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Ashton, Sir Frederick William Mallandaine (1904–1988), choreographer and director, was born on 17 September 1904 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the fourth of the five children of George Ashton (1864–1924) and his second wife, Georgiana (1869–1939), daughter of Henry Fulcher and his wife, Edith. His father was manager of the ...

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Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton (1904–1988) by Baron, c. 1945 Getty Images – Baron

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Robert Bradley (1908–1972) by unknown photographer, 1934 [centre, in the musical Evergreen] Getty Images

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Bradley, Robert [Buddy] (1908–1972), choreographer, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on 24 July 1908, the son of Robert Louis Bradley and his wife, Georgia Marguerite, née Walker. He was educated at Harrisburg high school, and on leaving school was apprenticed as a sign writer. He made his stage début as a dancer in 1926 at the ...

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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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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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Phyllis Selina Dixey (1914–1964) by unknown photographer, 1940 © Getty Images

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Dixey, Phyllis Selina (1914–1964), variety and striptease artiste, was born on 10 February 1914 at 330 Kingston Road, Merton, Surrey, the second child of Ernest Dixey (1891–1972), ship's steward and later railway attendant, from Sevenoaks, Kent, and his wife, (Phyllis) Selina (1891–1978), daughter of ...

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

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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...