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

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

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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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Bicknell [née Younger], Margaret (1681–1723), actress and dancer, was born on 11 November 1681 in Edinburgh, the daughter of James Younger, a soldier, and his wife, Margaret Keith. Both of her parents were born in Scotland. She was the elder sister of the actress and dancer ...

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Hester Booth (c. 1690–1773) by John Ellys private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Booth [née Santlow], Hester (c. 1690–1773), actress and dancer, was born about 1690. Very little is known about her parents and family background, although her mother, Jane (or Joanna), died in April 1724. She was apprenticed to the dancing-master René Cherrier, probably in 1704, and made her début as a dancer at ...

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Bulkley [née Wilford; other married name Barrisford], Mary (1747/8?–1792), dancer and actress, was the daughter of Edward Wilford (d. 1789), a minor official at Covent Garden. Wilford's sister Priscilla Steevens had in 1744 married John Rich, the proprietor of Covent Garden Theatre...

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George Sainton Kaye Butterworth (1885–1916) by unknown artist, © Lebrecht Music & Arts

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Butterworth, George Sainton Kaye (1885–1916), composer and folk dancer, was born on 12 July 1885 at 16 Westbourne Square, Paddington, London, the only child of Sir Alexander Kaye Butterworth (1854–1946), a solicitor and later general manager of the North Eastern Railway Company, and his wife, ...

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Campion, Mary Anne (c. 1687–1706), singer and dancer, was born of lowly parents, her father having possibly been a servant of William Cavendish, first duke of Devonshire. She displayed a precocious talent on the stage; aged eleven, she was a member of Christopher Rich's...

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See Cary, Anne [name in religion Clementia]

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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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See Ritchard, Cyril Joseph

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Fransiska Elssler (1810–1884) by John Hayter, 1843 © Copyright The British Museum

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Elssler, Fransiska [Fanny] (1810–1884), dancer, was born in a suburb of Vienna, Austria, on 23 June 1810, the seventh of the nine children of Johann Florian Elssler (1769–1843), valet and copyist to Haydn, and his wife, Theresia Prinster (1779–1832), an embroideress. Many stories circulated about her youth, the veracity of which cannot be established, among them that ...

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Essex, John (d. 1744), dancing-master, is of obscure origins, as the place and date of his birth, and his parentage, are unknown. Nothing is known of his early life or his education but by 1702 he was established as a professional dancer at the ...

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Gallini, Sir John Andrew [formerly Giovanni Andrea Battista Gallini] (1728–1805), dancer and theatre manager, was born in Florence, Italy, on 7 January 1728. He was trained in Paris by François Marcel and emigrated to England at an unknown date, though he had been performing at the ...

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Eva Maria Garrick (1724–1822) by William Hogarth, 1757 [The Garricks: and David Garrick (1717-1779)] The Royal Collection © 2004 HM Queen Elizabeth II