Spirit of the ballet at dorich house museum

Spirit of the Ballet at Dorich House Museum

Staff and students at White Lodge may have noticed that several familiar bronze heads and statues have disappeared from their usual pedestals around the building.

That’s because they have been loaned to our nearby neighbour, Dorich House Museum for a special exhibition trail entitled Spirit of the Ballet: Sculpture from The Royal Ballet School and Dorich House Collections which is on now until Saturday 29 April 2023.

One of London’s hidden gems, Dorich House Museum at Kingston University is located close to Richmond Park, the home of our White Lodge building in South West London.

It is the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Honorable Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936 to Gordine’s design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a woman artist. Following Gordine’s death in 1991 the house was acquired and renovated by Kingston University and is now open to the public as a fully accredited museum.

From Dorich House Museum:

Dance was a longstanding influence in Gordine’s work and appears to have been part of her life from her early years in Tallinn. Gordine House, which was built and occupied by the her family, housed Café Linden at which “the best artistes of operas, operettas and ballets” performed alongside ballet dancers from the Imperial Theatre.

In London, Gordine regularly attended ballet performances and, as a couple, Gordine and Hare reportedly practised ballet as a form of exercise. Their wider social circle included figures from the world of dance; including Ballets Russes dancer Lydia Lopokova (1892-1981) and ballet dancer and critic, Beryl de Zoete (1879-1962). Within the Dorich House collections, Gordine’s interest in ballet is reflected in her drawings of student ballet dancers, her portrait heads, and her commercially successful Spirit of the Ballet series of the late 1940s, many of which will be on display as part of the ballet trail.

Spirit of the Ballet will be at Dorich House Museum through April and can be enjoyed with the free Bloomberg Connects app, which you can download in advance of visiting, or with paper guides available on site.


In Conversation | Dame Darcey Bussell and Anna Meadmore | Wednesday 8 March, 6.30 pm

Dorich House is hosting a conversation between Artist Laureate of The Royal Ballet School, Dame Darcey Bussell and Manager of Special Collections, Anna Meadmore. Darcey and Anna will be discussing Darcey’s life in dance and Darcey will be sharing her personal recollections of some of the leading ballet figures displayed in the museum’s Spirit of the Ballet sculpture trail and footage from her private archive.

Darcey trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined The Royal Ballet in 1988, becoming the Company’s youngest Principal Dancer the following year. After almost 20 years as Principal and becoming the most famous British ballerina of her generation, she retired in 2007. Amongst her many patronages, Darcey has been President of the Royal Academy of Dance since 2012. Darcey is founder of the charity DDMIX for Schools, a dance fitness program designed especially for PE and has recently co-created the Move-Assure Dance for Mental Wellbeing programme to be used as a social prescription. She remains a guest coach with The Royal Ballet and presents their live cinema relays.

Anna pursued a career as a professional dancer, teacher, choreographer, and dance historian and cares for the Special Collections at The Royal Ballet School.

Doors will open at 6.30pm to give visitors time to enjoy the house and collections with a complimentary glass of prosecco. The talk will commence at 7.30pm.

Purchase your ticket through Eventbrite.

Spirit of the Ballet: A Talk and Tour with Anna Meadmore | Wednesday 16 March, 11 am

Anna Meadmore has managed and curated the extraordinary archive and art collection at The Royal Ballet School for over 20 years. Anna will be giving an introduction to The Ballet School’s Special Collections and leading a tour of our new ballet-themed sculpture trail in collaboration with The Royal Ballet School.

Please note that that the tour will involve walking to the second floor of the museum, which has no step-free access.

Purchase your ticket through Eventbrite.