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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: Margot Fonteyn Biography?

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Guest kristinene

I'm currently reading this new biography of Margot Fonteyn. It certainly shed new light on the story which I read in her autobiography! I'm only about half way through at the moment (the Sadler Well's has just arrived in the US for ther second 'whistle-stop' tour) and I'm enjoying every line.


The only drawback is that I am now more aware than ever of being too young to have seen Dame Fonteyn perform! She is wonderful to watch on video/DVD, but I know that movies cannot be compared to live performance.


Is anyone else enjoying the biography?

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  • 5 months later...
Guest Bryan Lawrence

Read 'Margot Fonteyn' by Meredith Daneman. Extremely informative, very personal and will amaze most readers. I couldn't put it down. I felt truly honoured to have danced with her.

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Read it this past spring, mostly while I was in the throes of the flu, so I've got strangely feverish memories of large chunks of it. But it was a fascinating if long read. I also followed it up by going out and renting videos of some of her performances. The freshness of reading the stories behnd the performances made it much easier to get beyond the "old-fashioned production value" of the old films, and to actually see what it was that made her dancing so unique.

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  • 1 month later...

Has any one read the autobiography?


I was very inspired and refreshed, reading this book. Just wondered if anyone had read the autobiography and what they thought?

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I am working on Fonteyn's autobiography right now (it's slow going only becasue it is my "before bed" book). I am continuously amazed at how many things she experienced in her life. She seems to have lived five lives instead of only one! :blink:

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I know, it a real eye opener :rolleyes:


Can you imagine?

Where did she get that drive and motivation - i would love to know her secret.

Its as though she was superhuman, i was upset when i got to the last chapter, to hear what she went through and how she died.

What also amazed me was how Anna Pavlova turned down the operation because she didnt want to stop dancing - then days after died at only 49?


So sad :blink:

It took me just under two weeks to read although i couldnt put it down and read it constantly!!


Let me know what you think of it and anything intresting to note :shrug:

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plain-dancer, which book are you starting - biography or the autobiography?

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I'm reading the biography and really enjoying it.

I was especially amused at the story about how Margot fell flat on her face along with all of the other dancers in Washington, DC during a performance for President Truman.

I also found it interesting how the war had an affect on her dancing career.

Just about half way through so seeing the notoriety that happened when she performed in the US.

Also chuckled when she was so excited to meet Kathyrn Hepburn and turned into a blushing school girl only to find Kathyrn equally excited to meet her.

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Yeah, i found the part where Margot met Kathryn amusing, isnt their modesty refreshing - it would be very hard to find prima ballerinas or movie stars with that attitude these days!!


What was also refreshing was when Margot fell (i think it did happen a couple of times - although a couple of times in how long....?!) was how they just laughed it off and kept on going, shows how things sometimes go wrong even to legends like Margot. ( Also when the curtain came down before the end of show :P )


All the way through, from the start i felt as though i had known this woman or had grown up with her and was very moved and inspired by the book and Margots plight.


Just shows how a war can affect people, living day to day and really appreciating all the small things in life. I think it must of been good to have something to focus on through the hard times. I also thought how brave and unselfish all the dancers were, the show went on and they travelled all over the world - they were unstoppable :grinning:

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  • 2 months later...
Guest sally-mandy

I'm reading the autobio of Margot this month. Yes, very enjoyable and refreshing; she seems like someone you'd actually want to meet.


I like how often she used to wonder if she could do the steps. Even when she was in the top of her form, she had self doubts.


Have also read a bio of Rudolph Nureyev and I think maybe she didn't tell all about her love life.

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Which of the biographies are you reading? Danneman? (sp?)


There was a lot of controversy here in England about the nature of biographies and autobiographies when this came out. Some things might be hinted but it's also hard to verify 'did this happen or not'? Her private life woud fall into that category.


I doubt that any of us, should we ever have biographies written of ourselves, would want every single detail included.

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Guest sally-mandy

As soon as I posted yesterday I realized that I would not tell every detail in an autobiography either. I loved her book. I read the autobiography. Have not read a biography. I guess I was just responding to something I read last week that suggested (well, actually stated it as fact, but I forget the source) that she had an affair with Frederick Ashton, and there's not much hint of that in her autobio. But probably in her lifetime, it just wasn't something you talked about.


And in a way, I respect that she she didn't tell all about her private life. You could argue that there's too much of that everywhere we look (especially in this country). She comes across as classy and gracious, but with that wonderful sense of humor and not taking herself too seriously.


Maybe I shouldn't be so curious...she and Nureyev were just such fascinating people, both.

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One of the things i loved most about the autobiography was that it left alot untold. You get the impression that Margot was quite a private person, i suppose its quite captivating and the whole mystery of certain subjects added to the enjoyment of the book - well for me anyway :thumbsup:


The book really inspired me, i love reading about other peoples lifes, guess that makes me quite nosy!!! :shrug:


What particularly inspired me was Margots love of ballet and self discipline. When ever i feel tired or cold or a bit unwell i think of her story, it spurs me on to be better and always try harder.


Margot is definately one of the people top of my list to meet - if only :)

along with Will Smith and Waris Dirie - not sure if i have spelt her name correctly :blushing:

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