Memorial to the Founders of The Royal Ballet
More than 200 students and staff of The Royal Ballet School today joined a congregation of the great and the good of the dance world at Westminster Abbey for a service to dedicate a memorial to the founders of The Royal Ballet. Among the huge congregation were Dame Beryl Grey, David Wall, Gillian Lynne, Alexander Grant and Marion Tait to name a few. The stone was unveiled by The Royal Ballet School’s Vice-President, Lady Sarah Chatto. The service was conducted by The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster and The Choir of Westminster. Under the guidance of Melanie Brice and Craig Fortnam, the choral repertoire for the service was started by the Choir of White Lodge and White Lodge students started the dance element of the service as Charlotte Edmonds, Thomas Bedford, Magdalena Chan and Ashley Hardwick danced two simultaneous pas de deux to Constant Lambert’s Rondino, choreographed by former student Liam Scarlett.
The four names of The Royal Ballet founders - de Valois, Ashton, Lambert and Fonteyn - were then honoured in performances by dancers from dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet: Robert Parker, Steven McRae, Natasha Oughtred and Romany Pajdak - all of them alumni of The Royal Ballet School. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia, conducted by Music Director of The Royal Ballet Barry Wordsworth provided the musical accompaniment.
Readings were by Dame Monica Mason, David Bintley CBE and Sir John Toooley. In his address, the Dean described dance as ‘the hidden language of the soul’