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RepositoryNational Resource Centre for Dance Archive
Ref NoBB
TitleBice Bellairs Collection of Revived Greek Dance
DescriptionBeautifully crafted scrapbooks (1896-1954) containing material covering not only Ruby Ginner and Irene Mawers' careers but also the performances of the Ginner-Mawer Company and the career of Alexander Dyer, Ginner's husband. Some of the scrapbooks also relate to Ginner's friend, the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova; over 100 photographs of Ginner and students, including an album documenting the Ginner-Mawer's trip to Greece in 1930; also two signed photographs of Pavlova, one dedicated to Ginner; programmes of performances in and around London (1924-1937), books; manuscripts, and many annotated music scores.

A later deposit of 70 issues of the Greek Dance journal have been added to this collection (from ACC649). A later deposit of a folder of 'research material' has also been added as it once belonged to Bice Bellairs (ACC641).

There are paper and electronic versions of an index to relevant Dancing Times articles available at the National Resource Centre for Dance.
Admin_HistoryBice (Beatrice) Bellairs was a student of Ruby Ginner (see below) in the 1920s and 30s, her name appears on several of the theatre programmes in the collection when she performed as a child dancer. In 1935 she set up her own school in London with a fellow student Pauline Grant - the Grant Bellairs School of Dance and Drama. This relocated to Guildford where Bice remained until she retired in 1986. Some of the material in the collection (such as books and music scores) has the Bellairs stamp on, suggesting it came from her school. Bellairs remained a close friend of Ginner's and, as such, much of the material such as scrapbooks was passed directly to Bice from Ruby Ginner.

Ruby Ginner was born in Cannes and moved to England when she was eleven. She studied ballet whilst also playing many juvenile dramatic roles under the direction of Elsie Fogerty and Frank Benson. Working with Fogerty on Greek choruses she began research at the British Museum to learn about ancient Greek dance and movement. After founding the company Grecian Dancers, who performed in London, she established the Ruby Ginner School of Dance where she was later joined by the mime artist, Irene Mawer. The school was renamed the Ginner-Mawer School of Dance and Drama. Ginner also founded the Association of Teachers of the Revived Greek Dance (ATRGD) which later became the Greek Dance Association and was affiliated to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Greek Dance Branch. During the late 1920s-early 1930s, Ginner choreographed performances for the Greek Festival of Drama, Folk Song and Dance in Athens and outdoor performances in Hyde Park and Regents Park, London. In 1936, with the ATRGD, Ginner also presented a Greek Dance Festival (featuring 400 performers) at the Royal Albert Hall.

Ruby Ginner’s Revived Greek Dance (subsequently, Classical Greek Dance) drew on athletics, drama and dance with an allegiance to ancient Greek ideals. The movements arranged by Ginner originated from her artefact based study of dancing figures from the ancient Greek arts. The method explores various styles: lyrical, athletic, bacchic, pyrrhic, tragic and choric. The use of props such as spears, swords and shields, cymbals, tambors and thyrsi was common to several of these styles. There is attention to opposition and symmetry and angular designs which are layered onto steps such as walks, skips and runs. The athletic work came from the athletics in Greek art and echoed its archery positions and javelin hurls. Dramatic expression and its emotional resonances were also features of this form. Ginner was awarded the Gold Leaf commemorative medal and a diploma by the Hellenic Red Cross for services to Greece in the Second World War. She was also awarded an MBE in 1968 and was still working at the age of 80.
Custodial_HistoryMaterials passed from Ruby Ginner directly to Bice Bellairs; then passed to Guildford School of Acting following Miss Bellair's death in 1991; donated to NRCD from Guildford School of Acting in 1997.
Related MaterialThe Classical Greek Dance Collection (CGD) contains material donated by other students of Ruby Ginner and Revived/Classical Greek Dance.
Extent6 linear metres
CodePerson NameDates
DS/UK/11114Bellairs; Beatrice (1910-1991)1910-1991
DS/UK/P1294Ginner; Ruby Mary Adeline (1886-1978); dance practitioner1886-1978
DS/UK/P1515Mawer; Irene (1893-1962); Mime1893-1962
DS/UK/11112Ginner-Mawer School of Dance and Drama; c.1914-1954c.1914-1954
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