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Westminster Abbey Memorial For Royal Ballet Founders

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Westminster Abbey will unveil its first memorial to a dance company when a plaque for The Royal Ballet founders is dedicated during a service on 17 November.

The specially commissioned flagstone commemorates Royal Ballet founder Dame Ninette de Valois, founder choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton, founder music director Constant Lambert, and Dame Margot Fonteyn, its Prima Ballerina Assoluta.
The four were instrumental in establishing The Royal Ballet in the 1930s in a relatively short period of time and in a country with no tradition of state- or monarch-sponsored ballet. This is unlike other countries, such as Russia and France, whose imperial families patronised classical ballet and set up ballet schools as long ago at the 17th century.

Talking about the memorial, Dame Monica Mason, director of The Royal Ballet said: “It is a fitting honour that the founders of The Royal Ballet are recognised. Dame Ninette de Valois worked tirelessly to establish her companies and school. With Frederick Ashton, Constant Lambert and Margot Fonteyn, she brought ballet to a huge new audience. Through their immense contribution, ballet in Britain is now a thriving art form and The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School are known throughout the world.”

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