Final curtain call for former Prima Ballerina
Dorothy Bryan (née Dorothy Walker or “Dodie” Walker to her theatre friends), a former prima ballerina, original cast member of “My Fair Lady” at Theatre Royal Drury Lane London, and well-known figure in ballet and dance circles in Blackpool and the Fylde has died aged 83 in Victoria Hospital Blackpool on 10 January 2014 after a short illness. Dorothy was born in Douglas on the Isle of Man on 9 August 1930 but moved to Blackpool during the Second World War after her parent’s hotel in Douglas was taken over by the Government to house war internees. She attended ballet boarding school from an early age, and aspired to be a professional ballerina, but her career was nearly thwarted after growing too tall to join the corps de ballet. After winning many ballet awards she obtained the unheard of opportunity of joining the International Ballet Company as a soloist without first serving time in the corps de ballet, rising to become Prima Ballerina with the company, and danced the role of Odette in Swan Lake in that capacity on a number of tours in England and abroad. Upon leaving the ballet, she became one of the cast members of the original production of “My Fair Lady” with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, and played the lead role of Eliza Doolittle opposite Rex Harrison on many occasions. After meeting and marrying the well-known Blackpool chartered accountant James C. Bryan F.C.A. of Bowman Grimshaw & Co, she founded a successful ballet school in Church Street Blackpool, and also choreographed the Blackpool Childrens’ Ballet for many years. She then taught dance and physical education at Arnold School in Blackpool for a further ten years before her retirement. In her retirement she moved to Lytham and continued to teach keep-fit at evening classes, and became involved in fitness causes for those with arthritis. Her husband pre-deceased her in March 2012. She is survived by their son Sir Simon Bryan, who is a High Court Judge.