She was 42, He was 24

April 12, 2012

Today’s DM archival photo shows Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev rehearsing backstage at the Royal House Covet Garden. (Photo by Anthony Crickmay.)  Nureyev defected from Russia in 1961. In 1962 the Fonteyn/Nureyev partnership began with Giselle. Fonteyn wasn’t exactly a spring chicken then (she was 42) and could have easily retired, already a star at the Royal. Instead, arguably the greatest partnership in ballet history began. It lasted for over 15 years. Fonteyn was born in 1919, and didn’t retire until 1979. Do that math! It’s almost unheard of for a ballet dancer to have a career that long. Even after their dancing days were over, their friendship endured until Fonteyn died in 1991 of cancer. Nureyev passed away from AIDS in 1993.

Here’s a video that shows the 1962 Giselle.