The Irish Ballet Forum will host the first ever symposium in Ireland to celebrate the Irish-born figurehead of world ballet and founder of both the Abbey Theatre School of Ballet and the Royal Ballet, Dame Ninette de Valois.
The School of Ballet was founded in 1927 when Dame Ninette de Valois received an invitation from William Butler Yeats in 1927 to establish the Abbey Theatre School of Ballet. There she collaborated with Yeats on his Plays for Dancers, with regular performances staged until 1933 when she returned to London.
Ninette de Valois’s legacy to ballet worldwide is almost unquantifiable. In Ireland, the leading dancers of the time emerged from the Abbey Theatre School of Ballet, as did the teachers of many generations of current Irish dancers, among them Anne Maher, director of Ballet Ireland and chairperson of the Irish Ballet Forum.
Featured at the symposium are the recently retired director of the Royal Ballet, Dame Monica Mason; current director of the Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare; Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre; Aideen Howard, Literary Director of the Abbey Theatre, Anna Meadmore, Curator, White Lodge Museum & Ballet Resource Centre; Professor Richard Allen Cave (M.A., Ph.D. Cantab.), Professor Emeritus in Drama and Theatre Arts at Royal Holloway University of London; Dr. Geraldine Morris, Senior Lecturer, Dance Programme, School of Arts Froebel College; Cristina Franchi, Exhibitions Manager of Royal Opera House and Dr. Victoria O’Brien, author of A History of Irish Ballet from 1927 – 1963.