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I have just returned from the London Ballet Circle's annual general meeting and party. Although I had been a member of the Circle when I was an undergraduate and I rejoined it a few months ago this was the first event I have been able to attend. It's a long way to London and I set off with a degree of trepidation because those of us who follow ballet are either incredibly sweet or crashing bores. An evening with the former is delightful. A couple of hours of the latter brings to mind Sartre's Huis Clos.
I am glad to say that I found only the sweet type last night. The Circle's Chair, Susan Dalgetty-Ezra, and her husband, with whom I chatted yesterday, are particularly delightful. So, too, is their webmaster, Istvan Lengyel. Also Audrey Allen who edits the Newsletter. Alas, I did not meet the lady who keeps the Facebook page and twitter feed with whom I had already exchanged pleasantries. Although I had come a long way I had certainly not come the furthest distance. I met a delightful gentleman from Ilkley who was connected with the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School.
You can see from the Newsletter that the Circle has a very full programme of events:
- Patricia Linton on the 20 Jan
- Elena Glurdjidze on 10 Feb
- Tamara Rojo on 3 March
- Ruth Brill on 24 March, and
- Peter Wright on 14 April.
Most of the Circle's events take place from 19:30 at The Dining Room, Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ and are open to the public for a small additional entrance fee. The annual subscription, which has recently increased by 50% is still only £12 which I for one regard as a bargain. It does excellent work to support young dancers, including the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School which is particularly dear to my heart. So please join.
One of the great and the good at the Circle's party was Doreen Wells who is now the Marchioness of Londonderry. I had last seen her when she danced with the Royal Ballet's touring company (which is now Birmingham Royal Ballet) nearly 40 years ago. She was a magnificent ballerina then and she remains radiantly beautiful now. It was good to see her again when she drew the raffle.
Doreen Wells is one of the patrons of the Chelmsford Ballet Company which I have also joined as an associate member The subscription is another snip at £13 per year. I have yet to meet any of the members but I have exchanged tweets and emails with some of them and they are all definitely of the sweet kind. Apart from the satisfaction of promoting a good cause there seem to be two main benefits of associateship membership. News of their shows the next one of which is The Nutcracker at Chelmsford Civic Theatre between the 19 and 22 March. Secondly, if you are good enough (Grade 6 or above) the company classes taught by people like Sandra Madgwick of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
And that brings me on to my last new connection because I mentioned those classes in BalletcoForum. This is a free on-line discussion forum on such topics as recent performances and dance education. I joined just before Christmas and have picked up quite a few interesting titbits of information ranging from a ballet based on Pushkin's The Fountain of Bakhchisarai to how to pivot in arabesque. One service that Istvan Lengyel of the Ballet Circle recommended yesterday is a ticket exchange for when a show is sold out. I have not tried it but I am sure it is useful. As I had about 10 months of reviews of ballets and ballet classes in this blog I had contributed quite a lot by writing a summary in the forum and linking to the relevant article here. However, they have recently changed their rules to prevent such references. As I do not have time to write two lots of copy and as I do not intend to neglect this blog I may not be able to contribute quite so much in future. However, it costs nothing to join and there are some good conversations so I still recommend the forum.