American sculptor Richard Macdonald and his wife, Julia, established a new scholarship fund at the Royal Ballet School to assist young dancers in reaching their potential in classical ballet. Brooke Ray from New Zealand and David Donnelly from America were selected by the School as the scholarship’s first two recipients.
The two promising dancers were invited to a dinner in December at Buckingham Palace hosted by Prince Charles, Patron of the Royal Ballet, where they met MacDonald and his wife.
The new fund was inspired by MacDonald’s time at White Lodge, where the School is based. In 2009, the sculptor was selected to create a celebratory monument as a tribute to the School’s founder, Dame Ninette De Valois. The work, which is expected to be unveiled later this year, gave MacDonald access to the grounds of White Lodge where he studied and sculpted dancers.
The Royal Ballet School was established in 1931 and is one of the most respected ballet academies in the world. Some of the School’s most acclaimed alumni include Dame Margot Fonteyn, Darcey Bussell, and Alessandra Ferri. The Royal Ballet’s current Artistic Director, Monica Mason, a former ballerina with the Royal Ballet, also trained at the School.