performance and choreography
What was the school to do following Noreen's death? She had left an essential vacuum in choreography for classical ballet. Joyce was the first to voice her reservation in trying to fill this void although she was experienced in producing work at Romford which had more than satisfied both students and parents. However, she was now joined by Alan Hooper who freelanced as a ballet teacher at Charters for two years before taking the post of Director of the Royal Academy of Dancing. He proved to be a delightfully endearing, young and vital member of staff. Individually and in tandem he and Joyce produced some memorable work for Figures of Fun (1978), Counter-Pointe (1979) and Our Dancing Years (1980).
It was in 1981, for Alice, that we discovered a special talent in Frank Freeman. To begin with, he needed to be cajoled and coerced. He had little confidence having always in mind the choreographic giants he had been brought up with in the Royal Ballet Company. But he was pure classical in the tradition of Ashton and MacMillan and, therefore, Noreen. Frank became the school's resident choreographer and everyone seemed happy and relieved. The following year he choreographed the whole of Act 2 in Cinderella and, after Fire-Works (1983) he was entrusted with the entire production of Peter Pan. He was a very busy and happy man: he had found a new and confident voice. Dame Ninette de Valois recognised this in a letter to Paul, dated 17 July, 1984, after watching a performance of Peter Pan, "It was a thoroughly professional performance and put over with enormous enthusiasm by your students. An interesting production and I hope we will see more of this young man's (Mr Freeman) work soon. You have a lovely school and it has been very well developed - I think your students are very lucky!" With constant reference to, and encouragement from, his friend Malcolm, we saw a rapid maturing in Frank's development and sophistication in style. His work, during this crucial period throughout the 1980s, cannot be over-estimated.
Photographs on this page courtesy of Linda Rich
Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Next