Lynn Seymour

(b. 1939) Canadian ballet dancer

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(orig. Springbett; b Wainwright, Alta., 8 Mar. 1939)

Canadian dancer and choreographer. She studied in Vancouver and then at Sadler's Wells School. In 1956 she joined Covent Garden Opera Ballet, then moved to the Touring Royal Ballet in 1957, and a year later to the Royal Ballet as a soloist, becoming principal in 1959. Her first created role was the Adolescent in MacMillan's The Burrow (1958), the first of many ballets on which she worked with the choreographer and which showcased her softly lyrical technique and unusual dramatic intensity. Further roles she created with MacMillan included the Girl in Invitation (1960), the Fiancée in Baiser de la fée (1960), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (1965, though Fonteyn danced the role at the ballet's premiere), Anna Andersen in the one-act version of Anastasia (1967) and later the Grand Duchess Anastasia in the three-act version (1971), and Mary Vetsera in Mayerling (1978). These works established her as the leading dance-actress of her generation, projecting a raw immediacy of emotion that had not previously been associated with ballet. However she also danced the classic repertory, including Odette-Odile (1958), Giselle and Aurora (both 1960), and created roles in Ashton ballets including the Young Girl in Two Pigeons (1961) and Natalia Petrovna in A Month in the Country (1976). She was prima ballerina at Berlin Opera Ballet (1966–9) under MacMillan's direction, after which she guested with various companies including London Festival Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and American Ballet Theatre. In 1971 she returned to the Royal Ballet as principal guest ballerina (until 1978) and created her first ballet for the Royal Ballet Choreographic Group in 1973, Night Ride (mus Finnissy). Her other works included Gladly, Sadly, Badly, Madly for LCDT (mus. Davis, 1975), Wolfie for Rambert Dance Company (mus. Mozart, 1987), and Bastet for Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (mus. Berkeley, 1988). She was artistic director of Munich State Opera Ballet (1978–80), then rejoined the Royal briefly as a dancer in 1981, and subsequently as guest coach. She also danced with Northern Ballet Theatre in Lynne's A Simple Man (1987), with Second Stride in Escape at Sea (1993), and with Adventures in Motion Pictures in M. Bourne's Swan Lake (1996) and Cinderella (1997), in which she created the role of the Stepmother.

Subjects: Dance.

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