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Subject: "The London Gorilla Girls" Archived thread - Read only
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Stuart Sweeney

01-06-99, 08:07 PM (GMT)
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"The London Gorilla Girls"
   I have just received the attached letter, which took me rather by surprise:
>>>> Dear Mr. Sweeney

It is with regret that I have noted over the months your admiration for 'modern' ballet pieces. These are just the kind of 'works' that attract the attention of the London Gorilla Girls, named after the famous New York feminist fine art movement. This group, of which I am a founder member, dresses in full gorilla suits and have a block of stall seats at ballet premieres. If a work does not meet our strict criteria for classical ballet, we march up and down the aisles with our banners saying, 'This is not ballet', 'Keep ballet pure', 'Forsythe Go Home' and similar messages.

So far , we have had some success. English National Ballet is now an entirely innovation-free company and the Royal Ballet has commissioned a full length work from Michael Corder, which can be guaranteed to avoid any modern, post-modern, contemporary or indeed neo-classical references and will offend no one who has ever lived in the known Universe, although I acknowledge that some patrons may fall asleep.

Unfortunately, our success has resulted in the group splintering. A radical group calling themselves the Giselle Gorilla Girls is mounting a campaign to rid ballet companies of all the 20th century repertoire or at least anything after the degenerate Diaghilev and his followers.

Personally, I think this is going too far, but we certainly hope to turn the tide against those who, like you I'm sure, agree with Martha Graham when she said, 'There are only two sorts of dance, good dance and bad dance.'>>>>

Well! I look forward to reading the views of ballet.co readers on these outrageous remarks, or better still reports of performances which have seen a demonstration by the Gorilla Girls.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: The London Gorilla Girls Cathy, Phil and Gildas 04-06-99 1
     RE: The London Gorilla Girls Stuart Sweeney 04-06-99 2
         RE: The London Gorilla Girls Jenny Delaney 04-06-99 3

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Cathy, Phil and Gildas

04-06-99, 03:31 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: The London Gorilla Girls"
In response to message #0
   Can we please have membership information Stuart!

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Stuart Sweeney

04-06-99, 04:51 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: The London Gorilla Girls"
In response to message #1
   As I'm sure you can understand, with such a sensitive, revolutionary movement, discretion is a key consideration. Thus, like the Secret Service and the selection procedure for Magistrates, candidates are identified by a skilled nominations committee and applications are not entertained. I'm sure you will understand the need to keep out the riff-raff. No offence intended.

However, we do have a friends organisation, modelled on the Friends of Covent Garden, which is a lucrative source of income for us, as it is very expensive and grants very little by way of return. Minimum subscription is 1000 in used bank notes. We also have a Platinum Membership, costing 5000, which entitles you to a membership card.

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Jenny Delaney

04-06-99, 06:09 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: The London Gorilla Girls"
In response to message #2
   Of course, while Stuart is a dedicated supporter of the Gorilla Grrls (as they are properly known), his gender and advanced age prevent him from active participation in demonstrations.

Instead, he has proved most useful, being the inventor of the velcro fastenings on the suits, which I am assured, allow the demonstrators to pull off their Gorilla suits and don twinsets and pearls, and thus look like innocent ballet-goers when the choreographic police (enforcement division) arrive in the Black Maria, determined to "kick some Gorilla butt" as I believe they phrase it.

It was the hard-handed (and booted) tactics of the choreographic police that first attracted Mr Sweeney's attention. I believe Amnesty International are even now investigating the oppression of ballet audiences by this body.

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