Dr. Marion North CBE, founder of the Marion North Mentoring Scheme and the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund and Principal and Chief Executive of Laban from 1973-2004, passed away on the 3rd May 2012 after a brief spell in hospital.
Her absence will be felt immensely in the dance world both professionally, for all that she achieved for the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund and the dance world, and personally for those who knew and worked with her.
Marion established the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund in 1985 to encourage innovative choreographers in Britain, Europe and America using donations from friends and colleagues on the occasion of Bonnie’s 70th birthday. From its inception, the Fund used the awards to support the development of emerging choreographers, recognising the need for artists at an early stage in their career to have time and resources to develop their own creative practice and artistic research. Over time the range of awards supported by the Fund expanded to incorporate the Chris de Marigny Dance Writers Award and the Marion North Mentoring Award, which the Trustees established in her name when she gifted the fund with an endowment to specifically recognise how younger dance artists can gain from the experience and expertise of established dance artists. The Mentoring Award will continue as part of Marion’s legacy to the dance world.
In recent years the fund expanded its remit to lend its support to symposia on dance writing and creative processes, and to enable initiatives such as Dance UK’s Artistic Directors Dinners, which provided support and networking opportunities for artistic directors of dance companies and choreographers.
Most recently Marion demonstrated her keenness to support the changing needs of choreographers by fully supporting the board’s initiative to change the focus of the award to support giving research and development time to more established choreographers.
One major component in the continuing survival of the fund was how Marion yoked together her passion for the development of new dance talent with her business and financial acumen. A strong presence on the board of trustees, she continually ensured a secure financial base for the fund and an adherence to the principles on which Fund was founded.
The Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund coordinated with Trinity Laban to arrange a celebration of Marion’s life and achievements.