The Christelle Cleaver Collection

Scope and Content

This collection of personal papers consists of correspondence and papers associated with Christelle Cleaver’s ballet training, and her tours in England and Germany as a member of the Lydia Kyasht Russian Ballet for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) during WWII. Materials include:

Two copies of Program - For the Military Man’s Entertainment the English edition of L'eventail, the daily official program [sic] of the Royal Opera Theatre La Monnaie, 04 November 1945. The programme included Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and The Spectre of the Rose (as written in the programme, originally Le Spectre de la Rose); it also contains an extensive review of Robert Helpmann’s ballet Miracle in the Gorbals, written by Joan Littlewood.

Head shots of Cleaver wearing ENSA uniform. Her certificates of training by The St. John Ambulance Association, the British Red Cross, April 1942 - December 1943; also her certificate of the Royal Academy of Dancing, 18 September 1944.

Several very long and detailed original letters and typed transcriptions from Cleaver to her family, sent from various locations in England, Ireland, Belgium and Germany, while on an ENSA tour with the Lydia Kyasht Russian Ballet; dated between August 1943 in Bristol, England, and 7 January 1946, sent from Bad Lippspringe, Germany.

Photographs of prominent dancers including several of English ballerina Phyllis Bedells, who was Cleaver’s teacher, and of Cleaver in various roles with the Lydia Kyasht Ballet Company.

Access Information

This collection is open for consultation and can be viewed by appointment only. Please contact White Lodge Museum via our website at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge Museum

Acquisition Information

Gift of Betty Anderson through Tony Poucher, August 2010

Custodial History

This collection was presented to The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge Museum by Bette Anderson through [Anthony] Tony Poucher. It followed an earlier donation given through the same channel (April, 2010) of an annotated photographic album compiled by Cleaver, featuring the repertoire and dancers of the Lydia Kyasht Russian Ballet during the Second World World War (catalogued with reference RBS/PHO/34), of which Christelle Cleaver was a member. Ms Anderson, who had known Christelle Cleaver since the war, passed away in Warminster on 3 September 2010.