|Alicia Markova was the adopted name of the British ballerina Lilian Alicia Marks. Born in Finsbury Park (north London), she was spotted by Sergei Diagilev at the age of fourteen, and danced with his company from 1925 to 1929. It was Diagilev who Russified her surname, to counter the then current prejudice that only Russians could be good ballet dancers. She was first resident ballerina of the Vic-Wells Ballet (1933-1935), where she partnered Anton Dolin. The two dancers subsequently established their own Markova-Dolin Company (1935-1938). From 1938 to 1941 she danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and from 1941 to 1946 she appeared with the American Ballet Theatre. She was particularly associated with the great classical ballets, especially Giselle. In 1950, she founded the Festival Ballet (now the English National Ballet).
Alicia Markova retired from active dancing in 1963. She was created a Dame of the British Empire the same year, and subsequently travelled the world teaching and directing ballet companies. Sometime after suffering a stroke, she died in a hospital in Bath, Somerset, on 2 December 2004, one day after her 94th birthday.
An unmounted gelatin silver print with a glossy finish, the photograph measures 9.5” by 7.7” (241 mm by 195 mm). Alicia Markova has signed the photograph in green ink across the upper left-hand corner. An inked inscription in a period hand on the reverse of the print gives the date, 26 August 1935.
condition: The print has three creases. The least significant of these is one running vertically down the centre, which is only visible from the reverse.
The heaviest crease is a diagonal one across the lower right-hand corner of the print. There is also a small indentation, low down near the right-hand edge,
which can be felt rather than seen.
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