There are no Association meetings in June or July, though in June 2019 there is the Open Rehearsal on 12th and trip to Birmingham on 20th/21st. In July there is a film show to which members are invited. See later.
Our first meeting of next season will be on Wednesday 28 August 2019 when we are delighted to welcome Royal Ballet Principal Francesca Hayward as our guest. Francesca last spoke to the Association in April 2014, the season in which she had been promoted to First Artist. Just over two years later she became a Principal. Whilst at the Royal Ballet School she won the Lynn Seymour Award for Expressive Dance, Young British Dancer and a Silver Medal and Audience Award at the Genée Competition. At the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, she won Best Emerging Dancer in 2014 and Best Female Dancer in 2016.
Francesca has performed roles across The Royal Ballet’s repertoire, including, more recently, Juliet, Princess Stephanie, Perdita, Manon and Within the Golden Hour. For much of the current season she has had leave of absence to participate in the filming of Tom Hooper’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Catsas Victoria. So, Francesca has an enormous amount to talk about! We can expect a fascinating evening.
At our first meeting in the next month on Wednesday 4 September 2019 we are delighted to welcome British choreographer Cathy Marston as our guest. Cathy’s new work for The Royal Ballet, based on the momentous life and career of the cellist Jacqueline du Pré, will receive its premiere next February. Cathy started work on the piece with some dancers last season and returns at the start of the new season. We are delighted that she has found time in her schedule to talk to the Association about her career.
Educated in Cambridge and The Royal Ballet Upper School, Cathy was an Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House in 2002-07 and Director of Bern Ballet in Switzerland 2007-13. She has also choreographed for The Royal Opera, including Król Rogerin 2015. Her great gift is her ability to join artistic dots, creating form for stories, emotions and ideas.
Recently, her Jane Eyre, originally for Northern Ballet, was restaged on ABT and will, in the Autumn, be mounted on a collaboration between ABT and Joffrey Ballet. This Summer, San Francisco Ballet performed her Snowblindat Sadler’s Wells and earlier in the year she received the 2018 Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for New Choreography, Classical, for The Suitfor Ballet Black. In 2018 she created Prósperafor Ballet Nacional de Cuba, which received its premiere at the International Ballet Festival in Havana. Cathy last spoke to the Association in 2003.
At our meeting on Wednesday 11 September 2019, we have our annual meeting when two of the newer members of the Company talk about their training, their time in the Royal Ballet and the most recent Royal Ballet tour. This year, it is a pleasure to welcome Artists Sophie Allnatt and Aiden O’Brien as our guests. Both were Junior Associates, trained at the Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet whilst students. Born in Essex, Sophie graduated in 2011 and danced with Scottish Ballet and Magdeburg Ballet, where she performed soloist and principal roles. In 2018, she performed Summer in Jenna Lee’s The Four Seasons, with New English Ballet.
Aiden was born in Perth and was a Junior Associate of Scottish Ballet as well as The Royal Ballet School. In School performances he danced in Les Rendezvous, La Bayadere, Concerto and Solo.He joined The Royal Ballet on the Aud Jebsen Young Dancer Programme for the 2017/18 season. Both joined as Artists at the start of the 2018/19 season. These meetings with newer dancers are always very enjoyable and a good opportunity to meet them early in their Royal Ballet careers. This meeting will be held in the Friendship Centre, which is in the Church’s basement. There is a lift for those who require it.
At our meeting on Tuesday 08 October 2019, we are delighted to welcome The Royal Ballet’s newest Principal, Portuguese dancer Marcelino Sambé.The Association is especially proud of Marcelino, as he is the first of our Royal Ballet School Award winners to become a Principal in the Company. He won our award twice, at the end of his first and second years in the School in 2011 and 2012 and joined the Company during the 2012/13 Season.
Born in Lisbon, Marcelino studied at the National Conservatory there, before joining The Royal Ballet Upper School. His other awards include a silver medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition in 2008, first prize at Youth America Grand Prix in 2009, a gold medal and special award at the USA International Ballet Competition in 2010 and the Award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) at the Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards in 2017. Performances at School included in John Neumeier’s Yonderlingand Alastair Marriott’s Simple Symphony.Recent roles have included Perseus in Medusa,Romeo, Basilio, Colas, Oberon, Mercutio, and Hans-Peter/Nutcracker.
Coming up this next season, his roles include one in Cathy Marston’s new ballet, Franz in Coppelia, Lescaut in Manon and Siegfried. Although Marcelino spoke to the Association twice as a student, he hasn’t since he joined the Company, so we can expect a fascinating evening.