I think in the preparation of a production, in the rehearsals for dancers, one is really considering the best way to achieve the best result and that can be very often in inviting retired dancers to come back in to coach, especially something that was created on them. I mean there are still lots of examples like that, Antony Dowell comes in to coach the roles that he was famous for and that he created for both MacMillan and Ashton, same with Antoinette Sibley, Merle Park; people who are really my generation but now no longer working full-time in the theatre. But of course Benesh notation is a wonderful system for recording ballets. I don' t know where we' d be without it, I mean it' s extraordinary. Time and again I think, ' this production would never have got off the ground without notation.' And so we are hugely dependent on that and the skill of the people who write the ballets and then teach them in the studio. Of course if it' s wonderfully mastered score it can be taught by another person. I think the ideal situation is a continuity, if that person wrote the score 15 or 20 years ago there' ll be so many details that they remember that a person coming in and just reading the score wouldn' t know about.
I think it' s very important that dancers do understand the background of the works. We do very often put information on the notice board for them to read, background. I know they can look it up in books and everything, but sometimes if it' s the angle I want them to consider we' ll put something up on the board for them to read and recommend certain things for them to look at. A lot of people have a huge initiative and do it all on their own and other people don' t. So one is trying to cater to everybody really, but I think it' s very important to understand how ballets came about and why and where they belong in the history of the art.
FREE TALK: The second in a series of screenings programmed by our Exhibition Road artist in residence Jamie Jenkinson, this screening looks at the relationship between movement and colour in artist film and video.
The V&A Innovative Leadership Programme is aimed at managers working in the arts & creative industries looking to develop new skills, insight and opportunity. Applications are now open for the next course.