Felicity White, 76, from Eyam, was one of the first students to study at the Royal Ballet School’s White Lodge in 1955.
Her diary – written as a 13-year-old – captures the three years of her time as one of only 45 students from across the nation to be admitted to the school, which caters for ballet students aged 11 to 16.
Taught by some of the most famous names in the industry, Felicity was at the school when HRH Princess Anne paid a visit as well as meeting greats such as Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Felicity said: “My time at White Lodge was magical. I always loved ballet and to have this opportunity at such an early age was incredible. My diary has been with me ever since.
“It’s hand written in fountain pen and contains many pictures and articles cut out of the newspapers and magazines at the time. I made a record of everything, not realising then the interest and joy it would bring to so many now.”
Felicity worked with her daughter, Lucinda, to transform her 60-year-old hand-written diary into her book Diary of a Ballet Dancer, which has sold to people as far away as South Africa and Canada.
She also sent a copy to White Lodge, where manager of special collections, Anna Meadmore, said: “The book is really delightful and full of fascinating details about life at White Lodge.
“It will be a fantastic resource for our historic collections and library.”
Felicity studied at White Lodge until 1958, when she moved on to the Royal Ballet School before returning to her home town of Sheffield.
She met Norman whom she later married and the couple moved to Eyam.
After the birth of their daughter they converted a stable block at their home into the Felicity White School of Dance, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Felicity still teaches one class a week, but handed over the reins of the business to Philippa Matkin in 2013.
Now, Felicity is planning a second book based on her studies at the Royal Ballet School. She added: “I am overwhelmed at the response to my diary and was particularly thrilled to be invited to give a talk to the current students at the school this autumn.
“What a wonderful way to celebrate 60 years of the book and the school too!”
- To find out more visit www.diaryofadancer.co.uk.