News: Moira Shearer

Friday 3 February 2006

Moira Shearer, dancer with the Sadler’s Wells (now the Royal) ballet and best known for her appearance in the lead role of the film The Red Shoes, has died aged 80.

Having become one of the world’s most famous ballerina’s in the 1940’s, Shearer moved on to become an actress, lecturer and writer.

Mary Clarke highlights her achievements,

“The success and enduring popularity of that_ [The Red Shoes] _film should not, however, overshadow a career that encompassed a comparatively brief, yet distinguished, sojourn in the world of classical ballet, as well as fine achievements as an actor, film star, lecturer, writer and speaker of poetry.”

Guardian, 2 Feb.06

“At one time in the mid-1940s Moira Shearer was compared to the great Margot Fonteyn; in such roles as Cinderella, Odette in Swan Lake and Mam’zelle Angot, she enthralled audiences with her flawless technique, light elegance of style and copper-coloured hair”

Telegraph, 2 Feb.06

Louise Jury looks back on Shearer’s dancing career,

“The role as the young and beautiful ballet dancer Victoria Page, torn between love and her career, made her even more famous overseas than the legendary ballerina Margot Fonteyn.”

“Yet she would have earned her place in ballet history even without The Red Shoes, having created one of the leads in Symphonic Variations, one of the masterpieces of the choreographer Frederick Ashton.”

Independent, 2 Feb.06

Although The Red Shoes firmly placed her, and the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, in the international spotlight; Moira initially had doubts about appearing in the film and afterwards felt that it adversely affected her dancing career.

“From an early age, Shearer had wanted to make her mark entirely by her ability as a dancer, and was unhappy at being singled out often for her exceptionally beautiful face and striking red hair. She was therefore somewhat doubtful about accepting an invitation to star in The Red Shoes, but was persuaded by de Valois that any success she achieved in this would be to the benefit of the company as a whole. In the event, the film achieved a fame beyond all expectations and her performance as the ballerina, acting as well as dancing, brought her international renown.”

Times, 2 Feb.06

The Royal Ballet announced the passing of Moira Shearer & paid tribute to her extraordinary career;
“It is with great sadness The Royal Ballet announces that Moira Shearer died on 31 January 2006. She was 80. “

Monica Mason, Director of The Royal Ballet, says:
‘Everyone in The Royal Ballet Company is very sad to learn of the death of the great ballerina Moira Shearer. She played such an important role in the early years of the Company and her fame and glorious talent helped us acquire the international status we still have today.’

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