Grey, Beryl (1927—)
Grey, Beryl (1927—)
English ballerina. Born Beryl Elizabeth Groom in Highgate, London, England, in 1927; attended theater schools; early dance training with Madeline Sharp in Bromley; studied at the Sadler's Wells Ballet school under Nicholas Sergevev, Ninette de Valois and Vera Volkova ; married Sven Svenson (a Swedish osteopath), in 1950; children: one son, Ingvar.
One of Britain's most admired ballerinas, Beryl Grey entered the Sadler's Wells Ballet School at age nine and joined the Sadler's Wells (which became the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden), in 1941. Her career break came in 1942, when, due to illnesses in the company while on tour, she danced leading roles in Les Sylphides, Comus, The Gods Go a'Beggin, and the second act of Swan Lake. Months later, on her 15th birthday, Grey appeared as Odette/Odile in the full-length Swan Lake. She subsequently danced nearly every major ballet role, including most all of the classical and
modern ballets from Giselle to Ballet Imperial. Grey also created many new roles, including the memorable Winter Fairy in Frederick Ashton's Cinderella. She has danced with the Royal Ballet in countries all over the world.
Grey resigned from the Royal Ballet in 1957 to become a free-lance artist. That year, she became the first foreign ballerina to be a guest artist with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. In 1964, she became the first Western dancer to appear with the Beijing (Peking) and Shanghai ballets. She recorded her experiences in two books: Red Curtain Up (1958) and Through the Bamboo Curtain (1965). In 1966, Grey was appointed director of the Arts Educational School in London. From 1968 to 1980, she served as the artistic director of the London Festival Ballet.
Grey, who was married in 1950 to Dr. Sven Svenson, a Swedish osteopath, also became a great favorite in Sweden, where she made regular guest appearances with the Royal Swedish Ballet. She has one son, Ingvar.
Grey, Beryl. Through the Bamboo Curtain. NY: Reynal, 1966.