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A Dancer in Wartime: One girl's journey from the Blitz to Sadler's Wells

Gillian Lynne

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Published by Chatto & Windus, part of Vintage Publishing

Format: Hardback


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EAN: 9780701185992
Published: 3 Nov 2011


About the book


Gillian Lynne is one of the world's pre-eminent choreographers, the groundbreaking creative force behind blockbusters such as Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. But she started her career as a ballerina, and learnt to dance alongside Margot Fonteyn, Moira Shearer, Beryl Grey and Frederick Ashton during the Second World War.

A Dancer in Wartime tells the story of Gillian's extraordinary childhood. From Miss Madeleine Sharp's Ballet Class for Young Ladies in Bromley, to being evacuated with her theatre school to rural Leicestershire; from performing in the West End with doodlebugs falling to touring a devastated Europe, the early years were hard, exciting and dramatic. And when the call came to join Sadler's Wells - well, what ballerina hopeful could have asked for more?

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What the critics say

An extraordinary tale
- Daily Telegraph

Dance historians will be as charmed by this sidelight on dance as ambitious girls will be inspired by Lynne's description of the dancer's life
- The Times

A beautiful tale of a young woman's talent, determination - and star quality
- Daily Mail

Wonderfully nostalgic and magical
- Easy Living

Gillian's journey through dance is a story of passion and devotion that should be read by everyone, not just dance lovers.
- Arlene Phillips

A captivating story beautifully told ... and what an inspiration for anyone who dreams of a life on the stage.
- Cat Deeley

I loved this book ... her energy, enthusiasm and passion are present in every line, and her commitment to the theatre and her determination to excel make for a fascinating and thoroughly absorbing read.
- Dame Monica Mason, Director of the Royal Ballet

This is a remarkable book which I read overnight. It's gripping, touching, eye-opening and pitch perfect about a period of time almost lost from view. Gillian Lynne's tenacity's palpable from the outset. Definitely one to savour and treasure.
- Gloria Hunniford

An intriguing and moving account of a young girl's balletic ambitions during wartime. Wonderfully readable, spirited and honest.
- Sir Derek Jacobi

A charming and moving portrait of a wartime childhood and an extraordinary account of what it takes to make it on stage ... I couldn't put it down.
- Elaine Paige

Gillian Lynne has seen it all and her accomplishments are legendary. In A Dancer in Wartime she shares her early life and tells of her burgeoning career as a dancer. Elegantly written, warm and wide-eyed. A lovely book.
- Hal Prince, legendary Broadway producer and director

Sincere and unpretentious...She paints [...] a picture of austerity Britain in which ballet was a supremely glamorous career path.
- Literary Review

From the Blitz to Sadler's Wells, this is a charming portrait of passion and dedication, set against the difficulties of war
- Woman&Home

In A Dancer in Wartime, Gillian Lynne canters through her amazing experiences like the thoroughbred she is
- Ian McKellen

About the Author

Gillian Lynne is a British ballerina, dancer, actor, theatre director, television director and choreographer, best known for her iconic choreography of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. She was born in Bromley, Kent, in 1926. At the age of ten she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dancing, after which she joined the Cone Ripman School before being selected to join Molly Lake's Ballet Guild and Ninette de Valois's Sadler's Wells. As part of what would soon become the Royal Ballet, she was renowned for her portrayal of the Black Queen in de Valois's Checkmate, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle and in roles created for her by Frederick Ashton and Robert Helpmann. Her film, television and stage credits include many long-running West End and Broadway shows, productions for the RSC and English National Opera and The Muppets. She continues to produce television, film and stage productions and lives in London.

Gillian Lynne

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