Tuesday, 17 December 2013


The greatest ballerina I have ever seen was Fonteyn but the one I love the most is Sibley. She was at her prime when I first took an interest in ballet. As I wrote in Ballerina on 1 July 2013
"Who is the greatest ballerina of all time?" I am sometimes asked. It is impossible to say. We can only know our contemporaries and, even then, comparisons are invidious. Each dancer is a star for a reason and the qualities that make a star of one dancer may be quite different from those that make a star of another.
But I can name my favourite dancer of all time and that is Antoinette Sibley. During her prime I could not see enough of her. I lost count of the number of her performances that I saw. Some praise her line, others her technique but, for me, it was the expressiveness of her face. Particularly her eyes. Above is a tribute of photos compiled by the RAD of which she was president. It is a lovely reminder of a great dancer and a still ravishingly beautiful woman."
Thanks to the London Jewish Cultural Centre and the London Ballet Circle whose excellent newsletter drew my attention to this event I shall see that wonderful artist again at the Royal Ballet School on 2 Feb 2014 (see Ivy House Music and Dance "Dame Antoinette Sibley with Clement Crisp, An Afternoon at The Royal Ballet School"). Alas that event is now sold out but I was lucky enough to get a ticket and I shall review the event afterwards.

This visit to the Royal Ballet School is not the London Jewish Cultural Centre's only connection with ballet. Its home is Ivy House which was formerly the home of Anna Pavlova.  The Centre has published a lovely leaflet on the ballerina and her home on its website.  The leaflet shows Pavlova nestling a swan and it was The Dying Swan for which we remember her.

It is clear from its website that the London Jewish Cultural Centre does wonderful work not just in ballet or even the arts but in confronting racism, promoting education, running clubs and a vast range of activities for the young, women indeed everyone. We all benefit from such activities in one way or another and the Centre deserves our support.  The "How to Help Us" page suggests ways to do it.

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