Letter: Gas-powered ballet

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The Independent Culture
Gas-powered ballet

Sir: Under the headline "Stand up to these egotistical donors", on David Lister's article (30 November) about the Royal Court and the Jerwood Foundation, I was astonished to read the header "Central School of Ballet now tours as British Gas Ballet Central."

It is our performing group, Ballet Central, which tours as British Gas Ballet Central. But this is not "now", ie sudden or recent, it has been so since 1990, a long and loyal sponsorship on both sides.

To take head-on the implication of egotism and opportunism, contained in the article about the Royal Court, British Gas has invested around pounds 1m in our young dancers over a decade in order to bring live dance by aspiring young professionals to far-flung communities, some of which receive little live arts performance. This is over 70 per cent of our costs, the balance being made up at the box office. The taxpayer is not called upon, nor the Lottery player.

Ballet Central simply could not exist without its sponsor, which deserves plaudits, hence its place in our title, not brickbats.

ANN STANNARD

Director

Central School of Ballet

London EC1

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