The Proud Galleries in Chelsea launch its first ever exhibition dedicated to ballet with Fifty Years of the Royal Ballet, photographs by Colin Jones.
Born in 1936 as the son of an East London printer, Colin Jones spent his youth struggling with dyslexia and illiteracy. He was evacuated three times during the Second World War, and thus attended 13 schools before the age of 16. Eventually, after several years of ballet lessons which he took as he preferred the idea of being a dancer to a road sweeper, Jones won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in 1953, and soon embarked on a career with its touring company.
After buying his first camera on tour in Japan (running an errand for Dame Margot Fonteyn) Jones embarked on a six-month trial with the Observer, and so his photography career began.
Proud Galleries has been granted unique access into Jones’ archive and has uncovered breathtaking prints which showcase life behind the scenes at the Royal Ballet School. Including portraits and action shots of ballet superstars such as Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Ninette de Valois, this exhibition reveals the glamour and elegance of the ballet as well as the gruelling regimes the dancers endured and the behind the scenes shots of rehearsals and dressing rooms.
Proud Galleries from 13th January to 27th February 2011
Photo credit: Colin Jones