Monday, November 3, 2014

The Lady Retires

June Roper's students continued to impress those who were informed concerning dancing and her pupils found work in a variety of productions. However, her life wasn't all work. In 1940, she became engaged to a prominent Vancouver businessman, Duncan Crux. She was thirty-three years old and decided to give up her career for marriage. She began to make a practical transition from her intense programme of teaching and productions.

Dorothy Wilson, from Victoria, agreed to take over the B.C. School of Dancing in 1940. Wilson had toured Europe extensively as a teacher of ballet. Dorothy agreed to begin her tenure in the spring. June continued to coach her special students and collaborated with Wilson on the Stars of Tomorrow revue for that year.

Wilson brought in Princess Sylvia Arfa, a Cecchetti disciple and daughter of the Persian Ambassador to the Russian Imperial Court to be her partner.

Following her marriage in 194, June gradually loosened her ties to the school. And article in the 1945 issue of Dance Magazine, written by Montreal dance writer, Francis Coleman, recognized June's contribution to the dance world, calling her a "ballet starmaker". The following year, June was one of the founding members of the Vancouver Ballet Society. After a time, June made her home in Palm Springs, California though she did maintain an apartment in Vancouver for some years.

June's first born daughter, Elizabeth, became an expert ballet teacher and used many of June's training techniques in her studios in Santa Cruz, California and West Vancouver, B.C. as well as Scottsdale, Arizona. Lauren, June's second daughter is a psychotherapist in Santa Cruz, California.

Leland Windreich, the author of the book June Roper, Ballet Starmaker, where I am getting my information, spoke with June Roper in the late 1970s when she came to Vancouver. Windreich attended a reception at her apartment where former students of June's were in attendance. They graciously supplied Windreich with some of the information he used for the book.

In 1978, the Dance in Canada Association honoured June at it's annual meeting at the University of British Columbia. She was recognized for her outstanding role as a pioneer in the development of ballet in Canada. 

June was plagued by bad health in her final years. She had Alzheimer's disease and died on November 21, 1991. Her legacy will live on forever - the dancers she trained have gone on to influence others and the stars she trained will remain in the hearts of dance followers forever.

 This photo is of June Roper - now Mrs. A.G. Duncan Crux, with a baby on her lap. Taken in August of 1942. I got it from the City of Vancouver archives 
I took this photo of a photo of June Roper when I toured the Orpheum theatre.

Another photo of a photo from the Orpheum theatre. This one of June Roper's dancers.
I hope you enjoyed my look at this fabulous woman. One thing about writing this blog that I love is some of the people I get to 'meet'.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. June was a beautiful woman and teacher. Glad she was so popular as a dancer and that she did what she so desired. The pictures are great but I would probably stay far away from the huge spider web. Spiders are not my favorite pest.

    1. The spider web actually wasn't that big. I just zoomed in on it.