Kintbury dance teacher's pride in Royal Ballet superstar students in fundraising gala
Kintbury Ballet School teacher Alex Foley recently took a number of dance students to the Athelhampton Charity Ballet Gala in Dorset, where dancers from The Royal Ballet were raising funds for the performing arts - one of the worst affected sectors by the pandemic. Three of her former students were dancers with the Royal Ballet at the gala - Principal Dancer Anna Rose O’Sullivan, First Soloist William Bracewell and Principal Dancer Matthew Ball.
Following the huge success of last year's gala, organiser and First Soloist with the Royal Ballet Meaghan Grace Hinkis returned to put on another. Nineteen Royal Ballet dancers took part in a programme of classical and contemporary works, performing to sold out audiences and receiving a spontaneous standing ovation at the end of both performances.
A staggering £70,000 has been raised to help both the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet recovery funds and Acting for Others, a charity for which Meaghan is an ambassador and which supports performing artists suffering difficult times. This year 60 ballet students were invited to attend the performance, among them Kintbury Ballet School and seven students accompanied Alex to watch the dancers take their warm-up class followed by the performance.
Alex said she was still on a high from the performance at Athelhampton. "It was a wonderful occasion in the most beautiful setting and such a treat for a few of my Kintbury Ballet students to watch the Royal Ballet dancers in class and then perform an exciting gala with a varied repertoire.
"I was incredibly proud to see Anna Rose O’Sullivan, William Bracewell and Matthew Ball who I taught at White Lodge, Royal Ballet School and who are now principal dancers with the company. Talking with them backstage they were as humble and gracious as they were at school, taking time to speak to my young aspiring students.
"In my opinion I feel sure that the students will remember the gala and meeting the dancers for the rest of their lives and realise how hard they have to work in order to reach a professional ballet company. All the company dancers were kind enough to sign the students programmes. It was a truly inspiring day which we hope to be invited back to next year."