Margaret Evelyn Hookham was born on 18 May 1919, in Reigate, Surrey, England. She had a brother, Felix Hookham. In 1923, she started taking dance classes. In 1927, the family moved to Shanghai. There she took ballet lessons from George Goncharov. In 1933, she moved to London with her mother where she joined Vic-Wells Ballet School, founded by Ninette de Valois (1898-2001). She turned her name into Margot Fonteyn. In 1934, Fonteyn made her debut as a snowflake in The Nutcracker with the Vic-Wells Ballet. In 1935, she danced in Frederick Ashton's Le Baiser de la Fee and Escape Me Never. In 1936, in Apparitions. In 1937, Fonteyn appeared as Odette in Le lac des Cygnes, in Les Patineurs and A Wedding Bouquet. In 1946, Fonteyn appeared with Moira Shearer (1926-2006) and Pamela May in Frederick Ashton's Symphonic Variations, at Covent Garden. In 1948, with Roland Petit in Les Demoiselles de la Nuit, for Les Ballets de Paris. In 1949, she went with the Royal Ballet on their American tour. In 1951, Fonteyn was decorated a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1951, she danced in Daphnis and Chloe.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable."
In 1954, she became president of the Royal Academy of Dancing. Also in 1954, Fonteyn appeared in The Firebird. Margot Fonteyn married Robert E. Arias (6 February 1955 - November 1989) in February 1955, at the Panamanian Consulate, in Paris. He was a Panamanian politican. He became the Panamanian ambassador in London. In 1955, Fonteyn appeared as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. In 1956, she became Dame of the Order of the British Empire. In 1957, Fonteyn starred as Cinderella in Cinderella. In 1958, as the Sugar Plum Fairy opposite Somes in The Nutcracker, on British television. Also in 1958, she danced in Ondine.
"Life forms illogical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
In 1960, she received the Order of the Finnish Lion. Fonteyn appeared on stage with Rudolf Nureyev for the first time on 21 February 1962, in Giselle. In 1963, she danced in Ashton's Marguerite and Armand. Her husband, Roberto was permanently paralyzed in 1964, in an assassination attempt. In 1965, Fonteyn danced with Rudolf Nureyev in MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. In 1966, she starred as Juliet opposite Nureyev as Romeo in a film version of Romeo and Juliet. In 1967, Fonteyn and Nureyev appeared in Swan Lake. In 1975, Martha Graham (1894-1991) choreographed Lucifer for Fonteyn and Nureyev. In 1975, her autobiography Margot Fonteyn was published. According to her autobiography Margot Fonteyn by Margot Fonteyn, "Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike." In 1979, Fonteyn received the title Prima Ballerina Assoluta from the Royal Ballet in England. Also in 1979, she presented the television series and book The Magic of Dance. In February 1986, Fonteyn made her last stage apperance as The Queen in The Sleeping Beauty, for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, in Miami. Her husband, Robert Arias died in November 1989. She wrote in her memoirs, "The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous." Margot Fonteyn died of cancer aged 71, on 21 February 1991, in Panama City, Panama. She was buried beside her husband, in Panama.
"Life offstage has sometimes been a wilderness of unpredictables in an unchoreographed world."
Excerpt and Source: Margot Fonteyn by Margot Fonteyn.