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Wendy Toye obituary

28 February 2010 10:01 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Dancer who became a choreographer, actor and director for stage and screen

As a dancer, Wendy Toye, who has died aged 92, was a child prodigy. Born in Hackney, east London, the daughter of a bristle merchant, she had made her first public appearance at the Royal Albert Hall by the age of four. Aged nine, she choreographed a ballet at the London Palladium and also won the women's prize, dancing the Charleston, at a ball organised by the theatrical manager Cb Cochran and judged by Fred Astaire and Florenz Ziegfeld among others. The men's prize was won by Lew Grade.

She was always grateful for the advice she received from her tutors, including Ruby Ginner, Ninette de Valois and Anton Dolin, and regretted that when she reached the next stage of her career – choreography and direction – there were no teachers. She had to learn as she went along.

During the 1930s, »

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