Biography of Margot Fonteyn
Dame Margot Fonteyn, DBE (18 May 1919 – 21 February 1991), stage name of Margaret Evelyn de Arias, was an English ballerina. She spent her entire career as a dancer with the Royal Ballet (formerly the Sadler's Wells Theater Company), eventually being appointed prima ballerina assoluta of the company by Queen Elizabeth II in 1979.
Beginning ballet lessons at the age of four, she studied in England and China, where her father was transferred for his work. Her training in Shanghai was with George Goncharov, contributing to her continuing interest in Russian ballet. Returning to London at the age of 14, she was invited to join the Vic-Wells Ballet School by Ninette de Valois and succeeded Alicia Markova as prima ballerina of the company in 1935 at age 16. The Vic-Wells choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton, wrote numerous parts for Fonteyn and her partner, Robert Helpmann, with whom she danced from the 1930s to the 1940s.
In 1946, the Vic-Wells company(now renamed the Sadler's Wells Ballet), moved into the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden where Fonteyn's most frequent partner throughout the next decade was Michael Somes. Her performance in Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty became a distinguishing role for both Fonteyn and the company, but she was also well known for the ballets created by Ashton, including Symphonic Variations, Cinderella, Daphnis and Chloe, Ondine and Sylvia.
In 1949, she led the company in a tour of the United States and became an international celebrity. Before and after the Second World War, Fonteyn performed in televised broadcasts of ballet performances in Britain.
In 1955, she married the Panamanian politician Roberto Arias and appeared in a live colour production of The Sleeping Beauty aired on NBC. Thanks to her international acclaim and many guest artist requests, the Royal Ballet allowed Fonteyn to become a freelance dancer in 1959.
In Margot Fonteyn's ballet career, she has been dancing with different partners, but her most long lasting partner is Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
They were most noted for their classical performances in works such as Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, Les Sylphides, La Bayadère, Swan Lake, and Raymonda, in which Nureyev sometimes adapted choreographies specifically to showcase their talents.
Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed Marguerite and Armand for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev,which no other couple danced until the 21st century.
The 1963 premiere was well publicised before its 1963 opening and teamed them with Michael Somes, one of Margot Fonteyn's dancing partners. Composed as a series of pas de deux, interrupted by only one solo, the ballet built intensity from the initial coup de foudre to the death scene. According to Somes, the pairing of Nureyev and Fonteyn was brilliant, as they were not partners but two stars of equal talent who pushed each other to their best performances. The production was an immediate success, and Marguerite and Armand became a signature work for the duo, sealing their partnership.
In 1961, when Fonteyn was considering retirement, Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Kirov Ballet while dancing in Paris. Margot Fonteyn danced with him in his début with the Royal Ballet in Giselle on 21 February 1962. The duo immediately became an international sensation, each dancer pushing the other to their best performances.
"At the end of 'Lac des Cygnes', when she left the stage in her great white tutu I would have followed her to the end of the world."
In 1964, Margot Fonteyn's husband was shot during an assassination attempt and became a quadriplegic, requiring constant care for the remainder of his life. In 1972, Fonteyn went into semi-retirement, although she continued to dance periodically until the end of the decade.
In 1979, she was fêted by the Royal Ballet and officially pronounced the prima ballerina assoluta of the company.
Margot Fonteyn retired to Panama, where she spent her time writing books, raising cattle, and caring for her husband. She died from ovarian cancer exactly 29 years after her premiere with Nureyev in Giselle.
Biography of Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev is a Russian ballet and contemporary dancer, choreographer and director of ballet.
Endowed with an extraordinary technique, Rudolf Nureyev was considered as the greatest male ballet dander of his generation and one of the greatest choreographers, and was nicknamed "The lord of dance". Nureyev was one of the best interpreters of classic Russian ballet as well as of contemporary dances.
Soon after his defection, Dame Ninette de Valois, director of The Royal Ballet in London offered Rudolf Nureyev a contract to join The Royal Ballet as Principal Dancer, and it was here he met Margot Fonteyn, the Prima Ballerina of The Royal Ballet, and danced with her for the first time in Giselle, a ballet matinée on 21 February 1962. Thus the most legendary partnership in the 20th century dance world was formed.
Nureyev stayed with the Royal Ballet until 1970, when he was promoted to Principal Guest Artist, enabling him to concentrate on his increasing schedule of international guest appearances and tours. But he continued to perform regularly with The Royal Ballet until committing his future to the Paris Opera Ballet in the 1980s.
Rudolf Nureyev served as director of the Paris Opera Ballet 1983 to 1989. In addition to his technical prowess, Rudolf Nureyev was an accomplished choreographer serving as the chief choreographer of the Paris Opera Ballet. He produced his own interpretations of numerous classical works, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadère.
He also served as mentor of many young dancers working in Paris Opera Ballet, such as Sylvie Guillem, Isabelle Guérin, Manuel Legris, Elisabeth Maurin, Élisabeth Platel, Charles Jude, and Monique Loudières,etc.
In 1984, Rudolf Nureyev tested positive for HIV, but he continued to work relentlessly as dancer, choreographer and director of Paris Opera Ballet, not leaving the post until 1989.\
On 8 October 1992, Nureyev danced at the premiere at Palais Garnier of a new production of La Bayadère that he choreographed after Marius Petipa for the Paris Opera Ballet.
The ballet was a personal triumph although the gravity of his condition was evident. The French Culture Minister, Jack Lang, presented him that evening on stage with France's highest cultural award, the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. That would be Rudolf Nureyev's last public appearance.
On 6 January 1993, Rudolf Nureyev died from AIDS complications at hospital Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Levallois-Perretat, age 54. His funeral was held in the marble foyer of the Paris Garnier Opera House.
After so many years of having been denied a place in the Mariinsky Ballet history, Nureyev's reputation was restored. His name was reentered in the history of the Mariinsky and some of his personal effects were placed on display at the theatre museum in St. Petersburg. At the famed Vaganova Academy a rehearsal room was named in his honour. And At the Paris Opera there is a tradition to organize a dance night as homage to Rudolf Nureyev every ten years after he died in 1993.
Rudolf Noureevn est un danseur classique, chorégraphe et directeur de ballet d'origine tatare né le 17 mars 1938 à Irkoutsk (Union soviétique) et mort le 6 janvier 1993 à Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine).
Doué d'une technique exemplaire, Rudolf Noureev est considéré comme le plus grand danseur classique et comme l'un des plus grands chorégraphesn. Il est surnommé le « seigneur de la danse ».
Rudolf Noureev fut l'un des meilleurs interprètes du répertoire classique, mais il affirma aussi son talent dans la danse contemporaine et fut l'un des premiers danseurs à s'intéresser de nouveau au répertoire baroque
Profile of Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis (born Bernard Schwartz; June 3, 1925 - September 29, 2010) was an American film actor whose career spanned six decades but who achieved the height of his popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. He acted in more than 100 films in roles covering a wide range of genres, from light comedy to serious drama. In his later years, Curtis made numerous television appearances.
Although his early film roles mainly took advantage of his good looks, by the latter half of the 1950s he had demonstrated range and depth in numerous dramatic and comedy roles. By the time he starred in Houdini (1953) with his wife Janet Leigh, "his first clear success," notes critic David Thomson, his acting had progressed immensely.
He achieved his first serious recognition as a dramatic actor in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) with co-star Burt Lancaster. The following year he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in The Defiant Ones (1958) alongside Sidney Poitier (who was also nominated in the same category). Curtis then gave what could arguably be called his best performance: three interrelated roles in the comedy Some Like It Hot (1959). Thomson called it an "outrageous film," and an American Film Institute survey voted it the funniest American film ever made. The film co-starred Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, and was directed by Billy Wilder. That was followed by Blake Edwards’s Operation Petticoat (1959) with Cary Grant. They were both frantic comedies, and displayed his impeccable comic timing.
His stardom and film career declined considerably after 1960. His most significant dramatic part came in 1968 when he starred in the true-life drama The Boston Strangler, which some consider his last major film role. The part reinforced his reputation as a serious actor with his chilling portrayal of serial killer Albert DeSalvo.
He later starred alongside Roger Moore in the TV series The Persuaders!, with Curtis playing American millionaire Danny Wilde. The series ran twenty-four episodes.
Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz on June 3, 1925, at the Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital on 105th Street in Manhattan, New York City, his parents were Jewish emigrants from Czechoslovakia and Hungary, his father was a tailor and the family lived in the back of the shop.
Tony Curtis did not learn English until he was five or six, delaying his schooling. At 16, he had his first small acting part in a school stage play.
Inspired by Cary Grant's role in Destination Tokyo and Tyrone Power's in Crash Dive (1943), Tony Curtis enlisted in the United States Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor by joining the Pacific submarine force.
Following his discharge from the Navy, Curtis studied acting at The New School in Greenwich Village under the influential German stage director Erwin Piscator.
In 1948, Curtis arrived in Hollywood at age 23, on the plane to California, he met Jack Warner.
At Universal Pictures, he changed his name from Bernard Schwartz to Anthony Curtis. The first name was from the novel Anthony Adverse and "Curtis" was from Kurtz, a surname in his mother's family, he also learned fencing and riding, in keeping with the cinematic themes of the era.
In 1959, Tony Curtis co-starred with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's comedy Some like it hot. It was a huge success and became a classic; In the same year he starred alongside Cary Grant in equally popular Operation Petticoat, a military comedy directed by Blake Edwards.
In 1960, Kirk Douglas offered Curtis a key role in the former's epic production Spartacus. After that Tony Curtis movie career went downward, and after a decade of making non remarkable films, he turned his attention to TV, and one of the most memorable was the ITC TV series The Persuaders !, in which he played American millionaire Danny Wilde.
The fundamental requirements about a high class con man are that they should be personable, well dressed, amiable, well mannered, good looking, attractive to women, and utterly without conscience or scruple. I'm glad to say, I fit that bill to the letter."
In 1995, Tony Curtis received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France.
In March 2006, Curtis received the Sony Ericsson Empire Lifetime Achievement Award.
In October 2008, Curtis's autographs American Prince: A Memoir, was published.In it, he describes his encounters with other Hollywood legends of the time including Frank Sinatra and James Dean, as well as his hard-knock childhood and path to success.
The following year he published his next book, The Making of Some Like it Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American Movie. Curtis shared his memories of the making of the movie, in particular about Marilyn Monroe, whose antics and attitude on the set made everyone miserable.
Curtis was married six times. His first wife was actress Janet Leigh, to whom he was married from 1951 to 1962, and with whom he fathered actresses Kelly and Jamie Lee. "For a while, we were Hollywood's golden couple," he said. "I was very dedicated and devoted to Janet, and on top of my trade, but in her eyes that goldenness started to wear off. I realized that whatever I was, I wasn't enough for Janet. That hurt me a lot and broke my heart."
The couple divorced in 1962.
In 1963, Curtis married Christine Kaufmann, the 18-year-old German co-star of his latest film, Taras Bulba. He stated that his marriage with Leigh had effectively ended "a year earlier". Curtis and Kaufmann had two daughters, Alexandra (born July 19, 1964) and Allegra (born July 11, 1966). They divorced in 1968. Kaufmann resumed her career, which she had interrupted during her marriage.
His sixth and last wife, Jill Vandenberg, was 45 years his junior. They met in a restaurant in 1993 and married on November 6, 1998. "The age gap doesn't bother us. We laugh a lot. My body is functioning and everything is good. She's the sexiest woman I've ever known. We don't think about time. I don't use Viagra either. There are 50 ways to please your lover."
Throughout his life, Curtis enjoyed painting and, since the early 1980s, painted as a second career. His work could command more than $ 25,000 a canvas, and in the last years of his life, he concentrated on painting rather than movies. A surrealist, Curtis claimed Van Gogh, Paul Matisse, Picasso, and Magritte as influences. "I still make movies but I'm not that interested in them any more. But I paint all the time." In 2007, his painting The Red Table was on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. His paintings can also be seen at the Tony Vanderploeg Gallery in Carmel, California.
On July 8, 2010, Curtis, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), was hospitalized in Las Vegas after suffering an asthma attack during a book-signing engagement in Henderson, Nevada, where he lived.
Curtis died at his Henderson home on September 29, 2010, of cardiac arrest. His widow Jill Vandenberg told the press that Curtis had suffered from various lung problems for years as a result of cigarette smoking, although he had quit smoking about 30 years earlier.