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SELLING POINTE; Unique tutu worn by legendary ballet dancer goes for four times original estimate at auction.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter

IT all proved all tutu much for ballet fans when a garment worn by one of the world's greatest dancers went under the hammer at a Black Country auction.

The very tutu that was wrapped around the slender waist of ballet legend Dame Alicia Markova during Swan Lake was the star lot at Fieldings Auctioneers' Stourbridge sale on Saturday, realising a staggering PS2,600. That has stunned the auction house which had estimated it would sell for PS600.

The item was purchased by an on-line bidder.

And the fact the auction house uncovered a picture of the Sadler's Wells star in the tutu while she performed as Odette at Covent Garden in 1948 has made the find a real Nutcracker.

The satin garment had not been seen since 1959, but was found among a collection of personal items from Dame Alicia's estate.

Auctioneer and valuer Alison Snowdon told the Mercury: "It is such a lovely thing, but very difficult to put a price on. The fact we had a picture of her wearing it makes the item even more special.

"We believe it is the highest price ever paid for a tutu of this stature."

Dame Alicia, who died in 2004, is recognised as ballet's first superstar. Alison explained: "She is one of only a tiny elite acknowledged as 'prima ballerina assoluta' and was widely considered to be one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of the 20th Century."

Dame Alicia was born Lilian Marks in London on December 1, 1910 and aged just 14 she joined the Monte Carlo based Ballets Russes. In 1931, she was recruited by the newly created Vic-Wells Ballet at Sadlers Wells theatre.

In 1935, Dame Alicia and Anton Dolin formed their own touring company and began performing around the world, including America. She and Dolin appeared in Hollywood film, A Song for Miss Julie.

Dame Alicia was the target of This Is Your Life, in 1960 and 1995, and, in retirement, was made Professor of Ballet and Performing Arts at the University of Cincinatti. The sought-after tutu has the acclaimed dancer's name in handwritten ink on the waistband.

It is believed to have been given to the anonymous seller in 1959 while she worked in the wardrobe department of the Royal Opera House.


Dame Alicia Markova, and, right, her famous tutu, which has been sold for PS2,600

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 10, 2016
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