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From: Amanda Allen firstname.lastname@example.org received 30 September 2009
Dear Mr. Harrison,
I contacted you once before, through Friends Reunited, and was delighted when you replied to my message - and even more delighted to hear about your plans for this wonderful website!
I have spent many enjoyable evenings reading all the history of BDS, admiring the photos and just "wandering down Memory Lane", wallowing in nostalgia!!
Many, many thanks to you for making this possible!
I would love to be able to contribute in some way. I have quite a lot of photos - several of the teachers: Miss Bush, Mrs. Meyer, Miss Tina, and a very good one of you!; and lots of former students - the quality isn't brilliant, and it would take me a while (have to get my hubby's help to scan them all!) but if you are interested, I will gladly send them.
I have one contibution to send you right away - I was upstairs in the attic when I discovered this "treasure" - it is the programme of "Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo"! My programme is dated March 7th 1976, which however does not correspond with your given date of 1972, but perhaps it was performed in 1972 with Cherry Gillespie as a soloist (she was no longer at Bush in 1976) and again in 1976? I was at Charters from 1973 - 1976. Jilly Mack`s name is listed as soloist in 1976, and we were indeed at school together.
Hope this will be of use to you! I also have the programmes of the shows from 1973 (Diamond Jubilee) to 1976, and one or two programmes of plays that were performed at the Genee, by a local amateur dramatic society called the Sackville Players. Our English teacher, Fiona Boyle, actually appeared in these plays and we girls used to enjoy going to the Genee to watch - if you would like any of these, just let me know.
Hope you are keeping well, and that Mr. Kimm is feeling better.
Incidentally, when I think of Miss Bush yelling "ALLEN!" with some correction or other, the thing that sticks in my mind most is when she was giving me special coaching for my Intermediate RAD - pirouettes were not my strongest point, and the focus of the coaching was on the dreaded fouettés . . .
(I reckon after half an hour of fouettés non-stop anybody's head would be reeling). Anyway, I was not flicking my head round fast enough - " SPOT! " was Miss Bush's command. and " Leave your eyes at the front !" I endeavoured to master this - obviously unsuccessfully, because her next words were " STOP! Allen, what`s wrong with you? You look boss-eyed !" I couldn`t help but giggle at that, and I think Miss Bush liked that, for a moment we really seemed to share the joke - then it was back to the grindstone once more!
Click here to see a photograph of the Schaffer family
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I had the pleasure and priviledge of being the sole male pupil from Monday 3 November 1969 - Saturday 19 July 1975.
Yes, BDS left a large and lasting impression on me! In spite of my problems and difficulties - being the only male was a bit tough at times and physically I did not develop correctly to be a ballet dancer - I remember the school, staff and students with great affection. I kept on coming back to help out backstage in the Genée until my life took another fork in the road and I went off to University in 1979 and thereafter became a political activist, Librarian and Lecturer.
Thanks to Friends Reunited and one or two other extraordinary coincidences I am now in touch with a few people again and have even had the real pleasure of meeting beloved friends again. It would be wonderful to hear from people who knew me in those far-off days. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that Miss Tina or Miss Camden were saying: "OK now try that again, and really JUMP this time!"
Further to my letter via the website I have just been studying it in much greater depth and I think it is brilliant! Congratulations on all the hard work that has gone into creating it, I am sure it will be receiving hit-upon-hit as former students become aware of it.
Looking at photographs of that old house bring back so many happy memories, of the wonderful family that ran it, the wonderful teachers who staffed it and the wonderful administrative and domestic staff who ran it. No wonder I kept on coming back to work backstage at the Genée for 3 years, when I went to University in London.
(2) E-mail received from Rudi Affolter 18 July, 2009
Le Grand Défilé
I have recently purchased the CD containing Mr Harrison's wonderful specially commissioned piece for Le Grand Défilé. It remains as stunning as ever John. I only took part in the "Walk-Down" using your music the once in 1971, although I had taken part in previous years. But in the following years I decided not to participate. I felt my presence ruined the whole stunning imagery, sticking out like a sore thumb. Well, you would not have a lone male in the Entrance of the Shades in La Bayadere, would you? However, I worked backstage for several years and after that came to see the annual performance once I had gone off to University. I have been longing to possess this piece since I first heard it. A great shame you did not become a full-time composer John; I wonder what other marvellous pieces you might have produced?
Best wishes, Rudi
(3) E-mail received from Rudi Affolter 14 November, 2009
A publisher has approached me showing interest in publishing a book about my years at BDS. Largely because of the unusual circumstances of my being the only boy amongst 200 girls during the years I was a student. Plus the Psychology and Sociology Departments at my beloved London Met Uni want something in writing about my experiences. It is a bit difficult for me to remember huge amounts after all these years and all my experiences in life plus my epilepsy and a nervous breakdown. I would therefore be grateful for any memories anyone has of me - good or bad. If John will permit, my email address is Rudi@beethoven.fsnet.co.uk I should be glad to hear from you.
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