Alicia Markova (1910-2004), Ballerina
Dame Alicia Markova
Sitter in 30 portraits
One of the great ballerinas of the twentieth century, Markova was admired for the purity and lightness of her dancing. At the age of fourteen she joined the Ballets Russes, where she created roles for choreographer George Balanchine. As prima ballerina with the Vic-Wells Ballet, 1933-5, she was the first British dancer to appear as Giselle and Odette/Odile and created roles in Rendezvous (1933) and The Rake's Progress (1935). In 1935 she formed a touring company with Anton Dolin and in 1950 they co-founded the Festival Ballet (English National Ballet). She was made a Dame in 1963 and became director of the New York Metropolitan Opera Ballet, 1963-9.