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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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Bradley, Robert [nicknamed Buddy; real name Clarence Bradley Epps] (1905–1972), choreographer, was born Clarence Bradley Epps in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on 25 July 1905. There is uncertainty about the names of his parents, though later in life he gave his father’s name as ...

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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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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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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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MacMillan, Sir Kenneth (1929–1992), choreographer, was born on 11 December 1929 at Dunfermline, Fife, the youngest of five children (one of whom died in infancy) of William MacMillan (1891–1946), labourer and cook, and his wife, Edith (1888–1942), daughter of George Shreeve, of Ormesby...

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Nureyev, Rudolf Hametovich (1938–1993), dancer and choreographer, was born in Siberia in mid-March 1938, the youngest child (after three sisters) of Hamet Nuriakhmetovich Nureyev (1903–1966), a Red Army political officer, and his wife, Farida Agilivulevna (1905–1988). She was on a train to join him near ...

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Pasuka, Berto (1917–1963), dancer, choreographer, and painter, was born Wilbert Winsoff (Bertie) Passley on 18 May 1917 in Kingston, Jamaica. After he left school, his father apprenticed him to a dentist. However, his interests lay elsewhere. As a young man growing up in ...

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Spencer [née Hull], Margaret Annie (Peggy) (1920–2016), dance teacher and choreographer, was born on 24 September 1920 at 45 West Street, Bromley, Kent, the daughter of James Arthur (Jim) Hull (1893–1958), master carpenter, and his wife, Margaret Mary (Maggie), ...

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Spencer [married name Barman], Penelope (1901–1993), dancer and choreographer, was born on 30 December 1901 at 39 Albert Mansions, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea, London, the daughter of Dr Leonard James Spencer (1870–1959), mineralogist, then working as an assistant at the British Museum...

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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 ...