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Auction proves ballet is new frock and roll; Buyers swan off with Dame Margot's outfits.

Costumes and personal items of legendary ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn fetched more than pounds 640,000 at an auction in London.

Exclusive designer dresses and costumes worn by the popular performer in productions like Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty were among hundreds of other items which were on show at Christie's in Kensington, central London.

Photographs from her most memorable performances, ballet shoes and programmes which charted her prolific dancing career were all up for grabs.

Two Yves-Saint Laurent dresses worn by Dame Fonteyn, who died in 1991, raised pounds 140,000 and clearly caught the imagination of bidders.

But worries that the historic collection would go entirely into the hands of foreign bidders proved unfounded after the Royal Opera House announced it had bought three items privately - including a tutu worn by Dame Margot in Sleeping Beauty.

Francesca Franchi, an archivist at the ROH, said: 'We are grateful to the vendor for this opportunity.'

Christie's said that the entire sale raised pounds 654,144 - an amount that exceeded all expectations.

The ballerina, , was the youngest member of the Vic-Wells corps de ballet in 1934.

By 1940 she was prima ballerina of the Royal Ballet.

She played in both classic roles and new ones created specially for her during her illustrious career.

She enjoyed a legendary partnership with Nureyev and she appeared in productions like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

The collection also included many personal items such as wedding photographs and pictures of her on board a yacht with Sir Winston and Lady Churchill.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 13, 2000
Words:258
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