The Chelmsford Ballet Company
In 1947, Joan Weston created the Broomfield YMCA Ballet Company in order to give the more senior students at her existing dance school the opportunity to learn and perform to the public. It was after their 1949 performance of Coppélia at the Shire Hall that the then Mayor of Chelmsford suggested the name ‘The Chelmsford Ballet Company’, and with a small committee the company was born.
Since 1949, the company has staged a full-scale production every year. Initially a part of the Arts Festival, and then the Cathedral Fringe Festival, they occur today as an annual event in their own right. Today the company is led by Artistic Director Annette Potter, a former dancing member. Annette danced many leading roles with the company before moving on to teaching and choreography. The company’s patrons are Doreen Wells, Marchioness of Londonderry and Christopher Marney, Artistic Director of Ballet Central.
The company is a way for skilled dancers to perform together and to showcase their talents, but it is not affiliated with any one dance school. It has become a well-loved cornerstone of Chelmsford’s cultural calendar, and repertoire includes The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Napoli, Pineapple Poll, Petroushka, La Boutique Fantasque, La Fille Mal Gardée, Tales from Beatrix Potter, Les Sylphides, Coppélia and Cinderella.
The company’s aim is to inspire and progress enthusiastic dancers in a safe, friendly and open environment with a professional approach, whilst having fun along the way. It is an amateur company whose aim is to set professional standards for all its work, involving professionals in its productions, courses, teaching and workshop opportunities. In the 1960s, a Scholarship Fund was created to help young dancers moving to professional training.
In 1999 the company celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a triple bill which included Beat Bop Boogie (a fun look back over the last 50 years). In 2009 its Diamond Jubilee Production was The Sleeping Beauty and in 2017 and 2018 it performed two specially commissioned ballets, Alice’s Adventures followed by Snow Queen. The Chelmsford Ballet Company is now celebrating its 70th year in 2019, looking back over the company’s history since 1949.
More information can be found here