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Royal Association: World Ballet Day – Royal Patronages

With the unprecedented success of the first ever World Ballet Day Live last year, five of the world’s leading ballet companies are once again collaborating for this year’s performance.

For 23 hours on 1 October, The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet will live stream performances and pre-recorded clips showcasing their companies and their dancers in studio, on tour and during performances. Viewers will receive an inside look into rehearsals, backstage, and technique classes.

The Royal Opera House is also home to The Royal Ballet.

The Royal Opera House is also home to The Royal Ballet.

According to the World Ballet Day: “World Ballet Day LIVE will be a celebration of dance and an opportunity for audiences to see what it takes to be one of the world’s top companies and get an inside look at the athleticism and dedication required for a life in ballet.”

There are five major dance companies located throughout the UK. Their main objectives are to provide their audiences with memorable performances of both classical ballets and new, never-seen creations.

Ballet is an accessible and affordable form of entertainment with a broad selection of performances of which to choose. Ranging from the traditional adaptations of Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet to the more contemporary, original productions.

The British Royal Family have been long-time supporters of the arts, and ballet is no exception. With its inception in 1969, the Northern Ballet company takes its inspiration from classical dance, opera, popular culture, theatre and literature. The Earl of Wessex has served as its Royal Patron since 2003.

The Royal Ballet is the UK’s oldest dance company. Established in 1931 by entrepreneur, dancer and choreographer Dame Ninette de Valois, it was formerly known as the Old Vic Theatre where performances took place. The company also filled seats in Sadler’s Wells Theatre in North London. During World War II, the company toured throughout the UK and Europe, performing for Allied forces. After war’s end, in 1946, it debuted a performance of The Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House, (ROH), in Covent Garden where it currently resides today. The name ‘Royal Ballet’ was granted Royal Charter on the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 1956.

Her Majesty serves as patron of the Royal Ballet. Prince Charles has been a long-time supporter of Covent Garden and the Royal Opera. He became a Patron of the Royal Opera in 1975, and Patron of The Friends of Covent Garden in 1978. He began serving as President of the Royal Ballet in 2004 and became Patron of the Royal Opera House in 2009.

The Duke of York is the current Royal patron for the English National Ballet company. Founded in 1950, it is the second oldest dance company in the UK; with two prior notable Royal supporters. Princess Margaret held the position from 1978 to 1989. Diana, Princess of Wales, took up the role in 1989 until her death in 1997.

As desired by its founders, Alicia Markova, Anton Dolin and Julian Braunsweg named their company Festival Ballet to honour the festival of Britain. Touring throughout England has always been at the heart of the English National Ballet.

The Central Ballet Company celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The Countess of Wessex has been royal patron since 2003. It was established as the Central School of Ballet in 1982 by Ann Stannard and the late Christopher Gable CBE. Students who attend the school gain firsthand experience in performing alongside professional dancers. After graduation, they have the knowledge and skills required to work with any company at the same calibre as their peers.

In Bristol, in 1957, Peter Darrell and Elizabeth West founded the Western theatre ballet. It moved to Glasgow twelve years later and was renamed Scottish Theatre Ballet. A short five years later in 1974, its name was again changed to what it is currently, Scottish Ballet. This company tours the major cities throughout Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. The Prince of Wales has been Patron since May 2009.

If you’d like to learn more about world ballet day, follow the hashtag #WorldBalletDay on Twitter or at their website: World Ballet Day.

Photo Credit: Cindy Stockman 2015

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