Michael Somes
(1917 - 1994) age 77
Above: Margot Fonteyn Black Swan, Swan Lake from Royal Ballet Program
Fonteyn & Nureyev
Upon arrival for class, Maria Dare informed me that a private rehearsal in the studio was running overtime.  I was to go to the dressing room and wait.  Finally Maria issued the all clear.  I bounded toward the swinging door that opened into the studio. I gave the door a push, swinging it wide open, almost slapping Margot Fonteyn who was attempting to use the door to exit the studio. Neither of us said a word.  I was too dumfounded.  I never expected to see Margot Fonteyn up close, certainly not in my studio.  But there she stood just inches away, wearing leg warmers full of holes, and a slip top for a leotard.  Not a hair out of place. Still in shock, I saw but a flash of Nureyev as he exited through the office door.  Nureyev was the Top dancer on Maria Dare's list. It must have taken all here might to appear casual while he used The Ballet House for his rehearsals when performing in Portland.
Margot Fonteyn
Rudolf Nureyev
(1919-1991) age 72
(1917-2009) age 92
Above: Michael Somes as The Prince in Cinderella
(1938 -1993) age 55
George Zoritch
Fonteyn influenced the world. Her name was THE NAME in ballet for decades.

She was born as Margaret Evelyn Hookham, in Reigate, England.  She began ballet classes at age 4.  She then studied in China for 6 years, then at age 14, returned to study in London. at the Vic-Wells Ballet School. (evolved into the Royal Ballet).  In 1939, she was 20 years old and a Prima Ballerina.

Fonteyn’s Partners
Dame Margot danced through several ballet partners.  In the 1940’s she partnered with Robert Helpmann.  In the 1950’s she partnered with Michael Somes.  Rudolph Nureyev defected from the USSR in 1961 and soon thereafter, replaced Somes as Fonteyn’s partner.  Nureyev and Fonteyn were a winning combination at box offices for years.
Michael Somes, born in Horsley, UK,  received the 1st boys scholarship awarded by the school of the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1934. (Vic-Wells became  Sadler's Wells Ballet, and in 1956, the Royal Ballet.)  Sir Fredrick Ashton choreographed about 30 diverse roles for Michael Somes  including. "Symphonic Variations," "Dante Sonata," "Cinderella," "Tiresias," "Daphnis and Chloe" and "Ondine."  Somes partnered Margot Fonteyn for several years.  Rudolph Nureyev defected from USSR in 1961.  That year Somes retired from performing classical ballet roles, but continued to perform character parts.  He served as an assistant director under Ashton from 1963 to 1970, and also helped supervise productions of Ashton works for the Joffrey Ballet in the 1970's.  Somes died in London 1994.
see also:
Nureyev was born in Irkutsk, Siberia.  As a child he loved to dance, and participated in Bashkir folk dancing when given a chance.  But, his early years coincided with WWII.  He began ballet classes at age 11, taking from local teachers.  According to Nureyev, “"I approach dancing from a different angle than those who begin dancing at 8 or 9. Those who have studied from the beginning never question anything."  His professional career was launched by being an extra at a local opera when he was 15.  He soon landed a job with the corps de ballet and toured with them in Moscow.  In 1955, aged 17, he entered the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, St. Petersburg, associated with Kirov Ballet Company (now Mariinsky).  He became Kirov Ballet’s principal in 1958.  In 1961, while on tour, he defected in Paris.  He was soon partnering Dame Margot Fonteyn with The Royal Ballet in London.  He remained the world’s #1 dancer for years.
see also
The Nureyev Foundation

Final Years
Finally the fountain of youth ran dry. I recall the time when Fonteyn and Nureyev performed in Portland Oregon. Afterward, The Ballet House dressing room filled with critics.  Most complained that Dame Fonteyn was "Too Old" to be on the stage and needed to retire.  The Royal Ballet, film, Romeo and Juliet  was recorded during the later part of Fonteyn’s dancing career, when audiences were casting their votes for her retirement.  The film shows that Margot Fonteyn’s technique was still superb.  Her dancing remained beautiful.  The problem was, she just didn’t look like a 16 year old Juliet any more.  Margot danced her last performance in Nureyev's 1979 summer season at age 60.  Her last stage appearance was as The Queen in Sleeping Beauty, 1986, for the Birmingham Royal Ballet in Miami FL.  She then retired to Panama.  When her husband “died in 1989 Margot discovered that he had mortgaged their farm and she had to auction all her jewelry to pay for her own medical care...”  Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias died of cancer in Panama City, in 1991.
Above: Margot Fonteyn from Royal Ballet program
Margot Fonteyn & Rudolf Nureyev
Swan Lake photo by Colin Jones
Memories from The Ballet House 1960s
Michael Somes
In the 1960’s I took a Master Class from Michael Somes.  It was a great class, but most remarkable to me was his chain smoking.  He began a cross floor demonstration with a cigarette in his hand.  It was half ashes.  He flew into the air in an extremely high jump.  When he landed, every ash was still intact on his cigarette.  How did he do that???
Margot Fonteyn  &
Michael Somes - Tchaikovsky ballet masterpieces
Margot Fonteyn & Rudolf Nureyev
Stills from
Royal Ballet’s film Romeo & Juliet
Above: Margot Fonteyn & Michael Somes
The Royal Ballet Program, 1963
Above: Michael Somes
Above: Rudolf Nureyev Royal Ballet Program 1963(?)
Above: Rudolf Nureyev
Above: Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev
He was born 1917 in Moscow, as Yuri Zoritch, during the Russian Revolution.  His family moved to Lithuania where he began is ballet training.  His family then moved to Paris where he continued his studies.  He made his debut with Ida Rubinstein's company in 1933, at age 16.  He danced with several ballet companies,  He joined de Basil's Ballets Russes in 1936, where Leonide Massine created dance roles for him, including Jardin Public and Symphonie Fantastique.  He then joined Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo which relocated to USA at the beginning of WWII, and Zoritch relocated with them.  He remained a strong force in Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo until it dissolved in 1962.  In 1964, Xoritch opened a ballet school in West Hollywood California.  From that point on, he dedicated himself to dance students, teaching at his own school, and at Master Classes throughout the USA.  He taught at the University of Arizona from 1973 - 1987.  Afterward he continued to teach Master Classes and shared ballet history on film.  He died 2009, in Tucson Arizona.  In 1994 George Zoritch was among the 1st American dancers, choreographers and writers honored by being awarded the Vaslav Nijinsky Medall, sponsored by the Polish Artists Agency in Warsaw.
Above, & left,: George Zoritch
from Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo Program 1960-1
Above: George Zoritch & Nina Novak
Above: George Zoritch
from Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo Program 1960-1
Abov:, Autographed Photos, that belonged to Maria Dare.  I think it is written,
“George Zoritch is 60.”
Maria Dare Dance History Collection
George Zoritch
His Master Class ebbed & flowed, from slow to quick, gentle to powerful, and back again.  His energy filled the studio.  His music lifted the spirit.  For years, he sold his class music on records; I believe the pianist was his brother.
Memories from The Ballet House
Memories from The Ballet House 1960s
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Updated: Feb. 21, 2021
© = R. W. Faulkner