Never before seen footage of Margot Fonteyn



The Royal Academy of Dance has discovered some footage of its former President and famed ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn, never before seen, which will be available to view as part of a free to visit display at the V&A to mark the RAD’s centenary. On Point: Royal Academy of Dance at 100 is part of the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Gallery; home to one of the largest dance collections in Europe, this is the first time that RAD has given access to its archives on this scale.

The footage, filmed in 1972 by Margot Fonteyn’s brother Felix, is a demonstration of a ballet syllabus for children, which Dame Margot helped to create with a group of RAD teachers during her time as President of the RAD. In the video, she is shown introducing the demonstration and explaining the principles behind the syllabus. This footage remained hidden in the RAD’s archives until recently. It would have been used as a training tool for RAD teachers across the globe to prepare for teaching the syllabus to their students, but due to financial reasons at the time, the RAD was never able to release the film.

The recording is a rare glimpse into Fonteyn’s work behind the scenes, helping RAD to inspire the world to dance, and supporting young children taking their first steps into the dance studio. It is a testament to the legacy Fonteyn left during her time as the RAD’s longest serving President, holding the role from 1954 until her death in 1991. She was succeeded by Dame Antoinette Sibley and now, Dame Darcey Bussell, who is the RAD’s current President.

Established in 1920 to improve standards and re-invigorate dance training, the RAD helps and encourages its teachers to perfect their teaching skills and pass on this knowledge to their students.

Image credit: Felix Fonteyn