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Repertory Archive

Anton Dolin


Born in England, Anton Dolin was trained by the notable Russian teachers Serafima Astafieva and Bronislava Nijinska. Dolin began his ballet career in 1921 in the corps de ballet of Sergey Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. As a soloist with Diaghilev’s company, he created the leading role in Nijinska’s Train Bleu. Dolin was considered to be one of the finest partners of his time and frequently partnered Alicia Markova. He eventually danced leading roles in numerous classical ballets but was also noted for such creations as Satan in Ninette de Valois’s Job and the title role in Michel Fokine’s Bluebeard.
Active in the formation of many companies, Dolin helped establish the Camargo Society, whose productions greatly influenced British ballet, and he danced leading roles in the first productions of the Vic-Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet). He joined Ballet Theatre(now American Ballet Theatre) at its inception in 1940, remaining until 1946 as a dancer and choreographer. He was also director and principal male dancer of the Markova-Dolin companies. In 1949 he and Markova founded another company that in 1950 became London’s Festival Ballet; there Dolin was premier danseur and artistic director until 1961. He then organized and toured with the troupe Stars of the Ballet, worked as choreographer and director of the Rome Opera Ballet, and served as artistic adviser to Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
As a choreographer Dolin restaged Swan Lake, Giselle,#44; and the last act of The Sleeping Beauty, which he presented alone as Princess Aurora. Dolin is particularly noted for his reconstruction of Jules Perrot’s classical divertissement, Pas de Quatre. His many books on the dance include Ballet Go Round, Pas de Deux: the Art of Partnering, Alicia Markova, Autobiography, and The Sleeping Ballerina: The Story of Olga Spessivtzeva. In 1980 he played the part of the teacher Cecchetti in the motion picture Nijinsky.
Dolin was knighted in 1981 and died in 1983, in Paris.