> Skip to content

A unique memoir about ballet, the second world war and a peerless group of dancers; an irresistible read for all ballet lovers

Gillian Lynne is one of the world's pre-eminent choreographers, the groundbreaking creative force behind blockbusters such as Cats and Phantom of the Opera. But she started her career as a ballerina, learning to dance alongside Margot Fonteyn during the Second World War. A Dancer in Wartime tells the story of Gillian's extraordinary childhood. From Miss Madeleine Sharp's Ballet Class for Young Ladies in Bromley to being evacuated with her theatre school to a crumbling pile in rural Leicestershire, where dance classes took place in the faded ballroom and along the overgrown terrace, Gillian's talent and dedication shone. Whether performing in the West End with doodlebugs falling, or touring a devastated Europe to entertain the troops, the early years were hard, exciting and dramatic. And when the call came to join Sadler's Wells – well, what ballerina hopeful could have asked for more?


Gillian's journey through dance is a story of passion and devotion that should be read by everyone, not just dance lovers

Arlene Phillips

A charming and moving portrait of a wartime childhood and an extraordinary account of what it takes to make it on stage ... I couldn't put it down

Elaine Paige

An intriguing and moving account of a young girl's balletic ambitions during wartime. Wonderfully readable, spirited and honest

Derek Jacobi

An extraordinary tale

Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph

In A Dancer in Wartime, Gillian Lynne canters through her amazing experiences like the thoroughbred she is

Sir Ian McKellen

A captivating story beautifully told ... and what an inspiration for anyone who dreams of a life on the stage

Cat Deeley

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    January 16, 2013


    304 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    November 8, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks