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Born in Surrey, England in 1919, Margot Fonteyn joined Sadler’s Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet) during the 1930s. By her 20th birthday, she was the star of the company, inspiring Frederick Ashton to choreograph roles for her and stealing the hearts of every audience who saw her.

Most ballet fans know her as the female half of the Nureyev-Fonteyn pair, famous for their performances of Romeo and Juliet, among other romantic pairings. While Fonteyn was almost 40 years old when they danced together for the first time, and, therefore, should have been on the brink of retirement, the perfect match that was Nureyev-Fonteyn inspired her to keep dancing. The partnership was a fiery one, with enough grace and beauty to fill the theater up to the very last row of the audience. Dame Margot Fonteyn passed away in 1991 in her adopted country, Panama.

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