Alexander Grant

(b. 1925)

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(b Wellington, 22 Feb. 1925)

New Zealand dancer and ballet director. He studied with Kathleen O'Brien and Jean Horne and (from 1946) at Sadler's Wells Ballet School, making his debut while still a student. During the Second World War he performed as a song and dance man entertaining the troops in the Pacific then joined Sadler's Wells Ballet (later the Royal Ballet). His first major role was the Barber in Massine's 1947 Covent Garden revival of Mam'zelle Angot and two years later he was promoted to soloist. He became the Royal Ballet's leading character dancer, indeed one of the 20th century's finest character artists, and created roles in many ballets. He was especially associated with the works of Ashton, for whom he created roles in Cinderella (1948), Daphnis and Chloe (1951), Sylvia (1952), Birthday Offering (1956), Ondine (1958), La Fille mal gardée (1960), Persephone (1961), The Dream (1964), Jazz Calendar (1968), Enigma Variations (1968), and A Month in the Country (1976). He was also acclaimed as Petrushka and created the role of Drosselmeyer in the Joffrey Ballet's 1987 production of The Nutcracker. He was a principal with the Royal Ballet from 1950 to 1976. From 1971 to 1975 he ran the Royal Ballet's Ballet for All group. He was artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada (1976–83). He also worked as dancer and coach with London Festival Ballet (1985–9).

Subjects: Dance.

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