Margot Fonteyn - born plain Peggy Hookham - was dreamed into existence by the architects of British ballet: Ninette de Valois, Frederick Ashton and Constant Lambert. Carried to fame on a wave of wartime patriotism, Margot's sense of duty rather than ambition propelled her forward. Yet her gifts were such that her pre-eminence would come to eclipse the careers of subsequent generations.Ballet is a fairytale world; if Margot, like the pure and poetic heroine of Swan Lake, was a natural Odette, she would also have to contend with virtue's raw shadow-side in the guise of Constant Lambert, Roberto Arias and Rudolph Nureyev - the men who, like Von Rothbart, were to take possession of her heart.
Meredith Daneman is a former dancer with both the Royal Ballet, to which she won a scholarship in the late 1950's, and the Australian Ballet Company. She saw Fonteyn dance many times. Meredith Daneman has written two highly-acclaimed novels. She lives in London.