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Mona Inglesby Passing 6th October 2006Obituary


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#1 leonid17

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:32 AM

At the age of 88, Mona Inglesby founder and Ballerina of the International Ballet that toured the UK from 1940 to 1953 has died in a nursing home.

Mona Inglesby was born into a wealthy family and studied ballet in England with Margaret Craske (noted Cecchetti teacher), Nikolai Legat and Marie Rambert (whom she disliked) and left her ballet company to study with Mathilde Kschessinskaya.

Her first appearances were with Ballet Club, then Rambert Ballet and Victor Dandre's Russian Ballet in 1939 where she worked with Lubov Egorova her first link with the Imperial Ballet legacy.

Having driven ambulances at the beginning of World War II, she asked her father if he would loan her the money to start a ballet company. She employed the help of Nikolai Sergeyev to stage ballets from the Imperial Ballet repertoire and began to choreograph herself.

Among the dancers who appeared in her company were, Harold Turner, Moira Shearer, Sonia Arova, Maurice Bejart, Nina Tarakanova, Ernest Hewitt and Gerd Larsen and I understand that Stanislav Idzikovski taught for her at the beginning of the company's history.

The International Ballet repertoire included, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, Prince Igor and a number of her own works and others. Inglesby's acquisition of the Sergeyev Notation of the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet repertoire now housed in the Harvard Library, has been discussed in posts elsewhere.

I never met Mona Inglesby but was always interested in her achievement as she was frequently discussed by older balletomanes that I met. I did meet Errol Addison (a favourite pupil of Cecchetti, Diaghilev dancer, well-known dancer and better known teacher) from her company who would regale his audience of stories about his time with the International Ballet. More recently I have met Herida May who was Lilac Fairy to Inglesby's Aurora when the reconstruction of The Sleeping Beauty by the Kirov was shown in London.

#2 innopac

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:14 PM

This site for Mona Inglesby has information about the book Ballet in the Blitz [written by Mona Inglesby with Kay Hunter, published in 2008 by Groundnut Publishing] as well as photographs and obituaries.

#3 bart

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 03:27 PM

The OBITUARIES are a revelation in ballet history, at least for those of us outside the UK. (Leonid's original post was 2006. Innopac's post brought back the thread.)

After reading leonid's post this time around, I consulted the indices of a number of my British ballet biographies -- Ashton, Fonteyn, Tudor -- and found nothing at all.

Alexander Meinertz's biography of Vera Volkova does include the information -- mentioned a couple of the obituaries -- that Nikolai Sergeyev was for a while the "ballet-master" of the International Ballet.

Meinertz also has a footnote containing the following:

In January 1941, Volkova performed once with Mona Inglesby's International Ballet at the Cambridge Theatre, London. Volkova took the part of a cloud alongside Moira Shearer in a dance entitled Endymion, but was fired soon after for being "out of the style of the company."

History can be cruel as to whom and what it forgets. So thank you, leonid, for starting this topic -- and innopac, for tracking down the Inglesby site.

#4 leonid17

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 06:20 AM

This site for Mona Inglesby has information about the book Ballet in the Blitz [written by Mona Inglesby with Kay Hunter, published in 2008 by Groundnut Publishing] as well as photographs and obituaries.


Thank you so much. I had not imagined such a site existed as Miss Inglesby appears to have been sidelined in British Ballet history at the expense of Ballet Rambert and the Sadlers Wells Ballet and I suspect for some critics she was an irritation taking away the glory they wanted for the two companies mentioned and with whom they had some personal contact.

I have not read the book but will now purchase it. Mona Inglesby took ballet around England especially to places which had never seen ballet before, or to major towns and cities where no ballet had been performed since the heady days of Anna Pavlova.

Most people I knew who saw her ballet company perform, thought her productions of the classics were more than serviceable and that Miss Inglesby herself was an outstanding technical dancer a little lacking in lyricism and as one obituary kind of confirms, lacking in a really dominant stage personality. Errol Addison an excellent teacher who had danced in Diaghlev's company, had a whole range of stories to tell about his time with the International Ballet and mostly unflattering, but that was Mr. Addison for you. Other dancers I met from the company were always more prepared to talk about there own performances rather than Miss Inglesby's which makes me think she kept herself somewhat distant from the rest of the company.

Of the obituaries, I only give value to Mary Clarke's and John Percival's. The Clive Barnes is too short to gain a real impression of either the International Ballet or Miss Ingleby's achievements.

As Bart says, "History can be cruel as to whom and what it forgets."


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