Celebrating Margot Fonteyn
On what would have been her 100th birthday, we’ve been looking back at Dame Margot Fonteyn’s connection with the Royal Academy of Dance. Here you can see pictures from her life and career (above), read her acceptance speech upon becoming president of the RAD, and take part in a quiz to see how much you really know about her.
Dame Margot Fonteyn’s presidency acceptance speech
The following is the forward of Dance Gazette from November 1954.
“To our very deep regret Dame Adeline Genée has felt that she must retire from the Presidency of the Royal Academy of Dancing to which she has devoted her full attention for very many years. She has proposed me as her successor and I can think of no greater honour, nor of any more overwhelming task than to be called upon to succeed such a very great Founder-President. The standard she has set is one which it will be impossible to equal but from her example I should be able to draw inspiration and encouragement. During the thirty-four years of her leadership the achievements of the Royal Academy of Dancing are tremendously impressive. It is now an Institution which is not only unique in the world of to-day but in the history of the Art of Ballet. The founders of the Association of Operatic Dancing had a practical understanding of the natural dancing talent of children in this country and an appreciation of the desperate need for a system which would ensure them the highest standard of tuition. In asking Dame Adeline to be their President the founders showed great wisdom. Even so, she must have far exceeded their expectation by her long and absolute devotion to the aims of the organisation, by her tireless attention to detail, and the generosity of the spirit which – one great career already achieved – she used all the love and concentration which must have gone to its accomplishment for the benefit of future dancers.
In her retirement we all wish her the greatest happiness and hope that we may be able to contribute to the happening by continuing to expand the great work of her Royal Academy of Dancing. She would, I know, be distressed if I did not pay tribute also to all those who have, with tireless enthusiasm, worked with her giving freely of their time and skill to help young dancers not only in Great Britain but in the Commonwealth and countries overseas. Some of them have perhaps worked so hard and long at this task that they do not even realise how much they have achieved. I come with a fresh eye to the Royal Academy and I cannot adequately express my admiration for all that has been and is being done.
I am deeply aware of the responsibilities before me and I will do my utmost to fulfil the trust which has been placed in me by Dame Adeline Genée, and by all the members of the Royal Academy of Dancing.”
How well do you know Margot Fonteyn?
Take our quiz to find out how much you know about our former President?