The great English prima ballerina (and the Marchioness of Londonderry), Doreen Wells has done me a great honour in providing a forward for the Ella Bella books. I am enormously grateful to her for her generous words. I have often seen her portrait in books about ballet and knew a little about her spectacular career and it's wonderful that she remains involved, through the London Children's Ballet. But I never expected that our paths would cross in such a way - I feel very honoured!
Here's a lovely picture of her, on stage with Rudolph Nureyev, no less, accepting a large and well earned bouquet! And now here's what she has to say about Ella Bella:
“Swan Lake is hundreds of years old and Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty go back to ancient times – to the magic of China and the very oldest Greek stories. This is the magic that I was part of, with The Royal Ballet.
Night after night I was transformed in my dressing room from an ordinary person into a princess who would experience good and evil.
My world on stage inside the magic of these wonderful stories was not too different from the world of Ella Bella ballerina you can read about here.
James Mayhew, through the eyes of a child, reveals the exciting sense of possibility that children see and understand - and sadly grown-ups lose.
Using Madame Rosa, the head of the ballet school he creates a new fantasy world using these classic tales.
I had my own version of Madame Rosa. She was called Miss Marjorie Davies.
When I was 15 I performed in the corps de ballet in the pantomime, Cinderella, and the following year I became principal dancer. At the end of the run I was offered a contract for a summer show. I immediately called Miss Davies for advice – shall I sign? A resounding “No!” was the answer. She said I was going to be a ballerina and travel the world. She was absolutely right!
I have three grand children who call me ‘Dancing Lala’ and they were enchanted with the books. I had to read them to them over and over again. – sometimes at the crack of dawn.
These books can inspire all those children who dream of entering this world. This book certainly takes them into a magical realm. And who knows, like me, they might stay in there for years.”