Jean Bedells FRAD ARAD
Born in Bristol in 1924, Jean Bedells was the daughter of Phyllis Bedells, who was known as Britain’s first Prima Ballerina and a founding member of the RAD.
For eight years she was trained by her mother, during which time she passed all the Academy’s Major Examinations, gaining honours at Advanced and was also awarded the Solo Seal. Miss Bedells gained a scholarship to the Vic-Wells Ballet School (now The Royal Ballet School) in 1936, and made her debut with the Vic-Wells Ballet as Clara in Casse Noisette in 1937. She joined Sadler’s Wells Ballet, becoming a soloist and eventually ballet mistress.
Following her marriage in 1947, she left Sadler’s Wells Ballet to travel the world with her husband and two children – her daughter was to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
Miss Bedells was appointed a Major Examiner of the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1965 after a period of teaching at the Phyllis Bedells School in London. When the school closed, she went on to teach at The Royal Ballet School and was responsible for the Academy’s work there for 18 years.
After leaving The Royal Ballet School, Miss Bedells worked almost entirely for the RAD, examining, coaching and conducting courses in the RAD syllabus worldwide.
Renowned for her astonishing memory, in 1971 Miss Bedells revived de Valois’ ballet Job for Sadler’s Wells Ballet, and again in 1993 for Birmingham Royal Ballet. In 1972, she revived de Valois’ The Gods Go A-Begging for The Royal Ballet School and later London City Ballet.
During her long career, Miss Bedells also revived Ashton’s Apparitions for London Festival Ballet (1987), the opening scene of de Valois’ The Haunted Ballroom for the centenary birthday gala of Dame Ninette de Valois at the Barbican (1998), de Valois’ The Prospect Before Us for Birmingham Royal Ballet (1999) and Ashtons’ Dante Sonata for Birmingham Royal Ballet (2000).
Photo:Jean Bedells at the Phyllis Bedells Bursary 2010. Mark Lees