Theater archives

Margot Fonteyn in America: A Celebration


Serendipitously, the opening of ‘Margot Fonteyn in America: A Celebration’ took place on what would have been the 85th birthday of the world’s most beloved ballerina. Joy Williams Brown and Robert Gottlieb, curators of this lovely, intimate exhibition, have focused on the dual aspects of their subject’s legend: Fonteyn’s sublime artistry (a compound of musicality, purity of line, dramatic passion, and impeccable taste) and her personality (an amalgam of empathy, modesty, integrity, courage, and prodigious charisma). Two columns of curved vitrines march down the center of the space. One holds costumes for Fonteyn’s signature roles, first among them Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, with which she captured New York at the debut of England’s Royal (then Sadler’s Wells) Ballet in 1949. The other shelters exquisite gowns by Yves Saint Laurent that enhanced her offstage elegance. The surrounding walls are hung with scrupulously chosen photographs and other paper memorabilia that trace her career, before and after the advent of Rudolf Nureyev, with whom she forged an unforgettable partnership. The entire room seems filled with the fragrance of roses.

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