From the LinkedIn group “Teachers of Classical Ballet” I learned that Ken Ludden had published a personal memoir and biography of Margot Fonteyn. I emailed Ken to ask if he would consider allowing me to interview him about his book, and he kindly accepted! (The interview will be posted next week.) I bought the book and it took about three or four weeks for me to read it, but that’s only because I didn’t have the luxury of foregoing all my daily duties (but I would have liked that!). I didn’t realize what a close relationship Ken had with Margot as one of her most trusted friends. If you want to get a close up look at this remarkable woman, this is the book to read.
I’ve posted a review of this book on Amazon. His book is available on Amazon using this link: http://amazon.com/My-Margot-Ken-Ludden/dp/1312075228/. It is also available in paperback!
Ken Ludden’s beautifully written memoir and biography of Margot Fonteyn offers the reader a glimpse into the life of one who was under the sheltering wing of one of the world’s most renowned and loved ballerinas. A touching tribute. No closer look into her life and character can be found. This book is not only fascinating but superbly written. Ken’s recollection of events and conversations is uncanny, and he writes in such a way that I could visualize the scenes as his stories unfolded.
Not only does he offer a peek into Margot Fonteyn’s world; he also shares a lot about Rudolph Nureyev—his childhood, defection, and his demeanor (which I was sad to hear was often quite rude). Throughout the book he mentions his interactions with many other famous dancers and teachers and schools, and I found every bit of it very interesting. His own life’s work would be enough to fill a book, but he expertly weaves the story so it always relates back to Margot.
Ken’s intrinsic goodness and humility are endearing. He shares a conversation with Tito, (Margot’s husband) where he reflects, “My basic view of my life is that it should be of service to others, and the idea that it was to make an impact on the world was very foreign to me. I still believe that being of service to the needs of others is the highest esteem, but I also see that carrying forward the legacy of Fonteyn is a higher service than nearly anything else I could do, and it does impact the world.”
I highly recommend this book, and I know that Margot herself would be quite pleased with it!