Dame Margot Fonteyn

Dame Margot Fonteyn

Original Name Margaret
Birth
Reigate, Reigate and Banstead Borough, Surrey, England
Death 21 Feb 1991 (aged 71)
Panama City, Panamá, Panama
Burial Panama City, Panamá, Panama
Memorial ID 8211051 · View Source
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Ballerina. Born Margaret Evelyn Hookham in Reigate, Surrey, United Kingdom, she began ballet lessons at the age of four, and at eight, she traveled to Shanghai, China while her father was working there, and studied ballet under dance instructor George Goncharov. In 1933, she returned to Great Britain, and joined the Vic-Wells Ballet School, (present day Royal Ballet School) where she trained under Ninette de Valois. By 1939, she had performed principal roles in “Giselle”, “Swan Lake” and “The Sleeping Beauty”, and was designated Prima Ballerina. Additionally, she created roles in such ballets as “Horoscope”, “Symphonic Variations’, “Daphnis and Chloë”, and “Ondine” which was considered by many to be her greatest role. She was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1950. In 1955, she married Roberto Emilio Arias, former ambassador to Great Britain from Panama. 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. After 1959, she appeared with the Royal Ballet as guest artist, and toured a great deal. When Rudolf Nureyev defected to the west in 1961, at an age most dancers were retiring, she began her most celebrated partnership with him. Their first performance together was in “Giselle”, in February 1962. Such was their success they were said to have once taken 89 curtain calls after a performance in Vienna, Austria. Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed “Marguerite and Armand” for them, and they debuted Kenneth MacMillan's “Romeo and Juliet”. She appeared with him in motion pictures in several ballets including “Swan Lake”, “Les Sylphides” and “Le Corsaire Pas de Deux”. In the late 1970s, as she reduced her performing, and wrote several books, including “Margot Fonteyn: Autobiography” (1975), “A Dancer’s World” (1979), and “The Magic of Dance” (1979). She last danced in public in 1986, in a small part in “The Sleeping Beauty” during a Royal Ballet performance in the United States. After her retirement, she settled with her husband on his Panamanian ranch at La Quinta Pata, where her savings largely went to his care; he had been left a quadriplegic after being shot by a rival in 1964. After his death, she was left almost penniless, and in May 1990, the Royal Ballet presented a fund raiser gala in her honor at the Royal Opera House. She passed a year later at the age of 71 after being admitted to Paitilla Hospital in Panama City, Panama.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Medora
  • Added: 27 Dec 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8211051
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dame Margot Fonteyn (18 May 1919–21 Feb 1991), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8211051, citing Iglesia Santuario National Cemetery, Panama City, Panamá, Panama ; Maintained by Find A Grave .