Friday, 17 March 2017
Ninette de Valois
Today is St Patrick's day. Ireland has given the world many great artists in every medium and genre over the centuries. I can think of no better way of celebrating Ireland's national day than by remembering one of the finest of those artists, Dame Ninette de Valois.
Dame Ninette was born in Blessington on 6 June 1898. Although she is best known for establishing the Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School, she contributed much to the arts in Dublin. At the request of W B Yeats, she helped to establish the Abbey Theatre School of Ballet and choreographed several ballets for the Abbey theatre to scores by contemporary Irish composers. She was honoured for her services to the arts in Ireland by the Irish Catholic Stage Guild in 1949 and by an honorary doctorate from the University of Dublin in 1957.
Yet another country that honours Dame Ninette is Turkey for she founded the Turkish State Ballet and the Turkish State Ballet School and created the first full-length ballet for the national company.
I should like to wish all my readers whether Irish or not, and, in particular, Fiona Noonan who led me back to ballet, a very happy St Patrick's Day.