Dinner with Gillian Lynne and Dorothea Ashbridge – two gorgeous women

2 05 2014

This was a thrill to be with these two amazing Grande Dames of dance!!

This was a thrill to be with these two amazing Grande Dames of dance!!

 I can’t believe I never put this up ….. its now 2014…my only excuse is that I was so full on doing Tempo Festival at the time…

Jan 2008:

I had the enormous pleasure the other night of co-ordinating two Grand Dames of dance to get together in Auckland New Zealand, who hadn’t seen each other since 1951!!

Gillian Lynne (original choreographer of Cats and Phantom) and Dorothea Ashbridge (ballet teacher for Limbs dance co, teacher of Limbs dancers ) are both friends of mine and I knew they had been in the Royal Ballet Company together but I didn’t realize they hadn’t been in touch since 1951 – even though Gillian has been coming to NZ with her kiwi husband Peter Land for a number of years.

So I arranged for us all to have dinner together on the last night before Gilly and Peter had to go back to London.

We – Phil and Dorothea and I – went to Max Cryer’s place first out at Otahuhu (old friend of both Gilly and Doro) for a stiff gin. Then onto the One Tree Grill for dinner with Peter and Gilly.

Well – it was such a thrill.

Apart from the food being great – the company was extraordinary!

I sat there beaming.

Doro had some photos of them both which were taken when the Royal Ballet co first toured to New York in 1949!!!!.

That was the first tour by the Royal Ballet to NY. The tour when they performed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and Margot Fonteyn brought the house down with her exquisite performance!

They reminisced about how Margot loved a challenge and even though everyone in NY was waiting to see Moira Shearer who had just gained fame in “Red Shoes’ (and who had been cast as Bluebird because of it even though everyone knew it didn’t suit her)

Margot rose to the occasion and eclipsed Moira Shearer and cemented herself a star that night!

And Gilly and Doro were there – and now they’re telling me about it in Auckland, NZ circa 2008!

Both these women are such as inspiration to me.

As I ‘mature’ and struggle with the challenge of combining dance and the older body – these 2 women are so elegant and graceful and are in the 80’s!!!

I loved hearing them talk about Beryl Grey and other ballerinas of the ‘50’s and 60’s who were my idols as a kid studying ballet – here I was, the youngster in the room (usually I’m one of the oldest in dance gatherings in Ak), hearing them reminisce.

One of the photos Doro (dolly to her friends at the Royal) had was a gorgeous picture of a number of them posing elegantly in all their finery for the tour to NY.
Apparently, as it was just after the war and they had no decent clothes, the fashion world in London donated all these elegant clothes for the  ballet dancers to wear. With hats and gloves etc of course!

I should have taken a copy of this photo while it was there in front of me – but I did get Phil to take a photo of us three together!!




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