The Arts of The Theatre

Choreographic notes by Ursula Moreton on the ballet The Arts of The Theatre (1925) by Ninette de Valois

The Arts of the Theatre (1925) livestreamed performance

On Wednesday 12 May 2021, Royal Ballet School students from Upper School will give a livestreamed performance of an early ‘lost’ ballet by Ninette de Valois, The Arts of the Theatre (1925).

The Royal Ballet School has engaged in a unique research project to recreate this early work, set to the piano version of Maurice Ravel’s La Valse. De Valois and her assistant, Ursula Moreton, were among five young women who originally danced the roles of Music, Painting, Dancing, Comedy and Tragedy in this short, experimental work.

The event is open to everyone and tickets cost £5 for students and £10 for general public.

Booking closes Wednesday 5 May 2021 at 11am BST.

About the project

The recreation of this work has been made possible by the discovery of Moreton’s detailed choreographic notes for The Arts of the Theatre, held in The Royal Ballet School’s Special Collections.

The remarkable find was made by Anna Meadmore, Manager of the Special Collections, during her own doctoral research into de Valois’ early career. She saw that an attempt to reconstruct the work might cast interesting new light on de Valois’ formative artistic ideals and vision.

Students at Upper School have been participating in this historic project under Meadmore’s guidance. As part of their own final-year BA degree dissertations they hope to bring de Valois’ youthful – and surprising – choreography back to life.

Ninette de Valois as a Nymph in a 1923 Ballets Russes revival of Fokine’s ballet Narcisse (1911)

Ninette de Valois as a Nymph in a 1923 Ballets Russes revival of Fokine’s ballet Narcisse (1911). Photo: Vaughan and Freeman. © The Royal Ballet School Special Collections

Event schedule (event begins at 18:00)
  • Welcome from the School’s Artistic Director, Christopher Powney.
  • Illustrated talk by Anna Meadmore, Manager of Special Collections, outlining the history and recreation of Ninette de Valois’ ballet, The Arts of the Theatre (1925).
  • First performance of the 12-minute piece (in costume) will be followed by a short discussion including film and live demonstration with audience Q&A via ‘chat’ function.
  • A second full performance will offer the opportunity to review the work.
  • The event will conclude at 19:30.