As you all will probably know, Felicity Balfour was a member of the Beat Girls and Pan's People. She gets a couple of mentions in the Pan's People book, e.g. on page 35 in conjunction with the founding of Pan's People, and we also have a few pictures of her on the site. Unfortunately it seems that the only existing footage with her is the Pan's People rehearsal video from January 1967.
A while ago Barbara, a friend of Felicity Balfour (now Gazagnes), offered to pass any questions on to her. I gladly accepted and asked a couple of members to send me any questions they had for Felicity. I'm happy to say that Felicity has now answered every question, so I will post both the questions and the answers here:
Q: How did you join?
Felicity: I was asked to join by Gary Cockrell.
Q: Did you have to audition to be part of the Beat Girls or did they invite you to participate for some weeks?
Felicity: There was no audition and I wasn't asked to participate for any time - they knew me from the Dance Centre.
Q: Were you a full member?
Felicity: Yes. Except that sometimes when we were working in England I would replace Flick, because she didn't have the English Equity card.
Q: What was the dynamic in the group eg did they get on?
Felicity: I was so shy and lacked a lot of confidence, so I wouldn't want to make trouble. My best friend was Lorelly and we even shared a bedsitter in Earls Court together.
Q: Do you remember the show Moef Gaga in Holland and if so any particular memories of dances or songs? Do you remember any other shows you did?
Felicity: I think the Kinks were in it, but I can't really remember, as we were in Belgium as well, so I might be getting muddled. The studios were in Hilversum.
Q: Why did you leave?
Felicity: I didn't leave - I was only in the Beat Girls for a short time because we then became Pan's People.
Q: When did you hear about PP and what were the circumstances of joining (I think you were a schoolfriend of Dee Dee's)?
Felicity: Yes I was Dee Dee's schoolfriend. But we all became Pan's People. It was Flick's husband who made us Pan's People and became our director.
Q: Were you initially concerned when the Beat Girls suddenly quit to start Pans People?
Felicity: Not at all concerned - we were all pleased!
Q: What do you recall of the colour signing photo?
Felicity: I can't even remember it, but I hate the clothes I was wearing! Everybody else's clothes were nice, mine were horrible.
Q: Was it a happy group or fractious?
Felicity: I can't say I was happy, I felt a bit out of place.
Q: Why did you leave and did you regret leaving?
Felicity: They asked me to leave because they knew I wasn't very happy. I was a little bit upset at being asked to leave, I was young, just 21. But I don't regret leaving at all. Television was quite new and I just didn't like dancing to the television cameras. I preferred working in the theatre. I had had to make the change from just doing classical dance to jazz, which was quite a change, it was a completely different technique. I was a professional dancer already, but in that time I learned jazz and soul.
Q: Do you have any reminiscences about your time with the group?
Felicity: I remember we went to a club in Brussels and they asked us to dance because they knew who we were. We danced to the music of the Supremes and I really enjoyed it. It was a different atmosphere, we were not working.
Q: Were there any televised or filmed routines or numbers that you remember from those days that we may not know about? Do you have any photos of the time you would be prepared to share?
Felicity: I was very pleased to see photos I've been sent and remember the occasions, they brought back nice memories. But it's a shame I never got to see them at the time! We were never given any photos (well I wasn't anyway!) I'd only seen one that was in a newspaper of us at the airport going to Holland.
Q: What do you consider your most significant professional achievement (maybe being in the first cast of Joseph and his Technicolor dream coat?)
Felicity: Yes, being in the original Joseph, and also the original Jesus Christ Superstar, also in Catch My Soul in Paris, a rock version of Othello.
Q: What have you been doing with your life since those days?
Felicity: I danced professionally until the age of 28. I left England after Superstar. My husband is French and we went to Paris, where I worked on French TV on a variety programme. Our first child, Matty, was born in Paris when I was 29, and that's when I stopped dancing professionally. We moved to Nice in 1976, when Matty was 15 months old. Our other three children were born in Nice. I always went to dance classes to keep it up.
I'm now 73, and Gaspard and I have been living in Montpellier since 2012. Last year I started going to contemporary dance classes and hurt my knee badly. Then I hurt my hip, so I haven't done much dancing since then. However, Gaspard and I are committed Christians, and I dance in church in worship sometimes when the Holy Spirit moves me.
Thanks again to Felicity and Barbara for taking the time to answer our questions! This thread is now open for comments and discussion
The wind blew some luck in my direction, I caught it in my hands today
Thank you very very much, Felicity, for taking the time and effort to answer the questions from us fans. And to give us some very interesting and in depth responses. It was worth the wait of a few months from when the possibility of Felicity replying to our questions was first mooted. ( I am even pleased that I recognised one of my own questions being included ).
I hope this does show some light into the darkness of the beginnings of Pan’s People. And help those that are interested in piecing together a little more information on the recesses and corners of the group’s origins.
And it is good to know that Felicity has had a happy life in France, and hope that her injury problems are over and she can continue to dance whenever and wherever she feels the call.
Thank you enormously to Felicity, Barbara and Felicity ‘s family for enabling this and to allow us this extra knowledge. And thank you also to Vin for his patience in setting this up, and answering positively to my frequent questions and doubts about this ever taking place.
Another coup for the site.
Interesting to learn that Felicity felt much more comfortable in a theatre setting than before the TV cameras. I knew next to nothing about this particular original Pan's person so to read about her recollections and subsequent French life post dance career is highly enjoyable.
Many thanks to Vin for orchestrating this Q&A - good work, Mister.
Thanks also to Mikey for verifying the colour photo asked about.
What an interesting interview - thank you for arranging that and uploading it. I never knew that Flick was married. Made for such interesting reading. Likewise I cannot remember much at all about the late sixties Pans except the Young Girl routine which I have described on another page. Once again thanks.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
What would be really useful to primarily a Legs & Co fan like myself, would be a table or listing which shows the comings and goings of the end of The Beat Girls up until the commencement of when Pans People first appeared on TOTPs with their permanent six dancers which we all know.
For example, was Ruth the replacement for Felicity Balfour ? Was Andrea the replacement for Lorelly Harris, and who did Louise replace ?
The book says on page 217 that Felicity left in March - but then the book has been wrong before. Dee Dee's actual quote on page 43 is, "So she (Felicity) left, and Ruth joined us in March", which is a bit ambiguous as it could also mean that Felicity left several weeks before Ruth joined.
The wind blew some luck in my direction, I caught it in my hands today