Ninette de Valois (1898-2001), Founder and Director of the Royal Ballet; wife of Arthur Blackall Connell
Dame Ninette de Valois (Edris Stannus)
Sitter in 25 portraits
Born in Ireland, Edris Stannus began her training with the Lila Field Academy for Children in London. She took the stage name Ninette de Valois and during the war danced at the Lyceum. In 1919 she became premiere danseuse at Covent Garden and she was a member of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes for two seasons, 1923-5. Resolved to form her own company, she established the Academy of Choreographic Art in 1926 and was engaged to arrange dances at the Old Vic. She founded the Vic-Wells Ballet (later The Royal Ballet) in 1931. Among the major ballets she created were Job (1931), The Rake's Progress (1935) and Checkmate (1937). She was made a Dame in 1951.