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BERMUDA CIVIC BALLET

Bermuda Civic Ballet, popularly referred to as Civic, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. It is a non-profit organization and a registered charity. The concept of what Civic should and could be was the vision of Bermuda born Patricia Deane Gray.

Community Inclusiveness

The inaugural performance, Devil in the Village, a dramatization of a folk tale, exemplified the principles upon which Civic was founded – community inclusiveness and a contribution to Bermuda's cultural heritage. The artistic director for the programme was, very appropriately, Patricia Gray who also danced one of the major roles. While other performers included experienced professional dancers from outside Bermuda, there were also a myriad of aspiring young Bermudian dancers.

1972 saw also two dance workshops which affirmed Civic's commitment to the training of young dancers and to their preparation for future performances both locally and abroad. The tradition of training maintained over the years was marked in 2000 with the workshops conducted by Madame Tatiana Legat of the Kirov Ballet in Russia and then in Boston. Madame Legat returned in 2001 and 2002. In 2003 we had Ilonja Dierl & Shawn Mahoney, who had danced with Civic Ballet several times before and in 2004 and 2006 Teresa Randall taught ballet for us. She came from Canada's National Ballet School, where she headed up the Pedagogy Department. In 2005 and 2006 Marianna Tsartolia and Brian Flynn taught Modern. They are part of the Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre from New York.

From its inception, Civic intended its inclusiveness to extend beyond classical ballet to "theater-dance". That is, modern dance, tap and jazz. In 1974 Civic produced Invasion billed as a "selection of modern jazz and classical ballet" and in 1975 the production of Impressions had similar elements. In fact, Impressions marked an important milestone in the history of Civic. It was choreographed and produced entirely by Bermuda born and trained young people.

Professional Development

Over the years members of Civic have broadened their experience through the opportunity to work with many talented international choreographers, including Oscar Harmos, Madame Ana Roje, Charles Bennet, Marijan Bayer, Ron Cunningham, Patrick Woods, Royston Maldoon, Myles Marsden, Jelko Yuresha, Belinda Wright, Lawrence Haider and David Drummond.

Cultural Heritage

Among the highlights of Civic's history is the 1978 invitation to participate in the International Youth Festival in Aberdeen and London. A group of twenty members of the company were
chosen to represent Bermuda. The quality and success of their performance lead to a similar
invitation in 1981.

Civic has been managed by a body of Trustees committed to its principles and its development. The Trustees have included prominent politicians and private individuals. Indeed, the first chairman was the Hon. John W. Swan, later Sir John Swan. He served as Chairman for twenty-one years until his resignation when the Hon. Jerome Dill assumed the position.

We would like to acknowledge Trustees who are now deceased: Sir Henry Tucker, KBE; Mrs. Dorothea King, CBE; Dame Marjorie Bean, DBE; Mr. Charles Collis; Mr. Reginald Ming, OBE;
Sir Gilbert Cooper, CBE, Mrs. Elsbeth Gibson and just recently Beattie Stott.

In recognition of Civic's significant cultural role, three categories of donors have continued to provide financial support: friends, patrons and honorary patrons, including individuals, businesses and other community organizations. Periodically, the Bermuda Government, through the Bermuda Arts Council, has also provided assistance.

The significance of Civic's cultural role has been reinforced by the fact that several of Bermuda's Governors  have graciously given their patronage to performances. Indeed, Government House has been the setting for a number of outdoor performances, including Giselle (1990), La Sylphide (1992), La Peri (1995), Sylvia (1997), Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) and La Bayadere (2002).

The significance of Civic's role is affirmed also by the professional success of many of the young dancers who through experience and performance have had the opportunity to develop with the company. Among their number are:

Coral (Patterson) Waddell: Current Director of Bermuda Civic Ballet, teacher at the Bermuda School of Russian Ballet and dancer with Copley Square Ballet in Boston.
Katina Woodley: Teacher, Bermuda School of Russian Ballet.
Kristina Ingham: Teacher of Pilates and karate
Sharon (Randolph) Krantz: Ballet mistress, Tanglewood, U.S.A.
Alison (Masters) Smith: Dancer, New England, Canada and Texas
Jocelyn Troake: Teacher of drama and theater at the Bermuda School of Russian Ballet
Verniece Benjamin: Owner and operator of a dance school in Australia
Moira Stott: Dancer with the Atlantic Ballet Company in Toronto and Halifax and now owner of Stott Pilates in Canada, a leader in the Pilates field.
Sophia Cannonier: Dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem and former Miss Bermuda, owner of the Health Coop in Bermuda.
Barbara Frith: Teacher of dance at the Jackson School of Performing Arts
Heather Davis Shrubb: Teacher, Jackson School of Performing Arts
Alexandra Duzevic: Stanislavski Company, Moscow, Russia
Madeline Joell: Former Miss Bermuda and Vice President, Ace International

A number of dancers who performed with Civic are now deceased: Madeline Joell, Michael Ebbin, Perry Trott, Kurt Calabras, Robert Simmons, Lloyd Smith, Randolph Philpott and Michael Williams.

Bermuda Civic Ballet would like to thank all those persons who have provided assistance and support throughout the first 40 years. The company has appreciated the opportunity to be a part of Bermuda's artistic and cultural scene and looks forward to playing this role for years to come.

©2014 bermudacivicballet.bm