At our first Zoom meeting on 10th September 2020 we were delighted to welcome our Patron, Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare as our guest.
Kevin reviewed last season in great detail, highlighting debuts, partnerships and many of the outstanding performances given by members of the Company. He thanked the Association for our donation towards the Cunningham Centennial programme in the Linbury Theatre, which had included a new work, Everyone Keeps Me, by Pam Tanowitz.
The season had seen Cathy Marston’s new work, The Cellist, as well as ballets that had been out of the repertoire for many years, including Enigma Variations, Coppelia, and Dances at a Gathering. Kevin spoke about the special atmosphere that was so apparent at the final performance of Swan Lake on the 12th March 2020, prior to the lockdown which they all knew was about to happen.
During lockdown, Kevin wanted to make sure they kept the Company connected, staying in touch as much as they could, whilst they allowed those who wished to return to their home countries. They set up Zoom classes with Brian Maloney three days a week and Pilates and fitness training on the other two days. Throughout lockdown management held many meetings, much of which came to nothing.
Dancers started returning to the building for class from July 2020 whilst still on furlough. A programme of performances is being screened and last season ended with three concerts which included some live ballet. From the beginning of September 2020, rehearsals have started with dancers rehearsing in Covid-secure bubbles and regular antibody and antigen tests have started.
Members have indicated how impressed they were by Kevin’s up-beat approach to the future and we are very grateful for his enthusiastic support of the Association.
They provided a very detailed account of life as dancers in lockdown and how they had used the time to extend their studies and, in Annette’s case, develop her artwork, some which can be seen and purchased on www.buvolipaints.bigcartel.com.
In August 2020, they performed as part of DistDancing in Hoxton Docks on a pontoon moored by the Potemkin Theatre. A clip of them rehearsing a pas de deux choreographed by Érico Montes was shown during the meeting.
Back in the Opera House they are rehearsing Elite Syncopations and part of Hofesh Shechter’s Untouchable for the Company’s live screening on Friday 9th October 2020. They then spoke about the roles they had performed last season, which for Annette had included some notable solos, including Winifred Norbury in Enigma Variations and Prayer in Coppelia. She also spoke of the wonderful experience of being coached by Dame Monica Mason, which was one of the highlights of her season.
We then talked about their time at the Royal Ballet School, where both received Ballet Association Awards, and their graduation into the Company. In his first year as an Artist, Harry represented the Company in the Erik Bruhn Prize in Canada. This was a fascinating and very enjoyable meeting.
Feedback from members after the meeting has been very positive. One member wrote: “Oooh, what wonderful people! I look forward to seeing their careers progress.”