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Subject: "Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2289
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Wendy Glavis

22-11-01, 00:10 AM (GMT)
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"Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition"
 
   Trying my best to look like someone in the market for a diamond brooch (not entirely an act - I am only a lottery win away from becoming a regular customer), I mingled with the crowds at the preview of the exhibition: 'Ballet Jewellery - On and Off the Stage', held by the Bond Street Jewellers, Bentley and Skinner.

Wow. Believe it or not, I'd got my ticket by legitimate means: no bribery or corruption necessary. I had instructions from friends to take everything in, get lots of autographs, talk to the famous and take careful note of what Darcey Bussell was wearing.

So what was it like? To be honest, it was fascinating - and terrifying.

Picture the lift at Covent Garden Tube Station on a Saturday afternoon - that's how crowded it was - except that I was surrounded, not by tourists, but by famous people and seriously beautiful jewellery.

I'd arrived early and lurked outside, just in time to see Bentley and Skinner staff sweeping the last bit of dust from the red carpet which stretched from the public street to their door. I watched Darcey and Dame Beryl Grey arrive. Gulp. Time to go in.

The doorman opened the door, someone took my coat, someone else offered me a glass of champagne. Later we had canapes. (The chicken was delicious.)

Upstairs, Darcey - looking terrific - was surrounded by photographers who clicked away for ages, as she posed in front of Anna Pavlova's dressing table.

Who else was there? Gosh, I'm sure I failed to recognise tons of people. I spotted Lady Londonderry, Angus Forbes, Lady MacMillan, Brenda Last, Alexander Grant. Everyone seemed to know everyone else really well. Crumbs, I thought, what am I DOING here??

The Staff of Bentley and Skinner, by the way, were wonderfully charming and helpful, extremely hospitable. And the exhibition itself was fascinating; I'd like to see it again when it was possible to move more than half an inch to either side. There were photos and signed ballet shoes, jewels and paintings, tutus and jewelled head-dresses (lots of these) everywhere. Almost too much to take in. I gazed reverently at Anna Pavlova's dressing table - and greedily at the real jewellery displayed alongside the ballet memorabilia. (If anyone's thinking of getting me a Christmas present, there's rather a nice diamond and ruby butterfly brooch...) The exhibition is well worth seeing.

Then we had speeches. Dame Beryl Grey spoke of the days when there were no pensions for dancers and described the work done by The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund. Later, as she told us about being partnered by Alexander Grant, he called out, 'I danced with Brenda' (Last) 'too. We were pigs!' - which got a laugh. Darcey Bussell gave a charming little speech also. If you go to the exhibition, you can support the Benevolent Fund by buying a raffle ticket (10 each!) AND have a chance of winning a piece of gold and silver jewellery from the "Darcey Bussell" collection.

By this time, however, I was nearly dead from a combination of claustrophobia and social terror. Somehow, I got my coat and left, impressed by all that I'd seen and heard - and mortified by my many failures. I hadn't asked for a single autograph (definitely not the time or the place!!), or spoken to anyone important. And I'd totally forgotten to notice what Darcey was wearing. My friends are going to kill me. (Fortunately, her picture's bound to be in the papers tomorrow, so they can see for themselves.)

At King's Cross Station I bought myself a diet Coke. Phew. Back to the real world.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition Viviane 22-11-01 1
     RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition Fiona 22-11-01 3
         RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition Viviane 22-11-01 4
  RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition Anneliese 22-11-01 2
     RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition Wendy Glavis 22-11-01 5
         RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition Pete 23-11-01 6
     RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition... tortie14 23-11-01 7

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Viviane

22-11-01, 07:42 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition"
In response to message #0
 
   Wendy ! Thank you for this 'stylish' report
I felt like being there too, for a little while !


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Fiona

22-11-01, 02:25 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition"
In response to message #1
 
   I agree, Viviane, it was a fascinating report and so enjoyable to read! Sothebys or Christies displayed some items on their website during the Fonteyn auction a while ago, so I am wondering if anyone knows if Bentley and Skinner have a website that might show some of the exhibit jewellery? (For those of us who live miles from London!)


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Viviane

22-11-01, 02:48 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition"
In response to message #3
 
   Not the exhibit jewellery...but they do have a website :
http://www.bentley-skinner.co.uk , just to have a glimp of the glamour !

WOW, Wendy did you enter through THAT door ?
Nothing for you Bruce : you can't skip the intro


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Anneliese

22-11-01, 11:07 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition"
In response to message #0
 
   As "The Tales of Beatrix Potter" is my toddler's favourite viewing at present (in desperation one evening I got it out while he was in mid strop and said "Watch. You see what happens next" and it was a joy to see his face as each new dancer appeared - "It's a HEDGEHOG!! Hedgehog dancing! In SHOES!" etc...) I was interested to see Brenda Last's name. I've always wondered what she looked like without the perfectly lovely black berkshire pig mask! (actually I have got a publicity still of her wrapped in furs - very 60s! - and the book of the making of the film refers to her as an "exquisitely finished principal of the company", but I don't think I ever saw her dancing a person!)


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Wendy Glavis

22-11-01, 09:36 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition"
In response to message #2
 
   Thanks for the kind words, Viviane and Fiona. Yes, that's the Bentley and Skinner website, Viviane. (If you click on 'rubies' you can even see 'my' diamond and ruby butterfly brooch!)


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Pete

23-11-01, 06:11 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition"
In response to message #5
 
   What a great evening Wendy! Thanks for the report. I can quite understand your being overwhelmed by it all, things like that make me feel intoxicated without touching anything alcoholic. The exhibition sounds fascinating, I gather admission is free and it's open 11am-5pm until Wed 28th.

...and I've also worked out that if you save just 20 quid a week for the next 27 years and 6 months you'd have enough for the diamond & ruby brooch and enough change for a slap up fish supper (or by then, a packet of quavers)


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tortie14

23-11-01, 09:07 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Private Preview of Bentley and Skinner Ballet Exhibition "
In response to message #2
 
   Yes Wendy thanks for the report - it felt like I was there with you. Brenda Last - I did see, she was one of my favourites in soubrette (no-one calls them that anymore) roles - wonderful Lise in Fille, and in Coppelia, and in Pineapple Poll she was great at comic stuff - and roles like Rendezvous, and Patineurs - ah, memories.

Vanessa


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