Fonteyn, Dame Margot
, 1919-91, English ballerina. Fonteyn was for many years prima ballerina assoluta
of the Royal Ballet
. Her original name was Margaret Hookham. In 1934 she joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet School, and in the same year she made her debut as a soloist. 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 Ashton
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 Nureyev
See her autobiography (1976); biographies by K. Money (1974) and M. Daneman (2004).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright © 2004.
Licensed from Columbia University Press