The Ninette de Valois Trust Fund:

Dame Ninette de Valois, the fountainhead of British Ballet companies, who died aged 102, is remembered in a trust bearing her name that will promote new choreography. In 1931 Ninette de Valois founded the Vic-Wells Ballet which went on to become the Sadler’s Wells Ballet and then the Royal Ballet; the successor company at Sadler's Wells, after its move to the Midlands, became the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Through her work with Lilian Baylis and with new and young British dancers, Ninette de Valois determinedly built the foundation from which Britain's reputation for ballet and dance has grown. Through her influence, artists such as Margot Fonteyn, Beryl Grey, Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann, Michael Somes, Leslie Edwards and later Anthony Dowell, Antoinette Sibley and Wayne Sleep achieved worldwide recognition for their talents. As well as being a significant choreographer herself, she encouraged Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, John Cranko, David Bintley and many other choreographers. She created, almost single-handedly and against huge odds, the basis of British ballet today.

To honour her memory, the Vic-Wells Association, founded by Lilian Baylis, is appealing for money to support the Ninette de Valois Trust Fund. Its object is to further Dame Ninette's expressed wish to promote new choreography. It will encourage choreographers to create work that will be performed in any theatre managed by Sadler's Wells or The Old Vic.

Sir Peter Wright, former director of Birmingham Royal Ballet and a close friend and associate of Dame Ninette, have agreed to join the Trustees.

In launching the fund, Sir Peter said "In her very, very long lifetime Dame Ninette received many honours, as well as being a Dame she received the Order of Merit and was a Companion of Honour. The Vic-Wells Association is proud to recognise the enormous contribution she made to British ballet by providing this vehicle for those who would like to thank her for her pioneering work. There will be many, I'm sure, who will want to make a donation to help promote a cause I know she held most dear. Now they can".

Donations can count as Gift Aid thereby enabling the Fund to recover tax, currently at the rate of 28 pence for every £1 given. Please send your donation to Val Colgan at the address below making your cheques out to ‘Ninette de Valois Trust Fund’. Your donation will be gratefully acknowledged.

Previous Awardees

2005 - Liam Scarlett