Support America’s National Ballet Company® DONATE NOW

Repertory Archive

Sallie Wilson


Sallie Wilson was born in Fort Worth, Texas where she received her early ballet training from Dorothy Colter Edwards. She came to New York at age 16 and studied with Margaret Craske and Antony Tudor, whose teaching remains a lasting influence and inspiration throughout her career. Wilson enjoyed a performing career that spanned 31 years and five continents. With American Ballet Theatre (then Ballet Theatre), which she joined in 1949, she was known as the foremost exponent of the ballets of Antony Tudor and Agnes de Mille, and she also danced the works of Michel Fokine, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Glen Tetly, Herbert Ross, José Limón, and Alvin Ailey, along with the Petipa classics in that repertoire. She joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and returned to Ballet Theatre in 1955, becoming a Soloist in 1957 and a Principal in 1961. She spent two seasons with New York City Ballet dancing in the ballets of Balanchine and Robbins; and she danced the role of Queen Elizabeth in the historic Episodes, choreographed there by Martha Graham and George Balanchine. Since her retirement from the stage, Wilson was herself a teacher, and was entrusted with the care and setting of Tudor’s ballets throughout the world. She also restaged other ballets, such as Giselle, Swan Lake, and Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend and Three Virgins and a Devil. She was a choreographer in her own right, having created an elaborate production of Benjamin Britten’s Prince of the Pagodas for Carla Fracci at La Fenice in Venice, and several other works for companies in the United States, France, and Italy. This staging of Judgment of Paris was Wilson’s sixth for American Ballet Theatre since Three Virgins and a Devil in 1993. Wilson died in April, 2008.