E-mail from: Philip Pegler received 11 October 2009 firstname.lastname@example.org
Having recently returned to England following fifteen years in the United States of America, I have had now the chance to re-visit some distant memories and reacquaint myself with people that I have not seen for many, many years. It was a great joy for me to find the Bush-Davies website, for as John said, the Internet and home-computers were very much in their infancy back in 1989. What all of us would have perhaps thought of as impossible twenty years ago, has now become routine; sometimes I wonder how we all did it - communicated, that is.
On a recent outing to Sussex, my wife and I drove out towards Lingfield, and on through Felcourt towards East Grinstead. Over a small rise and then down past a golf course was the back gate that granted entrance to the Adeline Genee Theatre. That was all it took really; a quick glance through the gate and there I stood, in my burgundy unitard, in the warm July sunshine, waiting with my year group to go in through the foyer and up the right-hand stairwell to take part in Le Grand Defile. With John's splendidly powerful score, it is a privileged experience that only the Bush-Davies students can talk about - the very thought of it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and it all comes rushing back to me.
Another part of this day out brought Kelly and I to Hartfield, home of A.A. Milne and the once young, Christopher Robin. It was there in the late stages of the Summer Term in 1989, that dear Colin Prime took about nine of us to "The Enchanted Place" on the high point of the Ashdown Forest. The previous week, Colin had carefully chosen that beautiful passage from the end of Milne's book, "The House at Pooh Corner" for School Assembly, where Christopher Robin is growing up, and perhaps leaving for school. "And by and by they came to an enchanted place", etc. Colin's kindness, and very humaneness as Headmaster has remained with me for over twenty years and his strong personality and discipline as a man set a tremendous example for all the young students of the School.
The Bush-Davies Schools remain as revered and as respected as ever before. Perhaps now more than in the past, the quality and sheer impact that the Schools had, on not only its employees and students, but the entire international dance industry as a whole is felt increasingly. Bush-Davies had the rare quality of being "all things to everyone", and this rare quality ensured that the Schools truly catered to each individual, taking into account the talents and abilities of every student, and guiding them accordingly.
I was a most fortunate child. My parents are both theatrical professionals, and my late father a revered New York fashion photographer of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. I was brought up in dance, and although for many years it was not my true passion, my upbringing enabled me to appreciate so much more. A dear friend of mine in America, Peggie Wallis who is now in her late eighties, was a Bush-Davies student in Romford before World War II, and her memories of her time at the School are as vivid as ever. Generation after generation has been deeply impacted by the marvellous Schools that Noreen Bush and Marjorie Davies founded and many of today's dancers are beneficiaries of the School's rich tapestry.
I would like to close by saying that the Bush-Davies School at Charters Towers is in my bone marrow. It was a fabulous, fabulous school and the career that I have been privileged to enjoy is a direct result of the work and dedication of the academic, dance and pastoral staff there. It is because of them that I have a fruitful and rewarding teaching career today
At my audition in November 1985, Joyce Percy offered me a place in Year 7. It was given to me with the understanding that I was to work hard, give of my best and promise to be a good chap. You see, in spite of the global communication that we all enjoy today, the dance world remains a relatively small and intimate community. When I was a little boy, I had a reputation for being rather naughty - perhaps mischievous is a better word. My poor mother had to sit and hear that I had a reputation preceding me at the age of twelve.
I would like to express my profound gratitude to the memory of Joyce Percy, and to Daphne Peterson, John Harrison and Paul Kimm for their dedication and commitment to the School. Also to Colin and Patricia Prime; Sven Bradshaw, Peter Clegg and Alex Morrow, together with Heather Rees, Kay Shepherd, John Raven and Suzanne Hobbs. These outstanding individuals, together with many others before them, are the very reason that the Bush-Davies Schools survive today.
Click here to see a photograph of Philip and his wife today.
Philip E. Pegler Dip. RBS (TTC), ARAD, AISTD, AIDTA
Vocational Grades Examiner, Royal Academy of Dance
Bush-Davies School, 1986-1989
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