining the Royal Conservatoire The Hague when 14 and the Royal Ballet School two years later. Francisco was born in the USA and has a Cuban background. He also began his ballet training aged 14 at the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.

    With the Royal Ballet, Joshua has danced Hans Peter/The Nutcracker and soloist roles across the repertoire, including the leading role in Kyle Abraham’s The Weathering,created his first piece for the Opera House Main Stage, Never Known, as part of the Festival of New Choreography. 

    Francisco’s roles have included Mercutio, as well as creating roles in Secret Thingsand Untitled, recently dancing the role of the Drum Major in Different Drummer  Francisco performed one of the leading roles in Joshua's ballet and will join Joshua in discussion on the creation of the work as well as talking about other aspects of their careers.

    At our second meeting of the month on Monday 22nd April  we are very pleased to welcome back Royal Ballet First Soloist Melissa Hamilton  as our guest. A very busy young lady, she recently performed in Melissa Hamilton’s International Ballet Stars Galaat the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore, which she organised through Hamilton Christou Productions. She also regularly appears with Roberto Bolle in performancess around the world. Recently, at the Opera House, she has performed in Requiem, Swan Lakeand Robert Binet’s Dark with Excessive Brightas well as the role of Manon.  Born in Belfast, Melissa joined The Royal Ballet as an Arist in 2007 and was promoted to First Soloist in 2013.

    Our meeting on Tuesday 14th May  will be our biennial one with our Patron and Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare.  As always, Kevin will look back over the last two years as well as looking forward to the programme for next season. Following a career as Principal with Sadler’s Wells/ Birmingham Royal Ballet, Kevin retired from the stage in 2000 and became Director of The Royal Ballet in 2012. During his directorship, Kevin has introduced a variety of new choreographic voices to the Company as well as reviving much of its heritage repertoire. Amongst many topics, he will speak about the Ashton celebrations this summer, including the visit of Sarasota Ballet and the two mixed programmes.

    On Monday 20th May  we will have our first Zoom meeting of the season with former Royal Ballet dancer, Royal Ballet School teacher and choreographer Petal Ashmole Winstanley (nèe Miller),  whose book Get Up, Dress Up, Show Upis to be published at the end of the month. Petal grew up in Perth, Australia. Married to principal David Ashmole, she danced many soloist and principal roles with both the Royal Ballet and Australian Ballet. She has choreographed works for both the Royal and Australian Schools as well as various companies. Her book recounts a journey of creative fulfilment offset by deep sadness and loss; that of a longed-for baby and the grief of losing three husbands.


    The Royal Ballet Open Rehearsal Thursday 23rd May, 12.00-2.00pm, The Clore Studio

    We are delighted to announce that The Royal Ballet would like, once again, to welcome Ballet Association members to attend studio rehearsals. It is a great privilege to be invited to watch rehearsals during the Company’s normal working day. This year, we are invited to attend rehearsals on Thursday 23rd May from 12.00 – 2.00pm in the Clore Studio.  These will probably be rehearsals of works from the two Ashton programmes which open in June.


    Ballet Association Annual Dinner 30th May 2024 7.00-10.45pm, The Chesterfield Hotel, Mayfair.

    The Dinner is always one of the highlights of the Association’s year. 

    guests for the evening will include the Director and Assistant Director of Sarasota Ballet, Iain Webband Margaret Barbieri  and former Principal and former Director of Dutch National and English National Ballets; Wayne Eagling,  who is staging Hamlet and Opheliaon the second Ashton programme and recently coached the principals in Different Drummer; and Guest Rèpètiteurs and former Principals Laura Morera  and Zenaida Yanowsky.  As well as our Patron and Presidents, there will be other guests from across all ranks in the Company.   


    Annual Visit to the Royal Ballet Upper School Wednesday 8th May 9.15a.m

    Our annual visit to the Royal Ballet Upper School in Floral Street to watch classes and rehearsals will be on Wednesday 8th May.



    Elmhurst Ballet School’s Company presents Modeat the Shaw Theatre in London at 2.30 and 7.30 on Saturday 11thMay and at Elmhurst Ballet School at 7pm on the 17th and 18th May. The programme contains the new work by Michael Corder  which those attending our trip to Birmingham in February saw being rehearsed.

    Christopher Marney,  the Director of the newly reformed London City Ballet has announced that former BRB Principal Iain Mackay  has been appointed their Rehearsal Director and that former Royal Ballet Principal Alina Cojocaru  will perform with them during their London seasons.

    Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beatrice Parma was promoted to Principal after her performance in Sleeping Beautyin Plymouth in March.

    Royal Ballet Principal Francesca Hayward  was appointed  as Lead Ambassador for the Royal Ballet School Affiliate Programme.

    A date for your diary: our annual trip to Elmhurst Ballet School and Birmingham Royal Ballet will be next February to see David Bintley’s production of Cinderella. Details will be in the next newsletter.

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