The RAD loses a loyal and dedicated friend...
Dame Gillian Lynne, celebrated choreographer and RAD Vice-President, passed away yesterday evening.
Dame Gillian's long association with the RAD began as a little girl. Always full of energy, she could never sit still. It was such a problem that her family doctor advised: "For God's sake, get her to dance classes now!" From there, she always cited her RAD teacher as the person who kindled her love of ballet.
Over her distinguished career, she went on to work in film, as well as on over 60 West End and Broadway shows, perhaps her most famous being Cats and Phantom of the Opera.
She also choreographed two exclusive solos for the RAD's UK-based, Fonteyn & Nureyev Young Dancers Competition, for which she created four variations. These were set to music composed by John Williams for the Harry Potter score in 2005. The competition ran until 2008.
In 2000, she was presented with the QEII Coronation Award, the RAD's highest honour, in recognition of her outstanding service to the art of ballet. In 2012 she became a vice-president of the RAD.
More recently, Dame Gillian was a keynote speaker at the Faculty of Education's 2013 conference on Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing, advocating the benefits of dance for older people.
Speaking of her passing, Luke Rittner, RAD Chief Executive said:
“The death of Gillian Lynne leaves a gaping hole not only in the lives of her family, friends and admirers, but in the worlds of theatre and dance. Her links to the RAD stretch back to her childhood and she has been a loyal and dedicated friend to the Academy all her life.
Her ground-breaking choreography, her nurturing of young talent and her larger than life personality have dominated our lives for so long that it is truly difficult to imagine the profession without her.”
You can read more about Dame Gillian's career in her own words in this 2014 article for Dance Gazette .