I remember when – International stage for classical ballerina

I remember when - international stage for classical ballerina

I remember when…

Being captivated by dance created an incredible opportunity for a young New Zealand woman that few could have imagined possible in post-war New Zealand. When Margaret, who now lives at The Manor by Ambridge Rose, was 10 years old she discovered classical ballet and became enthralled in the demanding discipline.

“I lived in Hamilton and completed all the Royal Academy of Dance exams. No one in my family had a background in ballet but somehow, I became dedicated to it,” says Margaret.

Girl dancing
Margaret captured dancing, aged 12 years.

Her father recognised Margaret’s love of dance and built a massive dance studio for her – the width of their Hamilton home. Margaret completed all her exams, progressed to teaching ballet, and her remarkable talent led to her being accepted into the Royal Ballet in London following WWII. Dance consumed her and she enjoyed training non-stop to meet the high level of perfectionism required to succeed in classical ballet. It was all she did, day and night.

“It was a pleasure. When you love something, you don’t care about the hard work,” she says.

Living in London enabled Margaret to meet international stars and dance for impressive audiences, including Royal Command Performances. Also, she was ballet mistress at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London.

However, her father had other ideas. Margaret had been away for seven years and during the 50s he went to London on a mission to bring her home. He may have been worried she would never return to New Zealand, and he brought her back to Hamilton where Margaret married and started a family.

The passion for dancing never left Margaret and she would even have fun performing for her children, even still doing the splits in her 80s. Her children didn’t dance but a granddaughter did win a highly coveted place at the New Zealand School of Dance when she was only 16 and she said she was greatly influenced by her grandmother.