Early Days, Early Dancers documents the first decade of the National Ballet, focusing on the dancers of the 1950s, especially principal dancers Lois Smith, David Adams, Angela Leigh, Donald Mahler, and Celia Franca, herself a dancer and later the Company's Artistic Director. With an enthusiastic foreword by Karen Kain, and a moving afterword by Veronica Tennant, the book includes pieces by twenty-two dancers, plus memorial tributes to dancers who have passed away. Contributions explore the dancer's journey through St. Lawrence Hall, summer school, rehearsal, and life on tour, as well as life after a career in dance. Portraits includes comments by the dancers on such figures as Celia Franca, Betty Oliphant, and Kay Ambrose among others, and memorial tributes to those dance figures who have died are written by well-known writers contemporaries such as Michael Crabbe, John Fraser, Vanessa Harwood, and Veronica Tennant. These memories of the Company's early dancers provide a unique impression of the origins of the National Ballet, and the history of dance in Canada, and highlight the way the present dances on the shoulders of those who have gone before.
About the author
Jocelyn Terell Allen became a dancer with the National Ballet Company in 1956 at the age of sixteen. She danced for the first time, as a member of the corps de ballet, in the Carter-Baron Amphitheatre in Washington, DC., studied dance in New York and London as a member of the Company, and became a principal dancer in the fall of 1963. She danced for half her life and then a series of injuries forced her to have to adjust to life without dance. She enrolled in York University as a "mature" student and subsequently completed a Master's degree in English at the University of Toronto. In later years, she was privileged to sit on the boards of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, or DTRC, and Peggy Baker Dance Projects. She married Peter Allen, had three sons and now has six grandchildren. She continues to enjoy attending ballet, theatre and the arts, and she loves to write.