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Svetlana Beriosova

(1932—1998) ballet dancer


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(1932–1998)

Lithuanian-born British ballerina who danced the entire classical repertoire and created leading roles in many modern ballets.

Beriosova was brought to the USA in 1940 by her father, the dancer Nicholas Beriosoff, and studied ballet there with Anatole Vilzak and Ludmila Shollar. She made her debut with the Ottawa Ballet Company in Les Sylphides and The Nutcracker in 1947, at the age of fifteen, and then danced with the Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo and the Metropolitan Ballet. During this period she danced in classical works, such as Swan Lake, and also created leading roles in new ballets, such as John Taras's Designs with Strings and Frank Staff's Fanciulla delle rose.

Joining Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet as leading dancer in 1950, Beriosova created the main role in Balanchine's Trumpet Concerto as well as playing more roles from the classical repertoire. Two years later she transferred to Sadler's Wells (now Royal) Ballet as soloist and became the company's prima ballerina in 1955. Major successes thereafter included leading roles in John Cranko's The Shadow (1953), The Prince of the Pagodas (1957), and Antigone (1959); MacMillan's Le Baiser de la fée (1960) and Diversions (1961); and Ashton's Rinaldo and Armida (1955) and Persephone (1961), in which her role involved both speaking and dancing.

During her twenty-five years with the Royal Ballet Beriosova travelled widely and danced at all the greatest venues, including La Scala, Milan. She also featured in the film of The Soldier's Tale (1966) and made many television appearances. After retiring from dancing in 1975 she concentrated on teaching.

Subjects: Dance.


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