Kenneth Ludden first met Dame Margot Fonteyn when he was a ballet student in Central Pennsylvania. He was taken by his teachers to the graduation ceremony of the National Ballety of Washington, DC’s Academic School where Fonteyn presented diplomas to graduates. After that initial meeting, Fonteyn took an interest in the young dancer, eventually arranging for him to study at the Royal Ballet School. While in England, Ludden lived with Fonteyn’s mother, Hilda ‘BQ’ Hookham.
The association between Fonteyn and Ludden continued throughout the rest of her life. Once Ludden’s own ballet career began, he and Fonteyn worked together to form the plan for an International Fine Arts Academy. This development and planning period lasted for 8 years, and then, in the last 4 years of Fonteyn’s life, the two of them started to actively pursue seed money and funding for the proposed Institute. Fonteyn began teaching at the Joffrey Ballet School as a special guest, and took the opportunity to accelerate her work with Ludden to form the plan for a ballet academy within the planned Institute. Money did not immediately come through, and Fonteyn’s failing health and eventual death, the project never got off the ground.
Ludden worked with her family and close associates to plan her Washington, DC memorial service at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, and helped with the tribute at the Lincoln Center Library for the Arts. He also directed the Kennedy Center, American Film Institute Tribute to Nureyev after he died. Ludden has gone on to write articles about Fonteyn and Nureyev, and is currently working on a book about his close work with the legendary ballerina.
Ken Ludden entered the professional performing arts world as a child with early appearances in television productions in the 1950s. He specialized in classical ballet, having an international career as a performer for two decades, and due to his close relationship with Dame Margot Fonteyn (1919-1991) he worked together with her for the final 12 years of her life to develop the educational program of The Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet, which he currently directs.
His performing career includes far more than classical ballet. He has sung professionally in classical, church and popular music; appeared in film and on television as an actor; has published many books from entertainment, to fiction, to textbooks, has choreographed two dozen classical ballets and many musical comedies; has served as curator and writer for the Max Waldman Archives; and many other areas.
He is an international teacher of classical ballet and lectures on many diverse topics. His science-fiction novel “Second Pass” began a 9-book series that is soon to be presented as a traditional RPG system; and his novel (originally published as a magazine serial) “Mary Go-Round” has been turned into a stage play (A Time Below) and is being prepared for a 24-episode mega series (Mary Go-Round).
Ludden has recently published “My Margot” which is memoir/biography of his long relationship with Dame Margot Fonteyn. The book is being edited by Judith Proctor. It came out at the same time as his new and greatly anticipated textbook on Pointe Technique.