Fonteyn, Dame Margot

Fonteyn, Dame Margot fŏntānˈ [key], 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 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 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).

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