Markova, Alicia (1910–2004)

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Markova, Alicia (1910–2004)

Englishborn ballerina. Name variations: Lilian Alicia Marks; Dame Alicia Markova. Pronunciation: Mar-COVE-ah. Born Lilian Alicia Marks in Finsbury, North London, Dec 1, 1910; died Dec 2, 2004, in Bath, England; dau. of Arthur Marks (mining engineer) and Eileen Barry Marks; studied dance with Serafima Astafieva, 1921–25; never married; no children.

One of the most eminent dancers of the 20th century, was a pioneer in the formation of British ballet; began career as dancer in pantomime (1920); received 1st offer to dance in a production by Diaghilev (1921); joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and danced 1st solo role in Le Rossignol (1925); joined Old Vic-Sadler's Wells ballet (1933); gave 1st performance of Giselle (1934); formed MarkovaDolin Ballet (1935); joined Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and made debut in America (1938); joined Ballet Theatre (1941); appeared in Broadway show The Seven Lively Arts (1943–44); with Dolin, founded the London Festival Ballet and promoted interest in classical dance in Great Britain (1950); gave final performance (1962); announced retirement; served as ballet director, Metropolitan Opera (1963–69); taught at University of Cincinnati (1970–74); presented tv series on BBC (1981); was given gala birthday celebration at Sadler's Wells (1990); noted for title roles in The Dying Swan, The Firebird and La Sylphide, as well as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, OdetteOdile in Swan Lake, SugarPlum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and Swanhilda in Coppélia. Received Order of the British Empire (OBE, 1953) and Dame of the British Empire (DBE, 1963).

See also autobiography Markova Remembers (Hamish Hamilton, 1986); Maurice Leonard, Markova: The Legend (Hodder & Stoughton, 1995); and Women in World History.