Marion Tait has been appointed Assistant Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
David Bintley made the announcement in front of the assembled Company on Friday night, following Birmingham Royal Ballet's performances of Coppélia at the Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin. The news was met with a lengthy ovation of heartfelt cheers and applause from all, including dancers, musicians, technical staff and admin.
Born in London, Marion joined the Royal Ballet touring company (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) as a teenager, rising to the rank of Principal and dancing the lead ballerina roles in all the classics.
In 1995 she became Birmingham Royal Ballet's Ballet Mistress, and now teaches the Company as well as the Royal Ballet School Senior Associates in Birmingham. She continues to perform character roles such as a scene-stealing Carabosse inThe Sleeping Beauty and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet.
She was made an OBE in 1992 and a CBE in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours list. Marion has twice been nominated for Olivier Awards (Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, 1994, and Hagar in Pillar of Fire, 1995), was named Dancer of the Year 1994 and also received the Evening Standard Ballet Award for Outstanding Performance. Marion is a trustee of the Dance Teacher's Benevolent Fund and Patron of The Edge arts centre in Solihull.
Marion assisted Desmond Kelly in directing Birmingham Royal Ballet's artistic team for Ballet Changed My Life - Ballet Hoo!, the education project documented on Channel 4 during September and October 2006, for which she was presented with a special award at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards in 2008.
Here you can see an excerpt of video footage shown during 2010's royal gala in which David discussed Marion's role:
Speaking last year, Marion discussed the approach that she takes to schooling the dancers:
'Years ago, if you made a mistake, you would be shamed into never daring to do anything wrong ever again! But I believe we actually get better performances by taking a more nurturing approach, by being encouraging. All of our dancers want to give the best performance they possibly can, they just sometimes need guidance as to how that should happen.'