• Details released for first-ever conference dedicated to the life and legacy of Dame Ninette de Valois OM, CH, DBE (1898-2001), Founder of The Royal Ballet School and Companies.
• Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist to be hosted by The Royal Ballet School, from 1-3 April 2011.
• Three-day event includes film premiere and unique performances.
• Concept for Memorial Statue to be unveiled.
Marking ten years since de Valois’ death, the programme for Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist has been imaginatively compiled to reflect de Valois’ extraordinarily long and diverse career, and the remarkable reach of her influence.
Starting as a child performer in pantomime, de Valois became a Soloist in Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. As a dancer, teacher, choreographer and director, she associated with key members of the Bloomsbury Set; worked with Terence Gray in Cambridge and W.B. Yeats in Dublin; commissioned scores from Vaughan Williams and Constant Lambert, and was part of an exciting ‘artistic crucible’ from which emerged several vital and widely pervading cultural developments.
Conference presentations will include a performance by dancers of The Royal Ballet School and Companies at the Clore Studio Upstairs, Royal Opera House, a full reconstruction of the collaborative dance-drama The King of the Great Clock Tower, written by WB Yeats and originally choreographed and performed by de Valois in 1934. Film screenings will include the world premiere of Dancing Across the Bosphorus - a new documentary which includes rare interviews with members of de Valois’ family.
Experts from the UK and across the globe will contribute to a multi-disciplinary exchange, addressing a variety of subjects including Professor Elizabeth Schafer, from Royal Holloway University of London, on de Valois’ writings, and Professor Beth Genné, from the University of Michigan, who will examine de Valois’ impact on the world of dance.
Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist will also feature lectures and discussions led by some of the world’s leading dance writers and critics including Clement Crisp of The Financial Times and Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times.
The Conference has been designed to have a reach beyond the purely academic. The event’s closing address will be given by Dame Monica Mason, DBE Director of The Royal Ballet, who comments:
‘The Conference represents a golden opportunity for us to explore de Valois’ life and gain a deeper appreciation of her contribution to the development of British culture in the early part of the 20th century, in particular her founding of The Royal Ballet School and Companies’.
The Conference will conclude with the unveiling of the proposed Ninette de Valois Memorial, conceived by renowned American-born sculptor, Richard MacDonald. This sculpture will eventually be housed at The Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge in Richmond Park. A privately commissioned venture, the project is intended to generate funds for two ‘living memorial’ student scholarships in perpetuity in the name of Dame Ninette de Valois, thanks to the far-sighted generosity of its creator, Richard MacDonald.
Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist is generously sponsored by Richard MacDonald Studio with additional support from Freed of London and Harlequin Dance Floors.
For further information please contact:
Development Manager, The Royal Ballet School
Tel: 020 7845 7074
Mob: 07768 455667