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Barbara Fewster OBE

Photo of: Barbara Fewster OBE

Barbara Fewster joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet School in 1942, aged 14, as a student. In 1943, during World War II, she danced for, and toured England with, Sadler's Wells Opera Company.

In 1946, she became a founder member of the newly formed Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet Company (now the Birmingham Royal Ballet), under the direction of Dame Ninette de Valois. Peggy Van Praagh subsequently handed over the reins of Ballet Mistress to the company to Barbara Fewster in 1951.

Touring, aside from the UK Wyndham Theatre Circuit, took the company to America, Canada, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa. Barbara Fewster worked closely with renowned choreographers such as Ninette de Valois, Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Andrea Howard, John Cranko and Kenneth MacMillan during 1946 and 1954.

After leaving Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet Company in 1954, Ursula Moreton, at that time Ballet Principal of the Royal Ballet School, invited Barbara Fewster to teach at the school.

In 1968, she succeeded Miss Moreton as Ballet Principal. Around this time, Barbara Fewster was invited to join the Council of the ISTD, and Cyril Beaumont, founder of the Cecchetti Society, awarded her an Honorary Fellowship of the Society. Miss Fewster is also an Honorary Fellow of the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance). She is a Grand Councillor of both societies to this day.

Teaching, adjudicating, and lecturing, both before and after retirement, have taken Barbara Fewster to China, Hong Kong, Canada, USA, Portugal and Italy.

In 1993, she mounted Coppelia for the Turkish National Ballet in Istanbul assisted by the British Council. She has also revised La Fete Etrange for the Royal Ballet. Amongst Miss Fewster's numerous other activities, she created a technical video for the teaching of pointe work, and is still involved in several projects. On retiring from the Royal Ballet School in 1988, Barbara Fewster was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for services to Ballet.

Grand council: Grand Council Member