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 Post subject: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2001 11:23 pm 
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Image <BR><small>Dame Beryl Grey <BR>from her biography on the <A HREF="http://www.istd.org/about/autobiographys/bgrey.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) website</B></A></small><P><BR><B>Charity Gala Performance - 10 March 2002 at Sadler's Wells</B><P>Advanced news of a Gala celebratin the 75th birthday of Dame Beryl Grey DBE in aid of the Dance Teachers' Benevolent Fund (of which Dame Beryl is Vice Chairman) and the Wayne Sleep Dance Scholarship:<P>'A stunning line-up of international stars from the world of dance and entertainment will perform a showcase programme of works celebrating her long and committed (delete ballet) career. She rose to the heights of ballet stardom at a remarkably early age, becoming Britain's first 'baby ballerina': having joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet at the age of 14, she was to dance her first full-length Swan Lake at 15, followed by Giselle a year later and Sleeping Beauty at 19.'<P>Here is the <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum13/HTML/000413.html" TARGET=_blank><B><BR>full press release</B></A>.<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited October 10, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 3:10 am 
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Press release<P><B>STAR-STUDDED GALA TAKING SHAPE</B><BR>Sadler's Wells, Sunday 10 March 2002, 7.30pm<P>Sadler's Wells on Sunday March 10 will be the place for dance fans when stars of the ballet and theatre worlds pay homage to one of Britain's most popular and accomplished ballerinas, Dame Beryl Grey DBE, in her 75th birthday year. <P>Director of the gala performance, the irrepressible Wayne Sleep (who will also be performing), has assembled a cast of renowned dancers and entertainers, spanning several generations, to introduce and perform excerpts from the international dance repertoire, including many roles made famous by Beryl Grey herself. <P>Christopher Hampson, one of the brightest young stars in the UK's choreographic firmament, is arranging a montage of Beryl's best-loved roles against a changing backdrop of archive photographs, including the Winter Fairy in Ashton's Cinderella (created for her in 1948), Birthday Offering (Ashton 1956) and Ballet Imperial (1949 - with her height she excelled as a Balanchine ballerina!).<P>The cast for this gala occasion is still growing and includes the stunning young Chilean star of the Ballet de Santiago Marcela Goicoechea who will dance with Irek Mukhamedov; Estonian partners Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur; the Royal Swedish Ballet's Nathalie Nordquist and Anders Nordström; Birmingham Royal Ballet's Chi Cao, Krzysztof Nowogrodzki, Nao Sakuma and Wolfgang Stollwitzer; and Northern Ballet Theatre's Chiaki Nagao and Neil Westmoreland. There will be star names from English National Ballet, including Yat Sen Chang, the Royal Ballet, including Darcey Bussell and Inaki Urlezaga and Rambert Dance Company. <P>BOX OFFICE: Sadler's Wells Tel. 020 7863 8000 <BR>or online <A HREF="http://www.sadlerswells.com" TARGET=_blank>www.sadlerswells.com</A> Tickets from £25 to £100.<P><BR>Here is the link to the <A HREF="http://216.97.99.198/ubb/Forum13/HTML/000413.html" TARGET=_blank><B>full press release</B></A><P><BR> <BR> <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2002 1:11 am 
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Wayne Sleep was on BBC Radio 4's 'Mid-Week' chat programme publicising the Gala for Dame Beryl Grey. He told the listeners that the evening would be based around her career and her favourite roles, but that one of the problems is that Dame Beryl performed many solos and few pas de deuxs. So we will see excerpts from some of her solos against a slide background of Dame Beryl.

He will do dance himself, but only a short one, because there will be a huge amount to do on the day as always at these Galas. In the lead-up there is a continuous process of coping with injury. He'd just heard that one of the dancers from the Royal Ballet has been injured.

One of the beneficiaries of the Gala will be Sleep's dance scholarship trust launched as a tribute to Diana. This started when he didn't want to do more interviews for the First Anniversary of her death and decided that he would accept the money on offer for use as a Memorial to Diana. To date he has raised £50,000 which goes to students in their last 2 years of study where financial difficulties could result in them having to give up.

We also had a brief skate through his career. Music turned him on and he used to break furniture when he was 3, skipping round the room knocking things over. To provide an outlet his Mother sent him to tap lessons and at a competition an Adjudicator saw his natural turn out and said that this child must learn ballet. Mother was eventually convinced to allow this.

He went to the Royal Ballet School at 12 and danced with the Bolshoi at 13 on the stage at the ROH. He was desperate to grow and a therapy was a available but it was difficult to control and one boy became too tall for any ballet company. He was told to learn to spin and jump better than anyone as a compensation for his height.

He spent 10 yrs as principal at the royal Ballet. While Ashton and MacMillan were there he had the luxury of them creating roles specially for him, but when they were gone there were few new opportnities. So he left and became a song and dance man, which had been his childhood ambition. He said that he could still dance in his 50's payback time because it was payback time for being short and avoiding the back problems from lifting the girls. He also talked a little about 'that dance' with Diana.

<small>[ 12-01-2002, 17:14: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2002 1:08 am 
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Does anyone have tickets for the gala?


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2002 11:51 pm 
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<B>From ballet's baby to grande dame</B><BR>By Debra Craine <BR>The Times<P><B>Beryl Grey is a true British pioneer and she turns 75 this year</B><BR> <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Ballet is such a young person’s game that pensioners don’t often get much of a look-in. But sometimes you have to stand back and remind yourself that everyone who dances today — and everyone who watches ballet today — owes a debt to those dancers of yesteryear. On Sunday British ballet will do just that, with a fund-raising gala at Sadler’s Wells to celebrate the 75th birthday of one of our favourite ballerinas, Dame Beryl Grey<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> <BR> <BR><A HREF="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,585-226036,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><P>


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2002 12:09 pm 
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Dame Beryl Grey is interviewed on Desert Island Discs tomorrow morning - Sunday March 10th on Radio 4.


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2002 10:10 am 
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<B>Dame Beryl Grey was the guest on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ this week.</B> The programme built on my impressions from the Gala. Here was a strong, gifted and hard working woman, who built on the foundations set up by Dame Ninette de Valois, but adding a less draconian approach and a recognition of the importance of self-expression. In this respect she can be seen as an important moderniser of UK ballet. <P>We heard about her early life and how de Valois said of her that she had all the gifts that it is possible for a dancer to have. Her parents were active in the Arts - her Mother had a beautiful voice and her Father played the piano. Her two cousins both went to ballet class, so it was natural for Beryl to go as well. She was fortunate that she had an excellent young teacher, Madeleine Sharp who went on to forge a great career. Sharp recognised her ability and soon persuaded her Mother to send her to a second class in Bromley. The young Beryl made her first public performance at 4 in a beautiful solo created for her by Sharp. Her teacher also ensured that her Mother made her practise hard at home every day. The young dancer didn’t mind, but would have liked at least to have Sunday off! Dame Beryl told us that she was working seriously from the age of 5, but that she adored it and how it provided all dancers with a discipline which proves useful in later life. <P>We heard a series of anecdotes about de Valois. When she went to her School, de Valois came into class one day and announced that she would have to change her name from Groom to Grey and asked whether she minded - as if she could say No!<P>Even more scary, one day she received a note to go and see Madame. She was terrified of her, as all the girls were. Madame told her that she would appear in ‘Swan Lake’ that night. Asking which of the junior roles would be hers she was told that it was to be Odette/Odile and that she would have the afternoon to learn the solos and duets. There was no time for pdd classses at that time, so it was the first time that she had danced with a partner. She had the good fortune to have Robert Helpmann who looked after her beautifully. At one point she let go of him by mistake, but he caught her and saved the day. He was a fine partner and Dame Beryl learned a lot. <P>Another problem in the early days was make-up. When she was flung on in the corps, she had to make liquid black for her eyes and apply with a matchstick. It took 1hr to make up and at the end she looked awful. When one of the supervisors saw her she wiped it all off and started again. But then the supervisor was called away and Dame Beryl had to finish it off in any case. When they called ‘Beginners please’ she thought that everyone knew that she was a Beginner. Nevertheless, it was all very exciting. <P>Talking in general about dancing, she told us that it has to come from within you; you have to be convinced by every movement. At the start of her career they were expected to follow and not to think. Although she believes that there is not as much soul today, there is the freedom to express yourself if you want. In particular, Madame expected them to do things in her way and didn’t want the dancers to put their own interpretations. On one occasion five dancers were learning a role and they all had to do it exactly the same coming down at the same instant. In Dame Beryl’s view there should be a personal aspect in which the dancers interpret the music fractionally differently. <P>There was a brief mention of the Grey Brigade, the fans who took a special interest in her and during the War left her sugar and steak, invaluable gifts at that time. Nevertheless, despite this great interest from the fans, she didn’t think about being a star, but just wanted to do more and more.<P>During the War they were all used to dancing when they were ill. There were no covers as the company ran on a shoe-string. A bad ankle would be strapped up and on the US tour she danced on despite jaundice. After the War she defied Madame and went to class with Audrey de Vos, who allowed a freer approach at the start of a class, which was unusual at that time but is recognised now. She was also showing signs of too much dancing and went to see an oesteopath and strapped up her leg for 6 months. She managed to hide it from Madame under leg-warmers and these two initiatives helped to give her back her self-confidence and enjoy her dancing again. More recently the strain of turn-out has meant that a hip replacement operation has been necessary and Madame herself was always in and out of hospital.<P>The early days at the Royal Opera House were exciting and after the first US tour and her health problems she was determined to get well so that she could take part in Balanchine’s first work for the Royal Ballet and on the first night she was dancing with John Field and nearly went over his head. For the opening of the first season of the Royal Opera, she danced in ‘Carmen’ and received the greatest ovation of the evening, a rare event from an opera audience. <P>Nevertheless by the late-50s she was becoming less happy. By then there were seven leading ballerinas, which meant that she was only going on-stage every 6 weeks. She was thinking of giving up dancing, but her husband persuaded her to go freelance. She delighted people all over the world and perhaps her greatest success was at The Bolshoi. Her favourite partner there was Kondratov, who had such strong wonderful lifts in ‘Swan lake’ and ‘Giselle’. The Bolshoi’s huge stage presented some orientation problems, but she loved the experience. The dancers lived the roles and dancing was their entire life. She said that Russian dancers have a capacity to make you believe. Whereas in the UK dancers will only half-act in rehearsals, in Russia they would take the chance to get into the roles and live them.<P>After dancing for some 25 years she retired, deliberately while still at her peak and almost straight away became Artistic Director at London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet). In those days it was called a ‘band of gypsies’. For instance, the dancers decided on the day who would perform that night. She created a good atmosphere by putting her philosophy into practise so that the artists could be themselves and find their own relation to the music. One LFB production was lead by Nureyev. Dame Beryl told us that you could forgive him anything including his bad language and inserting solos for himself in the classics. When asked whether she would have liked to dance with him, Dame Beryl pointed out that he would have been much too short. <P>Asked about advice for a young dancer she said, ‘They must want to do it more than anything else. Know what you want and strive for it.’<P>I didn’t note all the music choices, but here are some with the reasons;<P>- At LFB she encouraged Barry Moreland to become an exceptional choreographer. He created ‘The Prodigal Son’ to music by Scott Joplin before anyone was interested in the composer. ‘The Entertainer’, used in the film ‘The Sting’, brings back such happy memories.<P>- ‘Die Fleidermaus’ - Ronald Hynd used this for his ‘Rosalinda’. This was something to remind her of the work.<P>- The Panorama Waltz from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was used for her wedding.<P>- The music from ‘Lady and the Fool’. Dame Beryl danced with Philip Chatfield in the pdd and it was special for her. <P> <BR>About life on the Desert Island, she pointed out that dancers like to swim and so she hope that there wouldn’t be horrible things in the water. She is a veggie, so living on berries would not be a problem. Her book was ‘This Sceptered Isle’ as she loves history.<P>Throughout the programme she was as fluent and as friendly as can be. Dame Beryl avoided the pitfall of misty nostalgia and clearly is much happier with the self expression and artist centred methods used today. I was deeply impressed by her life, her approach and her achievements.<P> <P> <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 20, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2002 10:14 am 
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In case you have a feeling of deja-vu, I have moved this from 'UK Performance'.

*****************************

Here's a piece from The Sunday Times about where Dame Beryl goes on her holidays but also about her love of trees and forests and the solace they bring her. Well worth a read:

Ballerina Dame Beryl Grey swans off to swim in the lakes of Sweden
Interview with the great lady by Vanya Kewley in The Sunday Times

Dame Beryl Grey, 74, joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet at the age of 14 and made history by dancing the leading role in Swan Lake on her 15th birthday. She toured the world as prima ballerina with the Royal Ballet, and in 1968 joined the Festival Ballet as artistic director. In 1999 she became a director of the Royal Opera House. Married to Dr Sven Gustav Svensson since 1950, she has one son and lives in Sussex

I THINK holidays are absolutely essential, especially for dancers. You go on stage to give other people pleasure and you give everything you can. It’s physically very demanding and mentally quite draining, too. It’s living on one’s nerves. So you simply have to have some time off.

click for more

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Here is the link to the reviews of the Birthday Gala:

http://forum.criticaldance.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=16;t=000236

<small>[ 12-01-2002, 17:25: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Gala for Dame Beryl Grey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2002 9:56 pm 
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If you want to help celebrate Dame Beryl's 75th birthday, what better way than to make a donation to the Dance Teachers' Benevolent Fund (where she is Vice-Chair). Please send donations including cheques made payable to The Dance Teachers' Benevolent Fund to:<P>Heather Knight, Secretary<BR>The Dance Teachers' Benevolent fund<BR>c/o The Dancing Times<BR>45-47 Clerkenwell Green<BR>London EC1R 0EB <P>


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