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The National Association of educational broadcasters in cooperation with the British Information Services presents window on the world a tape recorded series of talks by eminent British citizens. This week our speaker is Dame Annette devout WA director of the Sadler's Wells ballet. Our subject the ballet here now is Dame Annette about to walk. I was speaking for my operas office at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden London. I daresay you will hear some rather strange noises but it is easy to hear these noises because this great opera house is built bang in the middle of the Covent Garden Market Place and when we open our windows we have shouts and battles and all the fuss and bustle of a great fruit and vegetable market in progress. This theatre will be celebrating its in Deanery in 1958 and of course we have all sorts of great projects for this particular year. I hope to find
somewhere a ballet that we can produce which will bring in some of the great and glorious history in the past of this the editor. I'm sure there must be plenty of subject matter for such a thing to be found in the archives of the theater programs. And of course the same applies to the opera the Sadler's Wells ballet. The first company ever formed the set as well as theatre has been in this building since 1946. Little did we think when we struggled through those war years up and down the country playing eight weeks in London eight weeks out in the provinces sometimes not even with an orchestra in the early days. When times are very difficult. Little did we think that when the work was over we should be the company that would open this great opera house not as it always had been before the war. For three months international season of Aqua in the summer but that we should open it. So this should become the home of an English ballet company and an English
Opera Company open for nine months out of the year. Well it was our Donna and I must say the opening night in 1946 was not exactly a resplendent sight in the way of clothes but it had something of the gala atmosphere of before the war. His Majesty named King George the 6. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the princesses were here. And we certainly did as much as we could with the possible clothes coupons that were obtained abroad to put on a worthy performance of The Sleeping Beauty for that great occasion. It did seem like a dream to all of us. As I've already told you we had a very big struggle. And of course our belly is still very very young.
In 1956 we celebrate its twenty fifth year that again would be a great celebration. I can think back those 25 years to the very beginning of all our efforts at Sadler's Wells when the great lady in Vegas was manager of the theater. We started with six girls dancing in the opera baroness and I had to do all the choreography. Only teaching and only principal dancing very little of course in comparison to the size of everything now. But it was four jobs in one and now at least I am the director of the company and not quite so haddest slowly. Oh how slow it was to the beginning. Slowly we developed and over the years managed to build up an extraordinary good public. It is Linton in the setting as well as theatre. That theatre Harbert the first real English public for the ballet had always been a very special public that
attended all the great Russian ballet performances. When they came to England in the summer for the short seasons. But it was not a real baddy pub.. I must say Sadler's Wells certainly it Jeev to a regular audience that followed this faithfully through the homely R.. And during that period how we used to regard with envy the great Russian bear his seasons at Covent Garden. We used to close in May because competition against the Russian belly would have been out of the question for us. Oh dear. We used to long and wonder if we would ever be in such a position ourselves. It's strange now to think today actually you know very repertoire some of the biggest works they did in those days. Danced by an English company in the same theatre. Only we are not this it us. We happen to make theatre. A permanent home. Over
the years as you may well know we have formed yet another company because when the first company was moved up to Covent Garden the present sevens was barely at Covent Garden. We had to form another company down at Sadler's Wells theatre which is known as a set as was debt or bad a company. The art is in the change and owner drawn from the same school the Sadler's Wells school which feeds both companies with male and female dancers. I'd like to tell you a little about the school because we have been had become three important points. The two companies and this particular school. Children generally join between the ages of 9 and 12 and they receive a full education up to the age of 16 as well as their downs in training. At 16 they pass into the senior screw and in the senior school
they have far more advanced academic work in the belly line and eventually round about 17 to 18. They are drafted either into the smaller company or into the larger company in Covent Garden according to their type and according to the wants of the respective companies. Well it sounds to you no doubt. A long hard training and indeed it is. But only in this way can we possibly manage to get that complete unity feeling of tradition the feeling of belonging to the thing as a home which is so essential in almost eight theatres and all state organizations. We are of course subsidised by the Arts Council. Both companies and both companies in their stride have to take the care of the school. Carefully are the pupils divided between the two. And carefully do the theatres look after the interest of the school.
I could tell you also that this year we branched further afield. We are turning the junior school into a boarding school and they are being moved to that lovely white lodge in Richmond Park with full of historical interest. I think the most perfect building to re-add children who are going to serve the theatre a building dating back to the 18th century and full of history of its country and its dimes. What can I say to you about America. First I can say that we all greatly admire your own efforts and your own companies and your own screw. We know that there's great talent and we know there are. We have a cheerful rivalry with your own existing New York companies. We have in a way grown up together. Because surely both the ballet companies in America and ballet companies in england represent
the youngest national Bally's in the world today. What else do out a member of the declare. I remember that wonderful opening night at the Met when we first met there in 1949. I don't ever remember being so nervous nor drivable my company been so frightened. We felt that the whole world I was on has that night and I know that in England after that hard and bad and bitter war that the reaction of the American public to us was being most carefully watched. Well you did not leave us in any doubt. I don't think the couple ever had to do a reception anywhere. And I don't think we should ever repeat such a reception again. We gave them a sleeping beauty. Our mascot. It started off in England in London after the war and it started off in America. I personally regard it as one of the highlights in the whole of my career. And oh dear how happy the cup they were
next morning to see our papers and to know that over in England the interest had been so intense that the success of the sadness was barely in New York. It was headlined in all the evening and daily papers. I think that thrilled us almost as much success itself. We had not really any idea how closely our fortunes would be watched a dome where we have gone back to you many times since then and we have been very very lucky. But you do not seem to have shown the slightest wish or thought of getting Todd who is now an old friend. We also know how popular your artists are in this part of the world. And when we went on our European tour last autumn all through the opera houses in Italy we heard great praise of your American dances in the American ballet companies. Great praise they made a very big impression in Europe
which I do show you is effect sometimes one knows about these themes even more so a native does. What can I tell you. I can only tell you that our work is only half done. We still have a long way to go. In the last 25 years it's been our duty to form a traditional school. And although the classical school in every country becomes a thing of its own in the end and very personal in its general principles it has to come from the past. We here had made a careful survey of the great existing schools in Europe. The Danish The French Italian and the Russian and the in this coup will very naturally emerge. Those professors of these other big schools that have influenced us the actual individuality of the dance are of course as a national theme and will show in time. But
already I'm happy to say that one does speak of the. Dial in classical ballet and it's not a pretty cheap and it's short of wine. We then have to think of course and must continue to think of the codea graphic issue. The creative artists who must be encouraged to express the work of their own country. That is difficult. We don't want to force the issue but we do want us to have a national slant on our productions. But start with the traditional and then your national work is built on much of the ground. You have always in every country two types of cardio Goofus you have the cardio giver who is purely national need Outlook and you had a cardio Kfar who was naturally born a cosmopolitan. Both must be encouraged because a repertoire must consist of
the three types of works and that we have tried and I hope succeeds in showing it or not. If that's to date you have been listening to Dame Annette about Awad director of the Sadler's Wells ballet lesson next week when a window on the world will present the Right Honorable Huell Gates goal. Great Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer has Dabic the party system in Britain. This has been a tape recorded presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters in cooperation with the British Information Services. This is the end AB Radio Network.
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Window on the world
Dame Ninette deValois
Producing Organization
British Information Services
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Dame Ninette deValois gives a talk about ballet.
Series Description
A series of short talks by well-known British personalities on the subjects usually associated with them.
Broadcast Date
Talk Show
Radio programs--United States.
Media type
Producing Organization: British Information Services
Speaker: De Valois, Ninette, 1898-2001
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-30-32 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:13
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Chicago: “Window on the world; Dame Ninette deValois,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “Window on the world; Dame Ninette deValois.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: Window on the world; Dame Ninette deValois. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from