On 5February 2020, we are delighted to welcome Ballet Mistress Helen Crawford as our guest. Born in Ipswich, Helen was trained at the Linda Shipton School of Ballet before joining the Royal Ballet School. Whilst at White Lodge she danced Clara in The Royal Ballet’s production of Nutcracker.At the School’s annual matinée performances she danced solo roles in Raymonda Act IIIand La Bayadere.
Helen joined The Royal Ballet in 1999 and became a First Soloist in 2009. She retired from dancing in 2019 and was appointed Ballet Mistress. Helen has danced roles across the repertoire, including Lise, Olga, Lilac Fairy, Winter Fairy, Myrthe, Lescaut’s Mistress, Harlot, Tsarevna, Rose Fairy, Five Brahms’ Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan and Mitzi Caspar and created roles in Wayne McGregor’s Qualiaand Liam Scarlett, William Tuckett and Jonathan Watkin’s collaboration Diana and Acteon in Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.We can look forward to an interesting evening, looking back on Helen’s career and discussing her new role.
On 19 February 2020, it is our pleasure to welcome First Soloist Melissa Hamilton. Born in Belfast, Melissa grew up in County Down and in 2013 was appointed the Allianz Arts and Cultural Brand Ambassador for Northern Ireland. She trained at the Jennifer Bullick School of Ballet before joining Elmhurst School of Dance aged 16 for two years and then training privately with Masha Mukhamedov in Athens.
In 2007 she won at the Youth America Grand Prix and later that year joined The Royal Ballet, becoming a First Soloist in 2013. From early in her career, Melissa has created roles in many of Wayne McGregor’s ballet, including Infra, Yugen, Woolf Works, Limen, Carbon Lifeand Acis and Galatea.Other roles have included Manon, Juliet, Mary Vetsera, Raven Girl, Sugar Plum Fairy, Queen of the Dryads, Olga, Lilac Fairy, Terpsichore and roles in Afternoon of the Faun, Symphonic Variations, Rubies, Requiem, Tryst, Requiem, Tryst, Las Hermanas, Agon, Gloria, DGV, The Concert, Song of the Earthand Judas Tree.In 2009 she won the National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance (Classical).
For two seasons from 2015-2017, Melissa took leave of absence to dance as a Principal with Semperoper Ballet, Dresden, where she made her debuts as Nikiya, Aurora and Odette / Odile. Melissa also regularly dances with Roberto Bolle around the world. It is over five years since Melissa last spoke to us, so there is much to catch up on and we can expect an entertaining evening.