Two trips down Memory Lane by Clement Crisp, one about Ninette de Valois and the other "Troupes in Wartime": "We expect you to be there. It's your duty"
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times
Like every right-minded ballet-goer of my generation, I grew up in awe of Dame Ninette de Valois. She had made the Sadler's Wells Ballet. She had worked with Diaghilev and with W.B. Yeats. She had dreamed of an English ballet and made it happen: it was she who gave us a national ballet.
In my earliest days at the ballet, de Valois was a remote presence, a quick-moving and beautiful woman glimpsed occasionally at performances. (At Covent Garden, she sat in a stage box to the left of the proscenium arch. I always glanced up to see her profile illuminated by the light from the stage. If she was there, all was well somehow, even after a dreadful performance.) click for more
************************* Troupes in wartime
By Clement Crisp forThe Financial Times
It began, and nearly ended, with chickenpox. My parents promised me a theatre trip for my 13th birthday. What did I want to see? "Ballet." Why I should have chosen this I cannot remember. But I was a voracious reader and I had read two books by Arnold L. Haskell that aroused a whole generation's interest in ballet: Balletomania, which was Haskell's story of his obsession, and the Penguin paperback Ballet, which sold in millions and explained ballet on the most agreeable and friendly terms, inspiring the reader to want to see ballet. With these two books, Haskell won myriad converts to dance and I was one of them as a schoolboy. click for more
<small>[ 26 November 2003, 04:30 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>