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A Dancer's Tale
The story of Phyllis Spira


Thea Nicole de KlerkSamantha CutlerRoberto Pita



A Dancer's Tale


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A Dancers Tale
Illustrated by Thea Nicole de Klerk
Written by Samantha Cutler
Designed by Roberto Pita
with the help of the Book Dash participants in Cape Town on 28 June 2014, listed here:

ISBN: 978-0-9946519-4

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A Dancer's Tale

The story of Phyllis Spira




Once upon a time,
in Joburg’s Orange Grove,
a little girl called Phyllis
was born into the world.

Two people in love,
hugged their sweet little babe.
No-one knew then,
what a dancer they’d made.


By the time she was four,
she had learned very quick.
She impressed all her teachers,
with her ducky feet flicks!

Before school and after,
she danced everyday.
Nothing pleased Phyllis,
more than ballet.


When the world was ready
for Phyllis at fifteen,
She arrived in big, old London,
ready to live her dream.

She said goodbye to all her friends.
She was ready to start fresh.
Watch out Royal Ballet School!
Phyllis is here to impress.


When Phyllis danced Swan Lake,
it was fit to show the Queen!
After years of pirouetting,
she was ready to be seen.

Dancing for the audience,
she turned and twirled about.
Look! Everyone is smiling!
See how they clap and shout!


From Mexico to Canada.
From the USA to France.
Phyllis travelled far and wide,
so the world could see her dance.

With the Royal Ballet Company,
and her ballerina friends,
she spread her love for ballet.
She never wanted it to end.


Phyllis always knew,
that dance was in her heart.
But she longed to return home again,
and make a fresh new start.

So she leaped and bounded,
back to her beautiful land.
Her ballerina roots were regrown.
She was once more South African.


Dancing wasn’t just for fun,
as Phyllis always knew.
She’d work at dancing day and night,
and with hard work she grew.

Always smiling, always trying,
through good times and through tough,
Phyllis always did her best.
She couldn’t get enough.


Romeo and Juliet,
Swan Lake and Giselle.
Phyllis danced these for the people:
graceful, tireless, well.

With partners Gary Burne
and Eduard Greyling too,
her magnificence inspired the audience.
To her, flowers they threw.


Reward comes easily,
when you put yourself to the test.
Phyllis came to realise this,
once she was called ‘The Best.’

She was awarded ‘Prima Ballerina Assoluta.’
The greatest dancer of them all!
Phyllis would be forever known.
She wanted nothing more.


Goodness! What a catch!
Phyllis met her loving partner.
His name was Phillip Boyd.
He was another dancer.

Together they were married.
and together they would dance.
No-one could be better matched,
given half the chance!


Though they had no children,
Phyllis and Phillip were never sad.
They two of them found another way
to help other Mums and Dads.

They started Dance For All,
a special school for dance.
So that children with no money,
could also learn to prance!


She left a legacy of dance,
and incredible success.
Her magic was passed on to others
to help them become their best.

Her students spread accross the world,
inspired by her ducky feet.
They dance on while we watch,
dreaming from our seats.


Phyllis Spira was dancing by the age of four. That was just the beginning of her wonderful journey towards becoming one of South Africa’s Prima Ballerinas.



This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed.