This is day 14 in my Dance Inspirations Advent Calendar (II)
One day I was walking through the Fonteyn Centre at the RAD, and as I passed the Ashton studio, I became transfixed by the most haunting melody being played on the piano. I stopped to listen, curious to know who was playing so beautifully, and what this extraordinary piece was that they were playing. You have to know that I’m not often transfixed by the music that comes out of ballet studios to understand why this was unusual.
It turned out it was Ann Hogben, playing Geoffrey Toye’s waltz from The Haunted Ballroom, from the 1934 ballet by Ninette de Valois. I’d seen pictures of this ballet in some old Sadlers Wells annual, but never heard the music – and it did exactly what it said on the tin, it was truly haunting. But it also took someone of Annie’s calibre to play it with such integrity that you could be haunted from outside the studio.