It is with great sadness that we heard that our long-term member Karen Terry passed away on 30th November 2020 after a short illness.
On a happier note, you will be delighted to hear that Lauren Cuthbertson gave birth to daughter Peggy on December 30th 2020 and Leticia Stock to daughter Gisele Luciana Popple on 25th January 2021. We send our congratulations to both of them. We also send congratulations to former Royal Ballet Company Manager Andrew Hurst and former First Artist Pietra Mello-Pittman who were awarded MBE’s in the New year’s Honours List. Andrew is currently Chief Executive of One Dance UK and Pietra is Co-Director of production company Sisters Grimm with composer Ella Spira, who also received an MBE.
We announced in the last newsletter that First Artist Demelza Parish and Artist Grace Blundell had left The Royal Ballet. They were two of those who chose to take up voluntary redundancy as part of the Royal Opera House response to the coronavirus pandemic. Also choosing to leave under this scheme were Soloist Elizabeth Harrod and First Artists Nathalie Harrison and Gemma Pitchley-Gale. Fernando Montaño has also chosen to leave the Company. The Association sends a present to all those who leave after ten or more years in the Company. We have received messages of thanks from Lizzie, Nathalie, Gemma and Fernando.
Elizabeth Harrod writes: “To David. I would like to thank yourself and the Ballet Association for the very generous cheque. I did not in fact know this was what you liked to do but am extremely grateful and appreciative of the thought. It’s far from an ideal time end my dancing career, but it’s an even less ideal time to pursue it and compromise my family life. I will miss the Royal Ballet terribly but have always had a firm belief that life still has much more to offer than ballet alone. I thank you for the many years of support. With many thanks, love and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021, Lizzie (Harrod/McRae)”
Nathalie Harrison writes: “Thank you so much for the generous and thoughtful letter I received today from the Ballet Association. I know exactly what I’ll purchase and really look forward to sending you a picture of its pride of place! So thoughtful and lovely to have something to commemorate a career! I have all sorts of irons in fires with exciting projects going forward and very much hope and think our paths will cross again professionally. I am always here for anything the Ballet Association may need at all, please always ask if I can help I will. Much love, take care and stay safe & well, Love and gratitude, Nathalie”
Gemma Pitchley-Gale writes: “Hello David, Thank you for your email and letter from the Ballet Association. That’s very kind! It was not on the cards to retire just yet, however, since having my baby girl 5 days before the first lockdown back in March my whole world has changed!! It’s been an emotional decision, but with the arts being hit so hard and the ROH offering voluntary redundancy in order to survive I knew it was something I needed to consider. I have had a wonderful, long and very happy career in my dream company and feel at peace with calling it a day. I feel so blessed and grateful to have been part of the Royal Ballet family and take with me many great memories and experiences. I’d like to thank you all at the Ballet Association for your constant support, interest and love over the years, it is so appreciated. I really hope the world returns to normal in 2021 and we can all get back to enjoying incredible performances at the ROH. I will of course let you know what I buy, thank you. Stay safe and Merry Christmas, Lots of love Gemma xxx”
Fernando Montaño writes: “Dear David and all the members of the Ballet Association, I hope you all are well in this crazy times. Please don’t be sad because I have decided to leave the Royal Ballet in this time of uncertainty; I just didn’t want to continue to be in a wonderful company but where I feel my talent is like a 0 to the left. And long time ago I was told that I didn’t fit in the company and I was trying to fit in for so long but, I have realised that I have nothing to prove to anyone as this world is very big and I think there is space for everyone. Fortunately, my hard work and talent is offering me great opportunities elsewhere and I don’t want to miss them; therefore, it is better to go. I really appreciate your generosity and love with the money you are willing to offer me I will put it into my foundation and building the websites etc.
I will like to share with all the associates my Hay Festival presentation this year so you could all get to know more about me as I don’t think when it happened that the company shared any news about me taking part of this prestigious festival.
I will keep you informed about my Book publication and other things. And please do let me know if in the future you will like to do a Zoom conversation with the Association and share the link as I can answer any questions. Lots of love Fernando.”
And, later: “I have got the cheque safely, thank you so much for your generosity, as I said before I will use this money for charity. I will send it to the kids I help in Nigeria as it will do a lot of good to Anthony and his colleagues!”