”Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike”- Margot Fonteyn
Here at Schön! we marvel at the compelling story of the greatest Ballerina of the Twentieth Century, the late Margot Fonteyn. Enchanting the world with her incomparable finesse for ballet, Fonteyn’s remarkable life story is one that continues to be a topic of much discussion. Born in Reigate, in 1919, Fonteyn learned to dance in China at the age of four laying the foundations for her to establish a career back in England at the age of 16. Her big break came about in 1934 after her performance as a snowflake in the Nutcracker. However, it was her execution of Aurora in the 1955 production of The Sleeping Beauty that gained her the recognition she needed to dominate the ballet world for over 40 years.
As Fonteyn’s career continued to evolve so did her complex love life, and her audience began to follow the stories that surrounded her. Although married to Roberto Arias, a Diplomat and known for his constant infidelities, it was the relationship that developed on stage between herself and the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev that fascinated the public. The collaboration of two contrasting personalities, leading entirely opposite lifestyles, created electrifying chemistry on stage. They continued to work together for 17 years in productions such as The Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet to name just a few, until Fonteyn finally retired aged 60. The fiery duo’s relationship is even considered to be the main catalyst that revived and invigorated Fonteyn’s career for so long.
Fonteyn had a chequered history with men, losing her virginity at 16, she soon became a temptress that seduced Lawyers, Composers and dancers alike, with her sweet charisma and exotic beauty.
However, towards the end of her career her personal life took a turn. She took on what could be considered her greatest role in life, dedicating the rest of her days to nurture her husband who became ill after an assassination attempt in 1964. Fonteyn danced Tito’s medical bills away in the last few years of his life, and proved to be as dedicated to the love of her life as she was her career.
In all, Fonteyn proved to echo the characters she was so heavily merited for on stage, mesmerising, admirable and above all an unrivalled star.
Words / Scarlett Casciello-Rogers
Video / nicolezly on Youtube