Anton Dolin

Anton Dolin
Anton Dolin

Anton Dolin was a British ballet dance who has acted in some films.   He was born in 1904 in Sussex.   He was principal dancer with Serge Diaghilev’s Baller Russee in 1924.  His films include “Invitation to the Waltz” and “Never Let Me Go”.    He died in 1983.

“New York Times” obituary:

Sir Anton Dolin, whose early career in Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes led him to become the first internationally acclaimed British male ballet star and who was a founding member of major ballet companies in Britain and the United States, died Friday in Paris.

Friends in New York said he had died of a heart attack in the American Hospital after becoming ill on his way to stage a ballet for the Ballet The^atre de Nancy. He was 79 years old and lived in London.

As a choreographer, teacher, coach and lecturer, Sir Anton continued in later years to be a familiar figure on the American ballet scene.

On Nov. 10, he took part in the Houston Ballet’s gala honoring the defunct Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. On Sept. 3, at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, Mass., he performed in a one- man show about Diaghilev, the famed impresario who had launched his career. Authority on the Classics

In 1939, Sir Anton became a charter member of Ballet Theater, now American Ballet Theater. Although he had first attracted attention for his athletic and acrobatic prowess in avant-garde Diaghilev ballets such as ”Le Train Bleu,” he gained considerable experience in the 19th-century classics in later years.

It was as an authority on the classics that Ballet Theater engaged him in 1940 as ballet master, choreographer and premier danseur. Sir Anton staged Ballet Theater’s productions of ”Giselle” and ”Swan Lake” in the company’s debut season.

One of his most famous stagings was ”Pas de Quatre,” a look back at 19th- century Romantic ballet in his own choreography for dancers portraying four celebrated ballerinas. Later he choreographed a modern counterpart for male dancers in his virtuoso showpiece ”Variations for Four.”

As a dancer, Sir Anton repeatedly found himself the male star in ballet companies that were launched under his auspices or in which he played an influential role. When British ballet was in its infancy, Dame Ninette de Valois asked him to dance in her productions for the Camargo Society, which he helped form in 1930. When she founded what is now the Royal Ballet, Sir Anton and Dame Alicia Markova were its stars.

The two young Diaghilev alumni formed one of the great partnerships of classical ballet. In 1935, both dancers left the Vic-Wells Ballet to form their own company, the Markova-Dolin Ballet, which continued until 1938. From 1945 to 1948 they headed a touring unit.

In 1949, they established a new British troupe, which became London’s Festival Ballet in 1950. As its artistic director and principal dancer until 1961, Sir Anton promoted an eclectic repertory and touring policy that made Festival Ballet the popular British company it is today. He was knighted in 1981. A Native of Sussex

Sir Anton was of Irish descent and was born on July 27, 1904, in Sussex, England. His real name was Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healey- Kay. His friends called him Pat. A child actor who studied ballet in Brighton and then in London with the Russian ballerina Serafima Astafieva, the young dancer first adopted the pseudonym Patrikeyev.

After dancing in the corps de ballet in Diaghilev’s 1921 London production of ”The Sleeping Princess,” he changed his name to Dolin. He became a soloist with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1924. Leaving the company in 1925, he rejoined it for its final years in 1928 and 1929.

”He does possess a true style,” Diaghilev wrote to his secretary, Boris Kochno, in 1924.

In 1980, Ninette de Valois defined that style as follows: ”In the mid- 1920’s, his dancing brought a spark of virility to the male classical dance picture. It was Bronislava Nijinska who first brought out his particular virtuoso form of attack; it had nothing in common with the purer form of accepted classical virtuosity.”

Sir Anton became known as an excellent partner in the many companies in which he was a guest artist. A witty raconteur, he was the author of six books, including several memoirs.

The above “New York Times” obituary can also be accessed online here.

Anton Dolin
Anton Dolin

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