Dance Suite was a commission for the Royal Ballet School’s end of year performance in July 1962. Ten of the graduating students were joining the Royal Ballet and the various reviews singled out two dancers who would feature significantly in Kenneth MacMillan’s ballets in the years to follow.
The Guardian’s (un-named) critic wrote: “Kenneth MacMillan’s dance suite to the music of Darius Milhaud was very apposite in its bouncy gaiety. It gave something to many dancers and most to Vergie Derman, a tall blonde South African, who promises to be an athletic virtuoso rather in the Balanchine manner.”
The Times thought that the “folk-dance flavoured choreography would have daunted all but the stoutest hearts among professional dancers” and singled out Derman along with “Mr Richard Cragun, a young man of considerable promise whose American nationality makes him unfortunately ineligible for our national ballet.”