Alicia Markova

Dame Alicia Markova, DBE, DMus, (1 December 1910 – 2 December 2004) was an English ballerina and a choreographer, director and teacher of classical ballet. Most noted for her career with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and touring internationally, she was widely considered to be one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of the 20th century. She was the first British dancer to become the principal dancer of a ballet company and, with Dame Margot Fonteyn, is one of only two English dancers to be recognised as a prima ballerina assoluta. She was a founder dancer of the Rambert Dance Company, The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, and was co-founder and director of the English National Ballet. Markova was born as Lilian Alicia Marks on 1 December 1910. Her father, Alfred Marks, was Jewish and her mother Eileen converted to Judaism. They lived in a two bedroom flat in the Finsbury Park district of London. Markova began to dance on medical advice to strengthen her weak limbs. She made her stage debut aged 10, performing the role of Salome in the pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat, for which she was billed as Little Alicia, the child Pavlova.

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