This is very much not what I was planning to be posting this today. But when I heard this I had to tell people because it is such a lovely story.
I am a devoted fan of Birmingham Royal Ballet. I have been accused of being obsessed, of being a groupie and to all of them I say, yes, I am an obsessed groupie and proud. I started watching BRB when I was ten, just after we moved to Birmingham from Leeds and within one performance of the Nutcracker, I was hooked. It has always been something that we have done as a family and whilst we started going once or twice a year, we soon amped up our attendance so we were going to every production. Over time our level of support has increased as well. In 1996 my Mum and I became Friends which meant we could watch a couple of the company Saturday classes a year and go and see evening rehearsals and pre-performance talks with the dancers. Since then we have supported the Director’s appeal which means you can see dress rehearsals and the Dancer’s Circle which allows you to see some of the full working rehearsals in the studio.
This evening was the first Director’s appeal dress rehearsal of the 2011-12 season which whilst I couldn’t attend, my Mum still went. As well as reporting that numbers of Director’s appeal subscribers has increased from 320 to 440 between last year and this, David Bintley, the artistic director, had information on a new dancer we will be gaining in the next few months. We are slightly low on numbers due to a number of leavers last year and David went to the Royal Ballet School to see who he could tempt to Birmingham once they leave school. Tempting them to Birmingham is not hard and getting a contract with a company, even after 8 years of vocational training in not guaranteed.
And he did in fact find one young girl from Japan and offered her a contract on Monday which she accepted yesterday. The school sent an e-mail to say that not only was the girl in question celebrating but her family and her whole town as well. The fact that her family was celebrating is not a surprise given that going to the Royal Ballet School, even for the final year costs an arm, a leg, one of your kidneys and half your liver (not actually but it’s bloody expensive) but her whole town celebrating?
There is a reason for this. The town she comes from has had very little to celebrate in recent times because her home town is Fukushima, the town most affected by the major earthquake of 11 March 2011 after the nuclear reactor based there went into meltdown.
Sometimes the smallest things can make a difference.
Average Josephine x