Dancers on the bridge at athelhampton house

Alumni perform at charity gala at Athelhampton House

Stars of The Royal Ballet and other companies and musicians of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House took to the stage last weekend for two gala performances in the grounds of beautiful Athelhampton House.

The annual event was created by Royal Ballet First Soloist Meaghan Grace Hinkis, who sought a way to support the performing arts after the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. This was the third year that the gala weekend has taken place, with over £100,000 being raised in total so far.

This year Hinkis worked with Fredstep Fundraising with funds raised also going to support Ukrainian dancers who have been displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. This year’s performance also saw over 80 children from local schools watching the rehearsals and the performance free of charge, which for many was their first experience of watching ballet live.

The weekend featured classical and contemporary works from The Royal Ballet’s repertory, including by Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Kenneth MacMillan, Wayne McGregor, Kristen McNally, Marius Petipa and Valentino Zucchetti among others.

Royal Ballet School ballet teacher and former Ballet Master of The Royal Ballet Ricardo Cervera joined a group of esteemed dancers including many School alumni: Luca Acri, Matthew Ball, Lukas Brændsrød, David Donnelly, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, Melissa Hamilton, Ryoichi Hirano, Momoko Hirata, Daichi Ikarashi, Sarah Lamb, Mayara Magri, Laura Morera, César Morales, Mariko Sasaki and Joseph Sissens.

Ricardo told us:

It was an honour and a privilege to share the stage once more with my former colleagues from The Royal Ballet. And it was particularly special to rekindle my partnership with Principal dancer Laura Morera in Ashton’s Tango from Façade.

The setting couldn’t have been more beautiful and appropriate for the gala. I also had the wonderful task of teaching class to the dancers to get them ready for their performances.