Dame Margot Fonteyn (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As the first ballerina trained by a British school and company to achieve international status, Fonteyn almost single-handedly developed the Royal Ballet’s female repertoire during her thirty years with the company and became the model for the modern ballerina.
Margot Fonteyn, born Margaret Evelyn Hookham in Reigate, Surrey, England, on May 18, 1919, was the daughter of Felix John Hookham, an engineer with the British-American Tobacco Company, and Hilda Fontes Hookham, a coffee heiress. Fonteyn was educated both by private tutors and in local schools as the family traveled from England to Louisville, Kentucky, on the way to China.
Fonteyn’s earliest dance training began in Ealing, England, at age five, with Grace Bostulow. In China, she studied with the Russian-trained George Gontcharov. Her mother kept a watchful eye over the various teachers and methods of training her daughter received. When Fonteyn was twelve, she returned with her mother to England both to visit her older brother Felix and to be tested at the Royal Academy of Dancing. Two years later, the pair returned to London permanently and young Fonteyn was enrolled at the school for the Vic-Wells Ballet, which was to become the Sadler’s Wells and eventually the Royal Ballet. At fifteen, Fonteyn was shy, well-mannered, and extremely self-disciplined. She had decided to make a career for herself as a dancer and was...
(The entire section is 2553 words.)
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