From: Doreen Wells
The theatre was very much in my blood. My grandfather was on the stage and his stage name was Fred Egan: his slogan was, ‘Egan sing, Egan dance, Egan do almost anything Egan'. With that background you can understand that I was always dancing around the house. So my mother took me to the local dance school in Walthamstow.
Once a week a student teacher from the Bush Davies School called Pip Hinton (who later starred in the West End and on television) came to give classes and suggested to my mother that I should go to Bush Davies in Romford, a short coach ride away. So when I was 12 my mother took me to see Miss Davies. My mother was very down-to-earth and asked if I had any real talent. I had, evidently, and was accepted into the school. I loved it the moment I met Miss Davies and did not want to go home but live at the school. So began some of the happiest days of my life. I was totally focused and dedicated. At the beginning of each new term I would be the first student there waiting for the doors to open. At my day school my eyes would always be on the clock waiting for lessons to end so that I could catch the coach and on to my dancing.
When I was 15 I performed in the corps de ballet in the pantomime, Cinderella, and the following year I became principal dancer. At the end of the run I was offered a contract for a summer show. I immediately called Miss Davies for advice – shall I sign? A resounding No was the answer. She said I was going to be a ballerina and travel the world. She was absolutely right!
When I was 17 I was very excited to be sent to the other Bush Davies school in East Grinstead to be coached by Miss Bush for the Adeline Gen é e Gold Medal. Miss Bush choreographed a beautiful solo for me, ‘The Dove', which helped me win the competition. I loved the residential school so much that years later I took my youngest son Reginald to see it. He was keen to join but unfortunately it had closed by the time he was old enough.
In one of my first performances as a swan in Swan Lake when I joined Sadler's Wells Ballet Company, which later became Royal Ballet Company, Margot Fonteyn, who was performing Odette/Odile, came up to me to wish me good luck. Amazingly she later rang Miss Davies to tell her how I was getting on. I thought it was such a wonderful thing to do being such a great and busy ballerina.
I am so grateful to all my teachers at Bush Davies - Joyce Percy, Daphne Peterson, Noreen Bush, and Miss Davies, I bless her for guiding me in the right direction. They were all influential in different ways in my life and career – so much so that it enabled me to go on from ballet to starring in the West End shows, 'On Your Toes', '42nd Street' and 'Charlie Girl'.

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