In 1931, Ninette de Valois started a ballet company with just six dancers. Within twenty years, The Royal Ballet - as it became - was established as one of the world's great companies. It has produced celebrated dancers, from Margot Fonteyn to Darcey Bussell, and one of the richest repertoires in ballet.
The company danced through the Blitz, won an international reputation in a single New York performance and added to the glamour of London's Swinging Sixties. It has established a distinctive English school of ballet, a pure classical style that could do justice to the 19th-century repertory and to new British classics.
Leading dance critic, Zoë Anderson, vividly portrays the extraordinary personalities who created the company and the dancers who made such an impact on their audiences. She looks at the bad times as well as the good, examining the controversial directorships of Norman Morrice and Ross Stretton and the criticism fired at the company as the Royal Opera House closed for redevelopment.