Didn't Royal Ballet accept students from the school into the Company if they were from Commonwealth countries, even when employment requirements were much stricter than today? (Lynn Seymour from Canada is another example.)
You are right they did. But, all things changed when we joined the EEC and became subject to their laws and their legal judgements.
The law now allows non EU workers to fill jobs in the UK where there are particular shortages of skills. Before, special cases had to be made.
Mel Johnson stated, "Even though the Empire is gone, the Commonwealth of Nations marches on. This factor has to weigh in somehow in the discussion." Interestingly while EU members have an absolute right to work in the UK, Commonwealth citizens do not and are subject to a points based system quota.
Ballet companies are one of the areas of employment identified where a shortage of workers is seen and they can now employ I am assuming, dancers from any country in the world.
Among regular followers of the Royal and probably by many UK nationals, there is the understanding that the RB is more than the premier company, they are the 'national' company and having the accolade of Royal gives them this status. Once the status of “Royal” is given by a Royal Charter having first been recommended by her Majesty’s Privy Council, it changes a body from a collection of individuals into a single legal entity. Once incorporated by Royal Charter, amendments to the Charter and by-laws require government approva. The status is not open to any organisation only to those that offer the highest standards and represent the UK at its best.
It is therefore a disappointment to some, that currently of the 23 most senior dancers, only 3 are UK born.
I do not know if the legal nature of the contracts for all the RB senior dancers is the same, but in the past, the designation was something like,(1)permanent member contract(2) permanent guest contract.
For me who has been watching the RB for more than 40 years and who has seen dancers graduate from the Royal Ballet School and ascend to principal dancers, I am personally unhappy that the RB School no longer appears to fulfil its function as it did in the past.
As to foreign(such an ugly word) dancers I am more than happy to watch the dancers we have in the Royal Ballet as they have in some cases brought qualities missing for a long time.
The criticism I most widely hear is that the defining style of the Royal Ballet has been lost. If this is the case and I believe it to be true it is not the problem of the dancers making but education in the English style as Dame Ninette de Valois called it, not being either taught or desired by the management of the RB.
In Ashton’s works especially I count it my loss and it is a loss for everyone else as far as I can see.