Dame Ninette de VALOIS (1898-2001)

A British woman of Irish origin, Ninette de Valois was a dancer, choreographer and dance director. She was a pupil of Nicolas Legat and Enrico Cecchetti. She began her dancing career in "Les Ballets Russes" by Diaghilev (1923-1926). The entire history of British ballet is closely associated with the name of Ninette de Valois. In 1926 she founded the Academy of Choreographic Art and managed a group which appeared at the Old Vic in the same year. It was this group which went on to become the Vic-Wells Ballet. As the true founder of ballet in England, Ninette de Valois was behind the creation of the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1931, which became the Sadler's Wells Ballet in 1941 and subsequently the Royal Ballet in 1956. She handled the artistic management for more than 30 years (1931-1963). Her most famous choreographies date from the 1930s (“The Rake’s Progress” -1935, and “Checkmate” -1937). She was also the author of several books including “Invitation to the Ballet” - 1937, and “Come Dance with me” 1957. She was also the guiding light behind the Fonteyn-Nureyev Association as she was the one that persuaded Fonteyn not to retire from the stage, but instead to dance with this young dancer that she invited to dance Giselle in February 1962.
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