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Dame Beryl Grey CH, DBE in conversation with Mike Dixon

Monday 19 March, 2018 at the earlier time of 7.00 pm

Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London, SW1A 2HJ

Payment at the door, members £5, guests £8

In her 91st year Dame Beryl is still very much involved in ballet. She is President of English National Ballet, Life President of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, President of the British Ballet Organisation, Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dance and Patron of the Dance Professionals Fund as well as being a Vice President of The London Ballet Circle. Born in 1927, she joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet in 1941, making her debut as Odette/Odile on her 15th birthday; performing her first Giselle at 17 and Princess Aurora at 19. She remained with the company until 1957 by which time it had become the Royal Ballet. After this she free-lanced and became the first ballerina from the West to perform in Soviet Russia at the Bolshoi (1958) and in Communist China (1964). Back in the UK she became Artistic Director of Festival Ballet (1968 - 1979) increasing the company's repertoire including commissioning Rudolf Nureyev to create Romeo & Juliet in 1977. Last year she published her autobiography, For the Love of Dance, which captured the information from journals she has kept throughout her life. We look forward to hearing more tales from this source. Dame Beryl has indicated that she will be prepared to sign copies of her book for members if they bring them with them on the night.

Viviana Durante in conversation with Dame Monica Mason

Monday 9 April 2018, 7.30 pm

Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London, SW1A 2HJ

Payment at the door, members £5, guests £8

Italian dancer Viviana Durante is a former Principal of The Royal Ballet. She trained at The Royal Ballet School and graduated into the company in 1984 and was promoted to Principal in 1989 aged 21. She left the company in 1996 and continued to appear regularly as a Guest Artist until 2000. Both with The Royal Ballet and with companies around the world she won renown for her intensely dramatic performances. Viviana was born in Rome. She began her training aged six at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and moved to London to join The Royal Ballet School aged 10. Amongst her many roles for the company she won particular acclaim for her performances in ballets by Kenneth MacMillan, her roles including Manon, Anastasia, Mary Vetsera (Mayerling) and in The Judas Tree, a role she created. She also enjoyed a famed dance partnership with Irek Mukhamedov. In 1999 she joined American Ballet Theatre as a principal, and subsequently joined La Scala Ballet, Milan, as a principal guest artist, while continuing to dance regularly with leading companies around the world, particularly K Ballet, Tokyo. Viviana has performed at the National Theatre and as an actress has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival and on film in Ogni 27 Agosto. She has choreographed and directed for her own company at Dance Base, Edinburgh, the National Theatre Studio and the Barbican Centre. She is a patron of the Hammond School and New English Ballet Theatre, and has appeared as a juror for many competitions including the Prix de Lausanne, Beijing International Ballet Competition, and The Royal Ballet School’s Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition and Kenneth MacMillan Choreographic Award.

Visit to the Royal Ballet Upper School

Wednesday 2 May 2018, 9.00 - 3.00 pm

46 Floral Street, London, WC2E 9DA

Payment in advance, LBC members £15, guests £20

Once again, we have arranged a visit to the Upper School in Floral Street to watch three classes. This is a joint visit with the Ballet Association and initially will only be open to members of the BA or LBC. If you would like to attend, please send your name, address and contact details (preferably an email address) to David Bain, Chairman, The Ballet Association, 23 Capstan Square, Stewart Street, London E14 3EU. The cost of the visit will be £15.00. Please indicate whether you belong to the BA or LBC or both, so that we can allocate places fairly. Please enclose a cheque made payable to The Ballet Association. If you have no email address, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope. All monies collected will be donated to The Royal Ballet School to provide additional funds for students. Please apply before 27 March. If you would like to bring a guest, at a cost of £20, please indicate this in your letter, but do not include them in your cheque. The Ballet Association will contact you after 27 March to confirm whether or not any guest places are available. The Ballet Association will not be issuing tickets. Places will be confirmed by email (or post). Your name will be placed on a list, which will be held at the door. If a 9.00 am start is too early for you, it will be possible to join us at morning break around 10.30 am. Please indicate in your letter if you will be a late arrival. There will be a 45-minute lunch break before the afternoon session. The School politely requests that you leave the premises during this break, as they do not have the space to allow you to eat lunch on site. However, if you have any mobility issues, please indicate this in your letter and provision will be made for you to stay on site during the break and seating will be reserved for you in the theatre. You are reminded that the School does not allow visitors to take photographs of the students. 

Dame Monica Mason, in conversation with Jane Pritchard

Monday 21 May 2018, 7.30 pm

Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London, SW1A 2HJ

Payment at the door, members £5, guests £8

Dame Monica, President of the London Ballet Circle, is former Director of The Royal Ballet, a position she held 2002–12. She trained at The Royal Ballet School and entered the Company aged 16, becoming the Company’s youngest member. She was appointed Répétiteur to Kenneth MacMillan in 1980; Principal Répétiteur to The Royal Ballet in 1984; Assistant Director in 1991 and Director in December 2002. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Royal Ballet in 2006 she and Christopher Newton revived the Company’s iconic 1946 staging of The Sleeping Beauty. Born in Johannesburg in 1941 Dame Monica came to England aged 14 to train at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet and The Royal Ballet School, and joined the Company in 1958. In 1962 she was selected by MacMillan from the corps de ballet to create the demanding role of the Chosen Maiden (The Rite of Spring). She went on to create several major roles for MacMillan, including Lescaut’s Mistress (Manon), Calliope Rag (Elite Syncopations), Summer (The Four Seasons) and the Midwife (Rituals). She became a principal in 1968, dancing repertory that included classical and dramatic roles. She was also a highly praised interpreter of the lead female role in MacMillan’s Song of the Earth. In 2002 Mason was awarded an OBE and in 2008 was created a Dame Commander for her services to dance. In 2014 she became Chairman of The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund.

Visit to Central School of Ballet

Wednesday 23 May 2018, 2.00 pm* to 4.00 pm

10 Herbal Hill, Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5EG

Please give your name in advance. Donations are requested but not obligatory - a minimum of £12.50 is suggested.

Members and guests welcome

We are delighted to have been offered another opportunity to visit the Central School of Ballet to watch the graduate year, formed into the company Ballet Central, rehearse some of the repertoire for their end of year show to be performed at venues throughout the UK. *Because of limited waiting space we are requested not to arrive before 1.45 pm. The afternoon will end around 4.00 pm with tea in the Library. The nearest underground station is Farringdon (Circle and Metropolitan lines and London Overground), turn right on leaving the station into Farringdon Road, cross at the traffic lights and turn right until you reach Clerkenwell Road, turn left and Herbal Hill is the first side turning you reach. If you would like to take part in this visit please advise Audrey Allen and if you wish to make a donation please send a cheque, made payable to The London Ballet Circle, to Audrey Allen, 8 Goldsmith Road, London, N11 3JP, 020 8361 2872, Acknowledgements of your donation and confirmation of places will be made by email where applicable but if you require a written receipt please enclose a stamped addressed envelope. You are reminded that the School does not allow visitors to take photographs of the students. More guidance notes on school visits appear at the end of this Newsletter.

Dame Ninette de Valois and Dame Alicia Markova in conversation – a film by David Gayle

Monday 18 June, 7.30 pm

Civil Service Club 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London, SW1A 2HJ

Payment at the door, members £5, guests £8

Clement Crisp, Dance Critic of the Financial Times, wrote the following sleeve note: The Yorkshire Ballet Seminars that David Gayle organized and masterminded for three decades were unique and wonderful events, bringing some of the greatest dancers in the world to teach and inspire youthful students and to touch these young people with the magic of their presence and guide them with their immense knowledge. World famous artists were happy to accept Gayle’s invitations. Dame Ninette de Valois, founder and long-time director of the Royal Ballet and Dame Alicia Markova, one of the greatest ballerinas of the twentieth century were both teaching and coaching at these Seminars. These two prodigious ladies of dance had known each other since 1925, when the child Markova joined Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes – of which Dame Ninette was a member – as the company left London on a foggy morning to travel back to its base in Monte Carlo. In the summer of 1985, they talk of this, of working with Diaghilev and of those crucial years when British ballet – in which they were both vital figures – with great humour and also with profound insights. Their conversation is both uniquely valuable and delightfully relaxed; two great women remembering and sharing their memories. Here is history as witnessed by two people who made it. 

Other events

Save these dates for LBC events:

Our venue

The Dining Room, First Floor, Civil Service Club, 13-15 Gt Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ

We are most grateful to all members who suggested possible venues for our meetings, following the announcement that we could no longer use Waterstone's in Piccadilly. The Civil Service Club has been investigated and found to be suitable for our needs, with many advantages and good transport links. Gt Scotland Yard, off Whitehall, is easily reached from Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross main line or underground (Northern and Bakerloo lines) and Embankment (District, Northern and District lines), and not all that far from Leicester Square underground, for those of us wedded to the Piccadilly line. You can check the venue on the map by clicking here. The room we shall be using is the Dining Room on the first floor (there is a lift). There are toilets on the ground and second floors. We are welcome to use the bar on the ground floor which is open until 11pm.

Please note: although this will be our main venue in the foreseeable future we may also use other premises, so it is important to take note of what is printed in the newsletter.

Please click here to see our Policy for London Ballet Circle Members regarding school visits.