"You're a fine dancer, but very strong-willed," said Sir Anton Dolin to 12-year-old Richard Marsden, a precocious ballet student with big dreams of performing.
His mentor's frank sentiment continues to elicit a touch of bashful guilt from the former New York City Ballet dancer, who could never have imagined the fulfilling ballet career in store for him. "Being strong-willed is not a bad quality to have now," says Marsden. "But back then, it wasn't accepted well in a dance class."
Marsden began training with Dolin, his godfather, at the age of 12, the same year he was awarded a scholarship to the School of American Ballet. He danced the repertory of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins at NYCB and performed as a premier dancer and guest artist with ballet companies throughout the world.