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Margot Fonteyn

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Margot Fonteyn, 1960s

Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, DBE was an English ballerina. She was born Margaret Evelyn Hookham on 18 May 1919 in Reigate, Surrey, UK. She died 21 February 1991 (aged 71) in Panama City, Panama. Early in life, she changed her names to Margot and Fonteyn.

Fonteyn is widely regarded as one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of all time. She spent her entire career as a dancer with The Royal Ballet, eventually being appointed Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the company by Queen Elizabeth II.

She was especially renowned for her portrayal of Aurora in Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty. In 1961, Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West. On 21 February 1962, he and Fonteyn first performed together in Giselle. She was 42 and he was 24. Their performance was a great success. The two became lifelong friends.

In 1955 Fonteyn married Dr Roberto Arias, a Panamanian diplomat to London. After her retirement she spent all her time in Panama, and was close to her husband and his children from an earlier marriage. Her husband died in 1989. Fonteyn was diagnosed at that time with a cancer that proved fatal. She died on 21 February 1991 in a hospital in Panama City, Panama, aged 71.


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