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Franca, Celia [real name Nita Celia Franks] (1921–2007), ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet director, was born on 25 June 1921 at 57 Nicholas Street, Mile End, London, the daughter of Solomon Franks, boot salesman, later ladies' outfitter, and his wife, Gertie, née...

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Celia Franca (1921–2007) by Janine, 1960 courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada archives

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Grant, Alexander Marshall (1925–2011), dancer and ballet director, was born on 22 February 1925 in Wellington, New Zealand, the elder son of Alexander Grant, hotelier, and his wife, Eleather. He was educated at Wellington College. From the age of seven he had dancing lessons from local teachers, ...

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Howard, Robin Jared Stanley (1924–1989), patron of ballet and the performing arts, was born in Mayfair, London, on 17 May 1924, the son of Sir Arthur Jared Palmer Howard and Lady Lorna Baldwin (d. 1989). His paternal great-grandfather was Donald Alexander Smith, ...

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Morrice, Norman Alexander (1931–2008), choreographer and ballet director, was born on 10 September 1931 in Agua Dulce, Mexico, the younger child of British parents, his father being an oil engineer. Brought up from the age of six by his grandmother at Aboyne, Scotland...

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Georgina Julia Parkinson (1938–2009) by Roy Round, 1964 © Roy Round; by kind permission of the Round family

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Parkinson, Georgina Julia (1938–2009), ballerina and ballet mistress, was born on 20 August 1938 at 45 Embassy Court, King's Road, Brighton, Sussex, the daughter of George Parkinson, a turf accountant or bookmaker, and his wife, Winifred, née Berg. Her father became addicted to gambling and his losses kept his family perpetually short of money. She nevertheless led an active childhood. In a much later interview she said, 'I did just about everything. I used to ice skate, play the piano, take singing lessons and dramatic art and of course, ballet lessons as well. It soon became clear that I was better at ballet than any of the other things' (...

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Dame Marie Rambert (1888–1982) by Gordon Anthony, 1938 V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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Rambert, Dame Marie [née Cyvia Ramberg] (1888–1982), ballet dancer and founder of the Rambert Dance Company, was born in Poland on 20 February 1888 at Warsaw, then under Russian domination, the third of six children (four girls and two boys) of Yakov Ramberg...

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Valois, Dame Ninette de [real name Edris Stannus; married name Edris Connell] (1898–2001), ballet dancer, choreographer, and founder of the Royal Ballet, was born on 7 June 1898 at Baltiboys, a country estate near Blessington, co. Wicklow, Ireland, the younger daughter and second of four children of ...