Irish-born British dancer Dame Ninette de Valois, founder and director of the Royal Ballet, known as the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, gave the 15th Helen Kenyon Lecture on "History of the Royal Ballet." Dame Ninette explained the British perference of classical ballet over modern dance, reported B. J. Lockhart '58 in The Miscellany News, was "that the English have always had so much ballet. Not only within the country but from the Continent as well."

"When asked about experimentalism in ballet, Dame Ninette said that it could come only if a dancer has a strong background of classical discipline.... 'The freedom you get from a discipline is the only freedom that matters...[classical discipline] is the longest approach, but in the end it's the freest.'"