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1945-1969 page 11

Occasionally Doreen appeared with the main company, but her core activity for fourteen years was with the Royal Ballet Touring Company. As prima ballerina she enjoyed performing all the major classical roles and being able to show these to enthralled audiences throughout the country, and abroad, something she could not have done in London alone, where Margot Fonteyn reigned supreme. She was partnered by most of the leading dancers of their generation: including Christopher Gable, David Wall and Rudolph Nureyev.

This author's first meeting with Doreen was in 1974 (he thinks) when she had been invited Doreen Wellsto perform in a fund-raising variety show at the Genée Theatre. She arrived late by taxi (she didn't travel with an entourage in those days) and was somewhat anxious. She was directed immediately to me and said, looking at me with those entreatingly desirable eyes, "I've forgotten to bring my music!" A heart-stopping moment. "Do you happen to have a recording of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet - or can you get hold of one?" she asked. It was only five hours to curtain-up. Luckily I had one version which I had bought in Moscow: a Russian orchestra giving a bravura concert performance but not a necessarily sympathetic one to a dancer. A recording was quickly made of the required variation which concludes with a series of increasingly fast posé turns around the stage. Doreen tested it in a studio. "Oh no, John, I can't, it's too fast. Can you get another recording or slow it down?" "No." and "No." I replied. "Leave it with me, I shall have to make some changes," she said finally. Rehearsals were interrupted on stage while Doreen tried her revisions.Doreen with David Wall "I think that will just about do," she said, "I hope no-one will notice and thankfully Kenneth (MacMillan) won't be watching!" Over a cup of tea she then sat quite unconcerned, talking enthusiastically about her latest find, Tai Chi. A couple of hours later she delivered a typically show-stopping performance with much relief all round. For me, it was a memorable introduction to one of our most endearing and loved ballerinas; I then understood how John Field had come to call her, 'Dolly Daydream'.


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