On Tuesday 20th October over 40 of Britain’s most renowned dance professionals gathered in London for a historic photograph featuring those who have been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday or New Years Honours lists for services to dance. This included my amazing grandmother Sheila Labhart who received a British Empire Medal in 2013 in recognition for services to dance and charity.
After a fair amount of persuasion (including a detailed itinerary, pre-booked travel assistance at London Euston and the promise of Cream Tea), Nan was convinced to go!
No issues on the train, though the assistance I’d booked at Euston was very (very!) slow. It also takes you underground which was surreal. The driver got us a cab and then we were on our way to Sadler’s Wells for the photograph. (NB never underestimate London traffic at any time of day)
Shortly after arriving we were taken on stage to be seated/placed. For my Nan it was a huge deal to be on the same stage that so many leading ballet stars had performed on.
As soon as she spotted Dame Beryl Grey, my Nan marched straight up to her and became a little emotional when introducing herself. Grey was a huge inspiration for my Nan growing up and it was possibly the best outcome of the day that she was able to meet her. She is still buzzing about it now! (See cute pic below)
After introducing Nan to Namron Esq. and Nadine Senior, we had a lovely catch-up with Veronica Lewis MBE who remembered Nan from 30+ years ago – all this before heading off to Bill’s for cream tea!
The event was really well organised and became a great Nan-Granddaughter day in the big smoke. Obviously, this wasn’t the aim of the photograph – more a happy byproduct!
The purpose of the photograph was to celebrate the achievements of leading dance professionals who had been recognised in the Queen’s Honours lists, bringing them together for the first time as part of Dance Umbrella 2015. To inspire future nominations for dance artists, teachers, managers, choreographers and innovators so that outstanding contributions in dance can continue to be highlighted on such an elevated scale.
Top Row Left to Right: Edward Watson MBE, Piali Ray OBE, Jeanetta Laurence OBE, Prue Skene CBE, Namron OBE Esq., Jeanette Siddall CBE, Fergus Early OBE, Peter Huggins MBE, Nadine Senior MBE, Linda Jasper MBE, Kiki Gale MBE, Deborah Baddoo MBE, Mark Baldwin OBE
Middle Row Left to Right: Marie McCluskey MBE, Nina Yadavan Rajarani MBE, Lea Anderson MBE, John Ashford CBE, Janet Smith MBE, Dr Scilla Dyke MBE, Colin Nears CBE, Cassa Pancho MBE, Deborah Bull CBE, Anthony Van Laast MBE, Veronica Lewis MBE, Dame Monica Mason, Kenneth Tharp OBE, Mira Kaushik OBE, Valerie Bourne CBE
Front Row Left to Right: Celeste Dandeker-Arnold OBE, Richard (Dick) Matchett MBE, Sheila Labhart BEM, Bisakha Sarker MBE, Lady Anya Sainsbury, Donald Whyte MacLeary OBE,Dame Beryl Grey, Dame Gillian Lynne, Robert Cohan CBE, Clement Crisp OBE, Janet Lewis MBE, Brenda Last OBE, Nilima Devi MBE, Douglas Squires OBE, Hazel Rayson BEM.