ROYAL ACADEMY OF DANCE AWARD
Gillian Lynne, one of Britainís finest modern stage dancers, received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from the Royal Academy of Dance marking a lifetimeís achievement in dance on November 14, 2001.
Dame Antoinette Sibley, the Academyís President, welcomed everyone to the presentation of the award, which is given annually in recognition of outstanding service to the art of ballet. Instituted in 1953 by Dame Adeline Genťe then President of the RAD, the first award went to Dame Ninette de Valois since then recipients have included Sir Frederick Ashton, Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Alicia Markova.
Dame Beryl Grey presented the Award at a reception in Her Majestyís Theatre, Haymarket, attended by some well known artists of the dance and theatre worlds.
The Academy first recognised Gillianís talent in 1938 with a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dancing, as it was then known. She was later spotted by Ninette de Valois at the age of 16 and offered a place in the Sadlerís Wells Ballet where she rose through the ranks to be a leading dancer. Her many roles included the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and the Black Ballerina in Ballet Imperial.
Gillian danced in ballets choreographed for her by Pauline Grant at the London Palladium from 1951 to 1953, before returning to the Sadlerís Wells Ballet and to Covent Garden in 1957 to dance in many operas, including Samson and Delilah, Aida and Tannhauser.
Gillian turned to choreography in 1963, creating Collages, which was the first British jazz classical dance, company with original scores by Dudley Moore. She was the first British choreographer to break onto Broadway for more than 20 years, starting with the smash hit The Smell of the Greasepaint, the Roar of the Crowd - she subsequently staged over 50 shows on Broadway and in the West End, culminating in her world-wide success with Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. She also choreographed a long list of ballets for companies including the Australian Ballet, and has also worked in film and television, most notably winning a BAFTA Award for her Direction and Choreography of A Simple Man for BBC TV, which starred Christopher Gable, Moira Shearer and leading members of Northern Ballet Theatre.
Gillian, married to the actor Peter Land was awarded the CBE in 1997, will be musically staging and choreographing the forthcoming production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, which premieres in April 2001.