On this day: the premiere of Foyer de Danse

foyer-de-danse Alicia Markova, seen here at left in Frederick Ashton_s Foyer de Danse at the fledgling British company Ballet Club (1932).

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Foyer de Danse, a ballet by English choreographer Frederick Ashton, had its premiere on the 9th of October, 1932.

This footage (begins 24 seconds in) from the 1932 production features Ashton alongside English prima ballerina Alicia Markova (born Lilian Alice Marks):

Ashton would go on to become one of ballet’s best-known choreographers. His productions of ballets such as Cinderella and La fille mal gardée are still seen onstage at the Royal Opera House on a regular basis.

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On this day: a choreographer and his muse.

This is the edition of LIFE Magazine for the 23rd of August, 1965.

The cover features choreographer George Balanchine, who was born into a Georgian family in Saint Petersburg before moving to the United States and becoming the so-called “father of American ballet”.

With him is Suzanne Farrell, a young ballerina who was arguably the most famous of his “muses”. She had just turned twenty when this magazine came out.

They are in costume for the roles of Don Quixote and his “ideal woman” Dulcinea in Balanchine’s version of Don Quixote for New York City Ballet. This version is unrelated to the world-famous production that is regularly performed today. However, the version starring Farrell became a signature piece and showcase for both her as a ballerina, and for her famous Balanchine technique.

LIFE INTERNATIONAL cover 08-23-1965 Choreographer George

R.I.P. Bryan Lawrence

Bryan Lawrence in Le Conservatoire. The Australian Ballet, 1965. Photo Ken Byron, Australian News and Information Bureau.

Bryan Lawrence, a soloist with Britain’s Royal Ballet before moving to Australia to become one of The Australian Ballet’s early principals, died over the weekend. He was in his eighty-first year.

Swan Lake Royal Ballet School performance 1960 with Shirley Grahame. — with Shirley Grahame Kershaw. Bryan Lawrence.

With Shirley Grahame.

After retiring, Lawrence and his ballerina wife Janet Karin moved to Canberra where they founded a highly successful ballet school. Their graduates went to on star with companies such as American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, and – of course – The Australian Ballet. Ross Stretton, the late director of both Australia’s national company and The Royal Ballet, also began his training there.

On this day…

Dancers from the London Festival Ballet on the 31st of May, 1952. They are photographed on London’s Southbank.

The company was renamed the English National Ballet in 1989, and is today home to some of the world’s most famous ballet stars, many of them from overseas.

Source

southbank-centre-7-1444132505-view-0 Cast members of the Festival Ballet, captured mid-leap on London's Southbank, 31 May 1952.

On this day…

Gilbert and Sullivan‘s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opened at the Opera Comique in London on the 25th of May, 1878.

This poster is from the second year of the show’s run.

H_m_s_pinafore_restoration 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opens at the Opera Comique in London. 25th May 1878.

On this day: the death of a prima ballerina

Maya_Plisetskaya_-_1974Plisetskaya performing in Carmen (1974)

As Carmen in 1974.

Soviet ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, one of only a handful of dancers in history to hold the title of Prima Ballerina Assoluta, died on the 2nd of May, 2015.

Born into a prominent family of Lithuanian Jews, Plisetskaya completed her ballet training in Moscow, first performing at the Bolshoi Theatre at the age of eleven.

Maya Plisetskaya Grand Jete Ballet Vintage

Despite being one of the most respected dancers in history, she was treated badly by the anti-Semitic Russian authorities. For the first sixteen years of her career she was banned from leaving the country.

Her father was executed during the Stalinist purges, and her mother, a famous Lithuanian film actress, spent several years in a gulag in Kazakhstan.

Maya Plisetskaya Ballet Vintage

Plisetskaya followed in the footsteps of another great Soviet ballerina: Galina Ulanova, and took over her position as the Bolshoi’s star dancer upon Ulanova’s retirement. Plisetskaya was a member of the Theatre until 1990.

Succumbing to a heart attack, she was eighty-nine at the time of her death.