International Ballet School

Vera Volkova's International Ballet School was a mecca for professional dancers, whether London residents or visiting artists

“The list of dancers who studied with her is enormous,” says David. “All of the Sadlers Wells professional dancers passed through her studio at one time. Fonteyn owed this teacher a great debt. Class with this woman was quite an experience.

“She was a small, slim, dark haired woman with a magnetic personality. You found yourself doing things that you had not imagined.

“When I first saw her in her teaching garb I could not help but laugh. She wore a black skirt, but under that she wore blue stockings. The ladies of the night that surrounded the central sculpture in Picadilly Circus wore blue stockings. It was the trademark.

“Vera seldom stood to demonstrate. It was very verbal, but also demonstrated with those lovely slim long legs. She had a lot to say, and we listened.

“A brief session with the International ballet school exposed me to Nicolai Sergueef. He was credited with teaching the classics, so called, to the Sadlers Wells Ballet and to the International Ballet. This man made we work to an extent I had not known. I lost a lot of weight, but also learned how to move that large body of mine much more quickly.”