Category Archives: Dancing


Ballet 3
Joint performance by Royal Ballet School and Dagenham Park C OF E School

A wonderful crisp spring afternoon at The White Lodge in Richmond Park with performances together and separately by children from the Royal Ballet School and from Dagenham Park Church of England School, a partnership under the auspices of the aDvANCE project which offered collaboration between the Royal Ballet School and  people learning dance in different contexts.

The standard achieved in terms of both movement and musicality by both groups was amazing. They had clearly learned much from each other. I am old enough to have seen Margot Fonteyn dance on the stage but rarely have I seen such an exciting performance. The children from the RBS were lithe – the girls all with their hair pulled tight in a bun at the top of their heads and the boys with short – not shaved – hair. The children from Dagenham C of E school ranged from slender to frankly plump with frizzy hair, hair in cornrows, some bleached and some straight.
After only a term’s coaching they had achieved coherence and style. The ideas came from the children and edited into performance standard by the RBS choreographer. They danced to Over You and On the Nature of Daylight, while the RBS children danced to the Mazurka from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Percussion by Don Ricardo Garcia. Their joint performance was to excerpts from Swan Lake.

Sitting in Richmond Park within easy reach of Central London, The White Lodge looked at its best, herds of deer grazing in the distance. The building  was originally constructed as a hunting lodge for George ii, and particularly memorable for me were the painted portraits and photographs of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother who lived there while they were still the Duke and Duchess of York. Growing up in London, as I did during WW2, I have very fond memories of the Pathé News showing the King and Queen visiting the East End bomb sites I knew only too well. When two bombs landed in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace the Queen said  “I am glad we have been bombed. It makes me feel we can look the East End in the face“.


Nice to have a n oldfashinioned set for a change
Nice to have an old fashioned set for a change

Brilliant production of Nell Gwynn by the British Woman Playwright, Jessica Swale,
at the Apollo Theatre. All the members of the cast are wonderful with the incredible Gemma Arterton in the lead. Fantastic all acting, all singing , all dancing production with live musicians on-stage.  A must-see.

The original ceiling from 1901
The original ceiling from 1901

We had tickets for The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time a couple of days after the roof of the Apollo Theatre collapsed on  December 19th 2013. We were offered tickets at the John Gielgud theatre to which the play transferred but we had bought tickets for Louise and her family and she was about to return to Spain.

The new ceiling post the collapse on Dec 19th 2013
The new ceiling added after the collapse on Dec 19th 2013

On their next visit they saw and loved the Curious Incident. We saw it in the cinema – a film of the National Theatre production – but felt it didn’t quite come off. CGI in films is so brilliant now. Filming the audio-visual effects suitable for a theatre just didn’t do it for me.