She was beautiful.
She was a legend.
Margot Fonteyn, one of Ballet’s greatest passed away on February 21st, 1991. The New York Times, stated that she redefined the dance on the 20th century, but, although she’s danced as Queen, Princess or Fairy in the end she died almost alone and broke at 71, in Panama, where she lived her last years.
Margot Fonteyn‘s life inspired movies and books and it had two equally important periods. The first as a raising talent, the second as a legend defying time.
Born Margaret Hookham, in England, Peggy‘s family traveled a lot and she spent quite a few years in China, where she took her first ballet classes. After she returned to her homeland, Ninette de Valois spotted her and gave her great opportunities to become a star. By that time, Margaret was already “Margot” and her mother’s maiden name, Fontes, was turned into the French sounding ‘Fonteyn’.
She debuted in 1934 and on the following year was already Frederick Ashton‘s muse. Extremely musical and sensible, soon Margot was also adored by the public.
From all her famous roles, the most acclaimed was her Aurora in Sleeping Beauty According to the critics, to see her dancing the role was as being “at the presence of magic”.
At 42, although contemplating retirement, she began the legendary partnership with 23 years old Rudolf Nureyev. Together they became superstars.
Dancing with Nureyev, gave Margot an extra ten years of a perfect career.
She eventually left the stage when she turned 60, also to dedicate herself to helping her husband, Roberto Arias, who was paralyzed after being shot in a political terrorist attack. Margot was restlessly by his side until his death, in 1989. She spent most of her earnings with her husband’s healthcare and once she herself fell ill, she struggled to make ends meet on her last years. In 1990, when there was a Gala in her homage, she already have been secretly diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but kept it was a secret. She passed on the following year, only two years before Rudolf Nureyev.
30 years later, fans still miss her, and her many videos are the best way to remember an icon that was never replaced.
Giselle, com Rudolf Nureyev
Romeo and Juliet
Marguerite and Armand