17 Facts About Alicia Markova


Dame Alicia Markova DBE was a British ballerina and a choreographer, director and teacher of classical ballet.


Alicia Markova was the first British dancer to become the principal dancer of a ballet company and, with Dame Margot Fonteyn, is one of only two English dancers to be recognised as a prima ballerina assoluta.


Alicia Markova began to dance on medical advice to strengthen her weak limbs.


Alicia Markova began studying ballet with Princess Serafina Astafieva, a Russian ballerina living in London.


At the age of 13, Alicia Markova was observed in class by Diaghilev, who was visiting London in search of new talent for his ballet company.


Alicia Markova invited her to join the Ballets Russes in Monte Carlo, which she did in 1925, one month after her 14th birthday.


Alicia Markova toured extensively for two seasons and in 1936 Prince Wolkonsky joined the company as ballet master.

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Later in 1938 Alicia Markova joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, touring the world as the company's star ballerina.


Alicia Markova was the first to tour ballet throughout the United States, taking the art form to audiences who had never seen ballet before.


Alicia Markova appeared in ballets around the world, but is remembered mostly for her Giselle, as well as for The Dying Swan and Les Sylphides.


Alicia Markova was formed to tour ballets to audiences that would otherwise be unable to experience ballet, and went on to tour extensively to less conventional venues both in the United Kingdom and internationally.


Alicia Markova remained the Prima ballerina until 1952, after which she has appeared regularly as a guest dancer until her retirement from professional dancing.


Alicia Markova retired from professional dancing in January 1963 at the age of 52.


Alicia Markova was responsible for staging a number of ballets that she had performed with the Ballets Russes, coaching dancers for roles she had created for choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton.


Alicia Markova was a governor and regular guest teacher at the Royal Ballet School.


Alicia Markova was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions, in January 1960 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the Royal Festival Hall, and in October 1995, when Michael Aspel surprised her at London's Royal Opera House.


Some time after suffering a stroke, Alicia Markova died on 2 December 2004 in a hospital in Bath, one day after her 94th birthday.