'She married ballet' - Tributes paid to dance teacher who inspired thousands

Eve Pettinger

Eve Pettinger taught thousands of pupils over some 64 years. - Credit: Supplied by Martin Smith

Tributes have been paid to a dance teacher of 64 years who inspired thousands of pupils through her love of ballet.

Eve Pettinger MBE died peacefully, from cancer, aged 92 on July 15 in Sheringham.

As one of the first pupils of the Arts Educational School in Tring in 1945, and its sister school in London, she went on to become a highly-renowned teacher at the school.

In a tweet, the school said: “Eve was the most remarkable woman, and touched the lives of so many people and she will be deeply missed by those who knew her and loved her.”

Eve Pettinger

Eve Pettinger was awarded her MBE in 2007 by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. - Credit: Supplied by Martin Smith

Ms Pettinger was a professional dancer with the London Festival Ballet - now the English National Ballet - and danced for Dame Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin. 

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As a teacher, her pupils included Bond girl and Golden Globe winner Jane Seymour and through her extensive work with the Cecchetti Centre, she may even have taught classes attended by Darcey Bussell. 

She also taught for a period at the prestigious Boston Ballet School in the US. 

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In 2007, she was made an MBE by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace for her services to the world of dance. 

Eve Pettinger

Eve Pettinger was renowned as both a teacher and a dancer in her own right. - Credit: Supplied by Martin Smith

Ms Pettinger is not survived by any close family members.

“She never married,” said Martin Smith, a friend of Ms Pettinger’s for some 30 years and the executor of her will. 

“She was one of two children - her brother passed away at the age of 12, so Eve was very much on her own, other than, as often she would have said to me, she married ballet. That was her love.

“Everything that she did for so many years just revolved around ballet, teaching ballet, performing it.”

Eve Pettinger

Eve Pettinger instructing one of the thousands of pupils she was teach over her extraordinary career, which spanned several decades. - Credit: Supplied by Martin Smith

Her funeral is expected to be attended by several representatives of the different dancing institutions with which she worked. 

Ms Pettinger was cared for at St David’s Nursing Home on Common Lane in Sheringham. For several years before moving into the home, Ms Pettinger had lived on the same street in a home with her mother. 

Her funeral will take place at Cromer Crematorium on Wednesday, August 11 at 11am.

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