Dancer, Teacher and Artistic Advisor Bella Malinka Dall Dies at 98

June 7, 2021

Bella Malinka Dall, October 5, 1922–May 12, 2021, is fondly remembered by a wealth of students who began their dedication to the discipline of dance in her ballet class at the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts from 1949 to 1981. Many went on to make their own marks in the ballet world and on Broadway.

As a dancer, Dall performed with a number of dance companies, including the Metropolitan Opera touring company under Lillian Moore. In the Connecticut Opera, she performed Carmen by Bizet (1944), and for Toledo Opera, she danced in The New Moon by Sigmund Romberg and Katinka by Rudolf Friml in 1945. She toured with Stage Door Follies in the 1940s, and danced in such operettas as The Merry Widow by Franz Lehár, The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg, Rose-Marie by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, and The Firefly by Rudolf Friml. She also danced with modern dancer Marie Marchowsky’s company, with Indian dancer Bhupesh Guha, as well as in vaudeville, nightclubs, and for the USO.

Dall taught at the June Taylor School of Dance in the late 1960s, was director and teacher at Utah State University in Logan, UT, and also for the South Bronx Community Project at PS 5. She was a guest teacher for Katherine Dunham’s School of Dance, for Ballet Puertorriqueño, Rallou Manou in Athens, Greece, and for Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech. During the summers from 1973 to 1979, Dall taught master classes for Alfonso Figueroa’s Birmingham Civic Ballet. She also presented lecture-demonstrations on various topics. One of these, Young Dancers, was broadcast on CBS TV in February 1961. She wrote the script for and narrated the television program, as well as for the assembly version for the school. Also served as artistic advisor to Heidi Latsky Dance for 25 years.

Her thoughts on ballet were that “you never conquer ballet; you make peace with it.” She is survived by her son, Ivan Dall.

Donations can be made in the name of Bella Malinka to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center and the Jerome Robbins Foundation. —Ivan Dall