100-year-old ballet teacher finally gets award 77 years after winning silver in wartime competition

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

A 100-year-old ballet teacher has finally scooped a medal for a performance he gave more than seven decades ago.

Henry Danton was awarded the gong by the Royal Academy of Dance for a routine he displayed in 1942 - but World War II meant a metal shortage waylaid any hopes of a medal coming his way.

Wartime judges told him: "You will be awarded the medal when metal is available", because silver was being used for the war effort.

In the years that would follow, Mr Danton worked with some of ballet's leading lights; leaving for Paris in the aftermath of the conflict and working with teachers from Russia and eventually companies in Venezuela and Colombia.

Henry Danton when he was a younger performer. Credit: Henry Danton

Now, with metal readily available again, Mr Danton, who now lives in the United States, was given the award by the Academy.

Despite being "100-and-a-half", the dancer has no plans to hang up his pumps just yet, and is still teaching.

He credits his longevity with becoming a vegetarian at the age of 50-years-old.

At the time, his dietary choices set him aside from the majority of the population.

London only had one dedicated vegetarian restaurant, a far cry from the plethora of bustling eateries on the capital's streets today, he recalled.

The centenarian has been celebrated by dance commentators the world over; including receiving praise from the Wall Street Journal and in a BBC documentary about ballet during the war.

And how about retiring?

He says: "No, absolutely not."