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International Ballet - the forgotten company ??


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Fantastic article in today's (saturday) review section of the Telegraph about the

International Ballet. It nods ahead to an R4 programme about the IB - "The Black Out Ballet" - on Radio 4

this monday afternoon at 4pm.

Curious how the IB have almost been written out of english ballet and yet in terms of reaching

out to a wider audience they were ground breaking and utterly evangelical. My mum, who danced with them,

tells hilarious tales of how they used to perform in pretty much any old drafty, god forsaken town hall

or warehouse -complete with pre perfomance talks and demonstrations -all in an eofort to take ballet out to a non ballet audience.

And yet strangely the company was pretty much left to die a financial death in the late 50s despite all the

pioneering out reach work they undertook.. My guess is this was because they were a private company and that didn't fit in with tthe 'state sponsored' Zeitgeist of the time...others may have better ideas.....

but nice anyway the IB is being brought in( a little) from the cold........

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Ballet.co has a little proprietorial pride in this programme as it was through us that the programme's producer, Philippa Ritchie, got in touch with Noel Moncur, who used to dance with International Ballet and with one of her friends has provided ifirst-hand input to the piece. Noel came to a ballet.co Christmas lunch a couple of years ago I think, so some of you may remember meeting her.

 

And just to prove that Inglesby wasn't entirely forgotten, here's our page about her, dating from a time when there was almost nothing else about her on the web.

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My first introduction to ballet was with this company - they came to Coventry in 1950 and my mother took me to see the Sleeping Princess as it was then called. I was apparently spell bound and have been a ballet fan ever since. I still have the programme.

 

My last trip with my mother, was a visit to the ROH to see Sleeping Beauty in 1969, where we saw Fonteyn and Nureyev.

 

Margaret

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I've just listened to the programme. It's quite amazing how many people the company performed for and in such difficult conditions. It's rather a sad story really. I'm glad that the Kirov at least were able to acknowledge her contribution to ballet history.

 

Thank you, Norman, for alerting us to this programme which I may otherwise have missed.

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It was indeed a fascinating programme and I think that virtually all of it is available in print from Ismene Brown, who presented it, via this Arts Desk link that we had a couple of days back:

 

http://www.theartsdesk.com/dance/black-out-ballet-invisible-woman-british-ballet

 

A topic not mentioned was to what extent the Company used any very young dancers. I understand that at one point Miss Inglesby approached Mrs M's parents about her joining and they refused, saying she was much too young. And as the Company closed in 1953, she would certainly have been very young indeed to go out on the road .... as she did some years later with the RB Touring Company.

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