Dame Merle (Florence) Park (1937-), Ballerina
Sitter in 4 portraits
Born in Rhodesia, Park joined the Company in 1954 and was promoted to principal in 1962. One of a number of rising ballerinas to emerge in the early 1960s, including Seymour and Sibley, she shared with them the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (1965). She created roles in Antony Tudor's Shadowplay (1967), Nureyev's London Nutcracker (1968), and for MacMillan the role of Countess Larisch in Mayerling (1978) and the title role in Isadora (1981). She gave many guest appearances overseas, often dancing with Nureyev. In 1983 she became director of The Royal Ballet School and in 1986 she was made a Dame.