Fonteyn, Dame Margot

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Fonteyn, Dame Margot

(fŏntān`), 1919–91, English ballerina. Fonteyn was for many years prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal BalletRoyal Ballet,
the principal British ballet company, based at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. It is noted for lavish dramatic productions, a superbly disciplined corps de ballet, and brilliant performances from its principals.
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. Her original name was Margaret Hookham. In 1934 she joined the Vic-Wells Ballet School, and in the same year she made her debut as a soloist with the company (later the Sadler's Wells Ballet, now the Royal Ballet). She became prima ballerina of the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1935. Fonteyn gained a reputation for expressive acting and versatility, creating such roles as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Agathe in Les Demoiselles de la Nuit. Her performances in Cinderella, Giselle, Sylvia, and The Firebird were also outstanding. Sir Frederick AshtonAshton, Sir Frederick,
1904–88, British choreographer and dancer, b. Guayaquil, Ecuador. He grew up in Peru and was drawn to dance after seeing (1917) a performance by Anna Pavlova there.
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 created a number of major ballets especially for Fonteyn, among them Symphonic Variations (1946) and Ondine (1958). She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1956. Fonteyn's international reputation reached an unprecedented height after 1962, when she began her partnership with the Russian dancer Rudolf NureyevNureyev, Rudolf
, 1938–93, Russian ballet dancer, b. near Irkutsk, Siberian USSR (now Russia). Nureyev studied in Ufa and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and in 1958 he became a soloist with the Kirov Ballet. In 1961 he defected from the Soviet Union while on tour in Paris.
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See her autobiography (1976); biographies by K. Money (1974) and M. Daneman (2004).

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