For our two meetings in October 2020 we welcome guests whose scheduled meetings earlier this year had to be cancelled.On Wednesday 7th October 2020 we are privileged to welcome the recently knighted Sir David Bintley, who retired in 2019 after 24 years as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Tombeaux, David’s tribute to Frederick Ashton and British ballet tradition, was scheduled to open the Royal Ballet’s final programme of last season in June 2020. After training at The Royal Ballet School, David joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, where amongst many roles, he was noted for the title role in Petrushka, and Alain and Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée.
His first creation for the Company was The Outsider in 1978. After a number of creations for SWRB, David moved to The Royal Ballet as Resident Choreographer from 1986-93. After two years as a freelance choreographer working with companies including San Francisco, Stuttgart and in South Africa, David became Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1995. In 2010 he also became Director of the National Ballet of Japan, where he choreographed joint productions with BRB, including Aladdin and Prince of the Pagodas. David has choreographed a large number of one-act and full-length story ballets including Hobson’s Choice, Edward II, Cyrano, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.
There is obviously much to discuss after such a busy career and we look forward to also hearing about his activities since retiring.
At our next meeting on Wednesday 21st October 2020 we are delighted to welcome First Soloist Itziar Mendizabel as our guest.
Earlier this year she portrayed Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin alongside Thiago Soares in his final performances with the Royal Ballet. Itziar last spoke to the Association in 2011, a year after her arrival in the Company as a First Soloist.
Brought up in a small Basque speaking village in northern Spain, Itziar joined Victor Ullate’s Company in Madrid after graduating from his school in 1997. She then moved to Zurich Ballet in 2003 and to Leipzig Ballet in 2006, where she became a Principal in 2008, dancing roles such as Katerina in Taming of the Shrew, Odette/Odile and Giselle. In 2009 she was nominated for the Benois de la danse awards.
Since joining the Royal Ballet, Itziar has danced roles across the repertoire including the Firebird, Princess Epine in Prince of the Pagodas, the Tsarina in Anastasia, Queen of Hearts, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, Gypsy Girl in The Two Pigeons, Myrthe, Lilac Fairy, Bluebird, Carabosse, Sugar Plum Fairy, Marie Larisch, Lescaut’s Mistress and Olga in Winter Dreams.
Itziar also taught class at the Royal Ballet School a few years ago, whilst she was undergoing the Teachers’ Training Course. We can expect a very entertaining evening.
On Thursday 19th November 2020 we are delighted to welcome as our guest, Jonathan Cope. Formerly a Principal and then Répétiteur with The Royal Ballet as well as President of the Association, Jonathan needs little introduction.
He joined the Company in 1982, was promoted to Principal in 1986 and was Répétiteur from 2005 to 2019. Highly acclaimed as a danseur noble in the classical repertory, he performed in most of the Company’s repertoire including Kenneth MacMillan’s works. He created roles in MacMillan’s Different Drummer, Le Baiser de la fée and Prince of the Pagodas, and in ballets by Wayne Eagling, Ashley Page, David Bintley and Christopher Wheeldon.
He won the South Bank Show Dance Award in 2003 and was appointed a CBE. His many partnerships included those with his wife Maria Almeida, Darcey Bussell and Sylvie Guillem. It is many years since Jonathan last spoke to the Association. Currently based mainly in Portugal, where his wife grew up, we can expect a very entertaining evening.