Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a Royal Gala at The Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge, Richmond Park on 13 May.
Their Royal Highnesses were met upon arrival by White Lodge Students 11 year old Eleanor Ferguson and 12 year old Christopher Thomas before being presented to Chairman, David Norman and Director, Gailene Stock AM.
The Royal Gala was the culmination of the White Lodge Redevelopment Appeal launched in 2005. The Appeal was designed to restore White Lodge to its former glory, upgrade its teaching, training and boarding facilities and undertake substantial improvements. The new facilities are now complete and in full use with £2 million still to be raised by 2010 in order to meet the £22 million target.
More than 200 guests attended the celebration, designed primarily to thank the generous donors of the Appeal. These included Dame Vivien Duffield and Ricki Gail Conway, each of whom supported the building of two badly needed new studios at White Lodge.
Joining the celebrations was former Royal Ballet School student Darcey Bussell CBE who had flown in from her new home in Australia to be special surprise guest for the event.
A performance in the Margot Fonteyn Theatre was introduced by Director Gailene Stock AM, compered by Sir Anthony Dowell and featured contributions and reminiscences from Dame Antoinette Sibley and Darcey Bussell CBE. Marguerite Porter and Stephen Wicks performed the Tango from Sir Frederick Ashton’s Facade, The Royal Ballet’s Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin performed the Act 2 Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Natasha Oughtred and Jamie Bond danced the Act 1 Pas de Deux from Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet.
Lower School Students performed Danse Bohémienne especially choreographed for the event by former student Liam Scarlett whilst graduate students danced Larina Waltz, choreographed by Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, Ashley Page, also a former student of The Royal Ballet School.
Following the performance, HRH The Prince of Wales thanked the performers and contributors, and thanked guests for their contribution to the White Lodge Redevelopment Appeal. His Royal Highness also paid homage to David Norman who steps down as Chairman of The Royal Ballet School this Summer.
Following the performance, Their Royal Highnesses were introduced to all the performers and contributors before attending a dinner served in the two new studios. During dinner, guests were moved as a specially created performance by The Royal Ballet School’s Dance Partnership and Access Programme weaved in and out of the tables. This featured 24 young people from two state schools: Sydenham Girls and Forest Hill dancing with year 10 Royal Ballet School students and students.
The evening culminated in the extraordinary display of White Lodge students bidding guests goodnight with a spectacular balletic defile.
For further information, images please contact:
Development Manager, The Royal Ballet School
T: 020-7845 7074 M: 07768 455667