Not everyone is good at everything, but everyone is good at something.
This is about an eight-year-old girl, Gillian, who was having trouble in school: missing deadlines, testing poorly, and becoming easily distracted. This true story took place in the 1930s. School administers thought that Gillian had a problem and should be placed in a school for kids with learning disorders. Gillian’s parents took her to the school psychologist, who questioned Gillian’s mother for about twenty minutes, glancing at Gillian and making mental notes during the conversation. He then asked Gillian to remain in the office for a few minutes while he talked with her mother privately. Before he left the office, he turned on the radio. There was a window to the office, and he and Gillian’s mother watched the little girl from the hallway. “Gillian was on her feet, moving around the room to the music. The two adults stood watching quietly for a few minutes, transfixed by the girl’s grace. Anyone would have noticed there was something natural—even primal—about Gillian’s movements. At last, the psychologist turned to Gillian’s mother and said, ‘You know, Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn’t sick. She’s a dancer. Take her to a dance school.’” The little girl did attend dance school, the very next week. The little girl, Gillian Lynne, never lost her passion for dance. She entered the Royal Ballet School in London, met Andrew Lloyd Webber, and went on to create some of the most successful musical-theatre productions in history, including Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. “Gillian wasn’t a problem child. She didn’t need to go away to a special school. She just needed to be who she really was,” writes Robinson
Little Gillian, the girl with the high‐risk future, became known to the world as Gillian Lynne, one of the most accomplished choreographers of our time, someone who has brought pleasure to millions and earned millions of dollars.
- She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1982 (1981 season) for Outstanding Achievement in Musicals for “Cats”.
- She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 (1999 season) for Outstanding Musical Production for “Dick Whittington”.
- Was twice nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Choreographer: in 1983 for “Cats” and in 1988 for “The Phantom of the Opera.”
- She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1997 Queen’s Honours List for her services to Dance.