Ninette de valois (standing centre) and ursula moreton (kneeling in dress) with students of the vic-wells school just after it became resident at sadler’s wells theatre in 1931.

Royal Ballet School students recreate Ninette de Valois’ ‘lost’ choreography 

Today marks International Women’s Day as well as the 20th anniversary of our founder Ninette de Valois’s death. To celebrate today and to honour de Valois, we are delighted to announce a rare performance of The Arts of the Theatre; an early experimental piece of choreography by de Valois recreated by five of our Upper School students. The performance will take place online in May 2021.

This short piece of choreography from 1925 was uncovered by our Manager of Special Collections Anna Meadmore when she came across rehearsal notes on the piece taken by Ursula Moreton (de Valois’ assistant and dancer who featured in the original production). Meadmore has since been working collaboratively with our students to breathe life back into de Valois’ early ballet as part of the students’ degree dissertations.

The livestream event will include two performances of The Arts of the Theatre and a presentation on its reconstruction, followed by a Q&A with the dancers. Meadmore suggests:

De Valois’ youthful choreographic study was an expression of her formative artistic ideals and creative vision. A reconstruction of the work will cast interesting new light on the significant period between de Valois’ departure from the Diaghilev Ballets Russes Company and the founding of her School just seven months later, in March 1926.

This is set to be a unique event showcasing rarely-seen choreography in celebration of our pioneering founder Dame Ninette de Valois.

Booking details will be released on our website and social media channels in the coming weeks.