Founded 80 years ago, the Dance Professionals Fund has always supported those in the dance world.
In 1936, what was then known as the Vic Wells Ballet Fund (later to be called the Sadler's Wells Benevolent Fund) was established to help the struggling company at the Sadler's Wells Theatre surmount its financial difficulties. The key players in the formation of this Fund were Dame Ninette de Valois, Arnold Haskell and Sir Donald Albery. The first recorded minutes are from a meeting of the Executive Committee, held on January 24th 1938. At this time, the Fund was more concerned with making sure that the ballets which were being created had adequate funding.
In 1942, the Sadler's Wells Benevolent Fund, as it was then known, gave grants to dancers serving overseas in the war, and in 1943 the first welfare grant to a Sadler's Wells dancer was given, following a knee injury, so the dancer could be financially supported while they were unable to work.
Following the start of Arts Council funding in 1945, there was no longer the need to support the company's artistic programme and it is at this point that the present charitable aims really began.
After the Sadler's Wells Ballet became The Royal Ballet in 1956, the Fund changed its name accordingly and the Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund was registered with the Charity Commission in 1966. Over the years, the RBBF had intended and been able to reach out to more and more dancers, extending far beyond the original grants made only to members of The Royal Ballet.
On the 27th November 1984, an application to the Charity Commission was made for the amalgamation of RBBF with the London Festival Ballet Benevolent Fund. This was formally confirmed on the 25th January 1985 and the two charities merged.
On 1st January 2016, a merger took place between the Royal Ballet Benevolent fund and the Dance Teachers Benevolent Fund. The charity now has the working name of Dance Professionals Fund, to more appropriately convey the very wide range of dancers and dance teachers that it now supports.