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Margot Fonteyn

  • I think perhaps I've learned to be myself. I have a theory that all artists who would be important — painters and writers — must learn to be themselves. It takes a very long time.

    • Margot Fonteyn,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • ... when I left the stage door and sought my orientation among real people I was in a wilderness of unpredictables in an unchoreographed world.

  • The one important thing I have learnt over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking oneself seriously. The first is imperative and the second disastrous.

  • Traveling carries with it the curse of being at home everywhere and yet nowhere, for wherever one is some part of oneself remains on another continent.

  • Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.

  • ... the first night is the worst possible time to make a hard and fast criticism: the baby never looks its best on the day it is born.

  • If I have learnt anything it is that life forms no logical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?

  • The world of dance is a natural world from which civilization has divorced many of us by making it appear remote — something reserved for the few who have a special talent.

  • ... generally speaking, we are all happier when we are still striving for achievement than when the prize is in our hands.

  • 'Jumping for joy' is a very basic human reaction, and a child skipping down the street is simply an untrained dancer.

  • Ballet is more than a profession — it is a way of life.

  • Dancers are both athletes and artists ...

  • There is no way anything of value can be done without some framework. It might well be that the framework is discarded or the rules opposed; that is not important. What is essential is that they exist so that one knows when one is in opposition to them.

  • I have never wanted to live to be old, so old I'd run out of friends or money.

    • Margot Fonteyn,
    • in Parade ()
  • The essential thing about mothers — one needs to know that they are there, particularly at that age when, paradoxically, one is trying so hard to break away from parental influence.

    • Margot Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn, English prima ballerina

(1919 - 1991)

Real name: Margaret (Peggy) Hookham.