Markova, Dame Alicia

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Markova, Dame Alicia

Dame Alicia Markova (märkō´vä), 1910–2004, English ballerina. Her original name was Lilian Alicia Marks. Markova joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1924 and, in 1931, the Vic-Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet), becoming its first prima ballerina in 1933. In 1935 she formed a company with Anton Dolin. After appearing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1938–41), she danced with Ballet Theatre (1941–44) and other American ballet companies. She worked again with Dolin from 1949 to 1952 in their Festival Ballet company. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1963, the year she retired from dancing. Markova was noted for her purity of line, precise style, and ethereal grace. She excelled in all the classic roles, and her interpretations of Giselle (her signature role), Pas de Quatre,Petrouchka,Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet were exceptionally celebrated. After her retirement, she directed the Metropolitan Opera Ballet for six years, taught, and coached, particularly at the Royal Ballet.

See her Giselle and I (1960); biography by T. Sutton (2013).

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