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Merle Park

(b. 1937)


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(b Salisbury, Rhodesia, 8 Oct. 1937)

British dancer and teacher. She studied with Betty Lamb in Rhodesia, at the Elmhurst School in England (from 1951), and at the Royal Ballet School (from 1954). She joined Sadler's Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet) in 1954, promoted to principal in 1959. A brilliant technician and a glamorous stage personality, Park danced all the ballerina roles in the classical repertoire, and was particularly acclaimed for her Aurora. She created roles in Tudor's Shadowplay (1967), Ashton's Jazz Calendar (1968) and The Walk to the Paradise Garden (1972), Nureyev's London Nutcracker (Clara, 1968), MacMillan's Elite Syncopations (1974), Mayerling (1978), La Fin du jour (1979), Isadora (title role, 1981), and Bintley's Adieu (1980). Director of the Royal Ballet School (1983–98). Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1986.

Subjects: Dance.


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