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Algeranoff, Harcourt [real name Harcourt Algernon Leighton Essex] (1903–1967), dancer and ballet master, was born in London on 18 April 1903, the son of Thomas Richard Essex, a sculptor, and his wife, Alice Kendall. He was named Harcourt Algernon Leighton Essex. He dropped his original name and assumed that of ...

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Benesh [née Rothwell], Joan Dorothy (1920–2014), ballet dancer and choreologist, was born on 26 March 1920 at 14 Menlove Avenue, Wavertree, Liverpool, the only daughter and elder child of Reginald Edward Rothwell (1893–1950), army officer and engineer, and his wife ...

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Beriosova, Svetlana (1932–1998), ballet dancer, was born on 24 September 1932 at Kaunas, Lithuania, the daughter of Nicholas Beriozoff (1906–1996), dancer and ballet master, then a member of the Lithuanian State Ballet, and his first wife, Maria (d. 1941). Her grandparents had migrated to ...

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Svetlana Beriosova (1932–1998) by Baron, 1954 [ and Michael Somes (1917-1994), in Rinaldo and Armida] Corbis

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Blair, David [real name David Butterfield] (1932–1976), ballet dancer, was born David Butterfield on 27 July 1932 at the Royal Halifax Infirmary, Halifax, Yorkshire, the elder child and only son of John Butterfield, moquette weaver, and his wife, Zetté Carolyne Elizabeth Whiteley...

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Brae, June [real name June Telfer Bear] (1917–2000), ballet dancer, was born at St Ives, Ringwood, Hampshire, on 17 May 1917, the daughter of John McMillan Bear, a civil engineer, and his wife, May Alfreda Byerley. She travelled as a child to ...

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Joseph Knight

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Byrne, Oscar (bap. 1796, d. 1867), ballet master, named Byrn but known as Byrne, was baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn, London, on 16 January 1796, the son of James Byrne (1756–1844), an actor and ballet master, and his wife, Lucy (d. 1845)...

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Cranko, John Cyril (1927–1973), ballet dancer and choreographer, was born on 15 August 1927 in Rustenburg, about 60 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa, the only child of Herbert Cranko, a lawyer who later went on to practise in Johannesburg itself, and his wife, ...

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John Cyril Cranko (1927–1973) by Sir Cecil Beaton, 1956 © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby's; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dolin, Sir Anton [real name Sydney Francis Patrick Chippindall Healey Kay] (1904–1983), ballet dancer, was born in Slinfold, Sussex, on 27 July 1904, the second of three sons (there were no daughters) of Henry George Kay, amateur cricketer, and later master and owner of the ...