Ninette de Valois Festival of Dance

Ninette de Valois Festival of Dance is an exciting celebration of internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, poet an artist Dame Ninette de Valois in her hometown of Blessington, West Wicklow on the 120th anniversary of her birth in Baltyboys House in June 1898. This inaugural festival is a collaboration between Blessington & District Forum and Interpretive Artists Ireland

Embracing her life-long identification with Ireland, the festival will serve as a living legacy for the community of Blessington, West Wicklow and Ireland and will attract lovers of dance, music and theatre anywhere in the world who have been inspired by this great woman’s achievements.

Invited by WB Yates to return to Ireland following her early success as a dancer and choreographer in England and elsewhere abroad, Ninette de Valois founded the Abbey School of Ballet in 1927 and was the foundation stone for ballet in Ireland today. Internationally she founded the Royal Ballet in the UK and was central to the founding of National Ballet Companies in Canada, Australia and Turkey.

Fri/Saturday 29/30th June. 8pm, Tramway Theatre, Blessington.                                                         

Gala Tribute entitled ‘Invitation to the Dance’ in the Tramway Theatre at 8pm on Friday and Saturday.

Featuring Irish National Youth Ballet, Degani Ensemble, guest dancers from Cork City Ballet, premier showing of Spectre de la Rose featuring Zoe Ashe-Browne and Dominic Harrison and filmed at Russborough House for the Festival. A specially commissioned dramatization of De Valois’ poetry entitled the Contented Ghost will feature actor Deirdre Monaghan in the title role. The evening will be introduced by local historian and author Jim Corley of the Blessington History Circle.

Saturday 30th June at 12pm

Tramway Theatre will host ‘Madame’ – a roundtable discourse on Ninette de Valois with invited guests including Paul Johnstone of Dance Ireland and Joanna Banks, one of the last dancers who worked with De Valois. The event will be facilitated by TV Producer Ann Makower (formerly of RTE).


Sat 31st at 2.30 pm

Russborough House and the Beit Foundation will host an Afternoon Tea Dance at The Hippodrome where the award-winning Ballymore Eustace Concert Band will perform dance hits from the 1920’s – 1970’s. Entrance is free, and all are invited to dress in period costumes of their choice.

Sunday July 1st at 12 noon on Main Street in Blessington

A memorial to Ninette de Valois will be unveiled ceremonially to remind all who pass of her wonderful legacy and special place among her community. Following this ceremony there will be an afternoon of Music and Dance festivities in the Main Square with guest musicians and dancers celebrating the Spirit of Dance sown in Ninette’s soul through learning Irish Dances in her young formative days as a child in Blessington.

Ninette De Valois Festival of Dance is being supported and endorsed by the Arts Council, Wicklow Arts Office, Wicklow County Council, Irish Actors Equity and Russborough

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