18 May 1919, Reigate, Surrey, England – 21 February 1991, Panama City, Panama
Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias was an outstanding ballerina of the English stage whose musicality, technical perfection, and precisely conceived and executed characterizations made her an international star. She was the first homegrown English ballerina, and she became an iconic and much-loved figure, particularly after she was professionally paired with Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
Margot Fonteyn debuted with the Vic-Wells Ballet (1934); when Alicia Markova left the company the following year, Fonteyn took over many of her classical roles, including Giselle, and became a leading danseuse of the Vic-Wells Ballet. In 1939 she danced Aurora in a revival of The Sleeping Beauty – her interpretation is still considered the definitive Aurora of the era.
The Sleeping Beauty Act 3 Grand Pas De Deux, Royal Ballet Company, Dame Margot Fonteyn & Michael Somes
Apart from the classical repertoire, she created many roles in such ballets by Frederick Ashton as Horoscope, Symphonic Variations, Daphnis and Chloë, Ondine and gave outstanding performances in revivals of Michel Fokine’s The Firebird and Petrushka. Other ballets associated with her career are Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet (1965) and John Cranko’s Poème de l’extase (1970) and, with Nureyev as partner, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Le Corsaire pas de deux and other classics, in addition to new ballets created especially for them.
Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet Balcony Scene, Dame Margot Fonteyn & Rudolf Nureyev
She spent her entire career as a dancer with the Royal Ballet, eventually being appointed Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the company by HM Queen Elizabeth II. She became president of the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1954 and was created Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1956.
Margot Fonteyn – Margot