Letter: Valuable role of Scottish Ballet

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would like to express my personal support for the Scottish Ballet and do most fervently hope it will be allowed to have a strong future in Scotland (Letters, 2 August).

When I joined the Music Department of the Arts Council of Great Britain (as it then was) in 1970, almost my first task as officer responsible for dance was to make flying visits to Scotland with my then Chair of Dance, Peter Williams, to assist in an investigation by the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) into the somewhat precarious future of Scottish Ballet, which at SAC's invitation had moved permanently to Scotland in 1969, but was encountering financial problems.

After some months of deliberations, we were delighted when SAC endorsed the company's future, recognising the value of the company's service, not only in major Scottish theatres but throughout the Highlands and Islands, together with an approach to outreach work which was almost unique in its day.

Throughout my service as Dance Director (1979-89) for ACGB this company was often held up as a good role model for its very special service to Scotland while at the same time having the talent to present the major "classics" at international standard. I feel certain it would be a real deprivation for dance lovers in Scotland if the company were allowed to close.

As a member of the board of Birmingham Royal Ballet I was very pleased indeed to know that our production of La Fille Mal Gardee has been offered on loan to Scottish Ballet for presentation this Christmas if the company is enabled to survive. Can the Scottish Arts Council now show similar generosity of spirit in its attitude to the current negotiations and find a positive solution to the crisis?


London W6