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1962

pointe_left.gif - 0.5 K It was a year for male dancers: Bruhn, Nureyev, and Edward Villella appeared in London, whilst Christopher Gable was rapidly making his name and Anthony Dowell first came to notice.

Event of the Year

Was the first appearance of Nureyev with the Royal Ballet, in a historic performance of 'Giselle' with Margot Fonteyn. The moment during the curtain calls when, falling to one knee, he kissed her hand, marked the real start of the legend of their partnership.

Dancer of the Year

Was Erik Bruhn, the great Danish dancer, who made his first and only guest appearnaces with the Royal Ballet. He was actually engaged to dance 'La Fille mal Gardée' but a slight injury prevented thisand in the event he never danced Colas. But he did dance in 'Giselle', 'Swan Lake' and 'Sleeping Beauty', all with Nadia Nerina, and taught the company their first Bournonville - the pas de six and tarantella from 'Napoli'

Calendar
January    Marie Rambert was created a Dame in the New Years Honours list.

Balanchine's full length ballet 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was premièred in New York. Melissa Hayden and Edward Villella had the leading roles.
March    March 1st saw the first of the Fonteyn/Nureyev 'Giselles'. It was something of a success and they took 23 curtain calls.

Erik Bruhn made his Royal Ballet debut in 'Swan Lake'. Bruhn was hardly known to the general public, but was widely regarded by dance-goers and critics as the greatest classical dancer of his time.
May    One of the Royal Ballet's best ever Galas: Nureyev and Chauviré in 'Les Sylphides', Bruhn and Nerina in Bournonville's 'Flower Festival' pas de deux, the company's young stars (Seymour, Sibley, Park...) in the 'Napoli' extracts, and the première of Macmillan's 'Rite of Spring', bringing fame to 21 year old Monica Mason.
June    Frederick Ashton received a knighthood in the Birthday Honours list. The critic and writer C.W.Beaumont recieved an OBE.
July    Massine's ballet 'The Good Humoured Ladies' was revived by the Covent Garden Royal Ballet. Although it was cast from strength (including Lydia Sokolova), it was not successful. Lynn Seymour and David Drew were among the few who were generally liked.

Harold Turner, the Royal Ballet's first great virtuoso, died aged 52 during rehearsals for the Massine ballet. He had partnered Karsavina in 'Le Spectre de la Rose', was the RB's first Bluebird, and created the roles of the Dancing Master and the Gentleman with a Rope in the 'The Rake's Progress'.

The first full length production of 'Don Quixote' in the West was given by - of all people - Ballet Rambert, then still a classical company but far smaller than the Royal Ballet, let alone the Bolshoi or Kirov. They used the version by Gorsky and Zacharov, and were astonishingly successful - greatly helped by the dancing of their New Zealand-born ballerina, Lucette Aldous.

The annual RBS performance (the fourth) included a new piece by Kenneth Macmillan, 'Dance Suite'; in the cast was 'a very promising American boy, Richard Cragun'. Also in the programme was Ashton's 'Facade', with Sandra Conley as the Debutante.
August    Paul Taylor's 'Aureole', one of the great dance works of the century, had its first performance.

The Edinburgh Festival included performances of Maurice Béjart's 'The Four Sons of Aymon' - arena ballet, given in an ice rink, but evidently not really constructed for 'in the round' viewing.
October    Elizabeth West, joint founder with Peter Darrell of Western Theatre Ballet, was killed by falling rocks whilst on holiday in the Alps.

The Dancing Times appeared for the first time in its new large format - double the size of the previous version.
November    Nureyev revived the pas de deux from 'Le Corsaire' for himself and Fonteyn and Covent Garden; later in the month he hurt his foot and Ashton's 'Marguerite and Armand' - one of the most hyped ballets ever - had to be postponed.

The touring Royal Ballet company did Ashton's 'La Fille mal Gardée' for the first time - the original cast of Nerina and Blair danced the first performance, but the second brought Doreen Wells and Chroistopher Gable, two of the best interpreters ever, into the leads.

The first edition of 'About the House', the magazine of the newly-formed Friends of Covent Garden, was published.
December    Margot Fonteyn's annual RAD Gala Matinée featured herself and Michal Somes in the second act of 'Swan Lake' with Yehudi Menuhin playing the violin solo; and Edward Villella's first London appearance, in Balanchine's Tchaikowsky pas de deux with Violette Verdy.

Olga Preobrajenska, ballerina of the Maryinsky Ballet and great teacher, died in Paris.




Next Month

The year we'll be looking at will be 1934. Anyone with particular memories of that year should write to us!

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