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Henry Danton


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Chujoy's Dance Encyclopedia lists the following about Henry Danton:

(real name, Henry Down), dancer b. Bedford, England, 1919. Educated at Wellington College and Royal Military Academy (Woolrich). After three and a half years in military service started to study dance (1940) with Judith Espinosa, Vera Volkova, Victor Gsovsky, Egorova, Kniasief, Rosanne. Soloist "International Ballet" (1942-43) dancing Prince (Swan Lake), Les Sylphides; Sadler's Wells Ballet (1943-46), dancing Florestan (Sleeping Beauty), The Rake's Progress, Les Patineurs, pas de trois from Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, etc. Created Dragonfly (Spider's Banquet), role in Symphonic Variations. Left Sadler's Wells in 1946 to continue studies in Paris. Has also appeared with small ballet companies.

This Encyclopedia was published in 1949.

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Does anyone know who Henry Danton was? He's my teacher, and he's not very well known in today's time, but in the 40's and 50's he was quite famous....consider this a scavenger hunt for info, if you have time to surf the net and stuff....I'll letcha know if you're right!


Henry Danton taught in NY in the 1960's and perhaps early70's. Where is he now? He was an absolutely pivotal model in many young dancers' development. I would love to be able to communicate that to him. He instilled great love for dance and absolute stoicism en pointe--no foam, no lambswool between your toes and the floor.

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Yes he is teaching with ballet Theatr of Scranton on Mondays, then teaching for Toledo Classical Ballet in Oh Wed-Fri. He is still very active and an inspiration to all who take classes with him. He just finished staging The Sleeping Beauty for BTS, and will be working with TCB on their Swan Lake and Paquita.

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And if for some reason, you need to remember the original cast of "Symphonic Variations", sing the names to the opening theme of the music: "Margot Fon-teyn, Moira Shear-er, Michael SOMES, Brian SHAW, Henry DAN-ton. (new phrase) and PAM-ela May...."

Exactly what Alastair Macaulay said! :smilie_mondieu:

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the attached scan is not unfamiliar from books but this is the first photo print i've seen (other than postcard fotos) of the first cast of SYMPHONIC VARIATIONS - Danton is the first on the left in the line-up beyond the standing figure of Fonteyn, which would, i guess, qualify him as her 'partner' in ashton's scheme.


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Henry Danton was one of the stars in a programme shown on BBC television last night, focusing on the way the Sadler's Wells Ballet matured during WW2. He's 93, looks amazing, talks with humour and sense - terrific! And the programme also included a precious few seconds of the dress rehearsal of Symphonic Variations, including Danton - it was a revelation, so much more freely danced than we see it today (although of course I know it was a rehearsal and therefore not necessarily what the first-night audience saw).

The programme also included interviews with Julia Farron (also 93, and the last survivor of the company's near-disastrous tour of Holland in the early days of the war) and with Beryl Grey (86), Gillian Lynne (88) and Pauline Clayden (91), all of them exceptionally articulate and fascinating. A lovely programme!

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Reviving an old topic. Wanted to let everyone know that Henry Danton celebrated his 100th birthday on March 30. He is still teaching almost daily, still travels on his own, and is as sharp and witty as ever. He is an amazing man to know and am grateful for the time I’ve been ablet to spend with him, talking and learning about both ballet and life in general. Such an inspiration!

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We received this message directly to the board:


Dear All:


Possible for one to contact Henry on my behalf?  

"Henry it is I, Bam, Ralph Kenneth McNeill's dtr. and I wanted to wish you well, and share that I am scrap booking Ralph's ballet photos and Art.  He was the navy recruiter WWII and maybe one of your Allied Ballet male dancers in your month long project of WWII?

Kathryn his wife (and my mom) also Served.  First she was m. to James White, Jr. of Clinton, LA, martial arts master and boxing King captured (WWII) with Sissy's husband and needing to be broken out.  Small dance troop entered and the 12 or so were taken to safety.

Ralph Kenneth Mcneill m. Kathryn Louise Shanteau White left many a photo of above events.  Would love to e-chat with you, Henry Danton, should someone be able to contact you on my behalf:


Betsi Anne McNeill Sukoenig Nagasawa

b. Gulfport, MS and now in: Santa Monica, CA 


I have contact information, if it's possible to pass it on.

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i am in sometime touch with HD, so i can copy and paste this text and send it along to him. 

do you want me to wait for the contact info. before forwarding this message along to him?


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