Joan Kent was born in 1918, and was on stage from the age of 12, first with other children from the Cone school of dance. At 13, she won a prize in The Sunshine Babies Competition at The Scala Theatre, greatly impressing Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet. Then, still in her teens, she joined the celebrated Markova-Dolin Ballet.

There are some very beautiful photos, many by the renowned dance photographer Angus McBean, and, equally interesting, programmes and reviews from the late thirties and early forties. A McBean photo of Joan aged 17 in The Nutcracker gives an indication of her style, while in The Beloved One, choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska, sister of the legendary dancer, she wears the most chic of Art Deco hats. Joan certainly mingled with the mighty. A group photo of the Markova Dolin company from the late thirties includes the young Freddie Franklin. Four years older than Joan, he went on to partner many great ballerinas over several decades. He hasn’t stopped; only two years ago I saw him playing the Tutor in Swan Lake, at the age of 94! When Markova and Dolin went to America, Joan joined the Arts Theatre Ballet. In 1940, still only 22, she danced the lead in the second act of Swan Lake.

“It is a lovely poem of movement, beautifully, one might almost say lovingly danced by Joan Kent,” said one review.

“Joan Kent invested the female lead with all the shimmering and floating swan-ness that some illustrious predecessors have led us to expect,” enthused another.

Joan’s dance career was a short one, ended by the war, but looking through these fascinating albums and photos, you get a whiff of the earliest days of British ballet.

Joan, now a sprightly 93, was at the opening of this exhibition. It continues until July 16, and you don’t have to be going to a performance to visit it. Just walk up to the circle bar, and find yourself immersed in the atmosphere of a bygone era.