Choreographing for Festival Ballet


In April of 1964 I was approached by the company manager of London’s Festival Ballet” I would like to meet with you, on a very important matter”.

I obliged and we met.

“David, do you do choreography?

As I had already choreographed several ballets for the Winnipeg ballet and the National Ballet of Canada, my answer was in the affirmative.

We in Festival Ballet, were doing one of our usual seasons in Barcelona, Spain, performing at the Liceo Theatre.

The manager continued–“we are doing a gala performance at the end of this season, and we find that several of our soloists do not have something to dance, could you choreograph something?

I of course agreed, but–there was a problem, what music?

After an afternoon of searching, I found that one of the dancers had a tape of Suite number 3, by Tschaikowsky.

It was perfect.

The main problems were–choreographing the ballet, having costumes made, and getting the score for the orchestra.

We were performing eight times a week, so I would have a tight schedule, we managed.

On of the dancers, Mel Clifford, was a designer and could sew.

A telephone call told us that the score and parts could be flown in from London.

We did it!! In ten days we did it all, a half hour ballet, costumes and music.

The opening was April 24, 1964. It was called Suite in G.

The response was good, the audience loved it, the critics gave it praise, the management were amazed and pleased, it would become part of the repertoire of Festival Ballet and would receive 42 performances, those taking place in Europe, the British Isles and South America.

Did that lead to other choreography for Festival Ballet? Yes–The company was asked to perform in Faust at the Fenice Theatre in Venice and because of Suite, I was asked o choreograph the¬†Walpurgis Nightballet for the opera.

With the advent of change of management, that was the end of the choreographic story with Festival Ballet. Shame, for I was on a roll.

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