News: Royal Ballet condemned – by ex Director

Friday 20 June 2008

Ross Stretton, who died in 2005 aged 53 left a recording with the National Library of Australia’s oral history programme – in which he talks about his turbulent years reign in London.

He made the recording in 2003, on the understanding that it would not be released until 40 years after his death – but when he found out he was dying, he asked that to be changed to just three years.

He resigned after a near mutiny amongst Royal Ballet dancers over his perceived favouritism and less than enthusiastic reviews for his programming. In the recording he says that he felt that he was penalized for being Australian – and that he felt “hounded” by Kenneth MacMillan’s widow, Deborah MacMillan. Read more in the Guardian, 19 Jun 08

Dance critic Ismene Brown writes: “We cannot read this report in Australian newspapers of a former British artistic chief’s opinion, reported from beyond the grave, without high suspicion, it being so undermined by the chauvinistic nature of the interview, and by the trite judgment that Ross Stretton asks the public to accept about his failure as Royal Ballet’s artistic director.” Read more in the Telegraph, 20 Jun 08

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