Former Royal Ballet star Nerina dead at 80

Oct. 12, 2008 at 3:35 PM
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NICE, France, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Nadia Nerina, who once earned fame as a dancer in the Royal Ballet, has died in France at the age of 80, the London dance troupe has confirmed.

The Royal Ballet said Nerina, whose technical skills and charming presence earned her principal ballerina honors in the dance company, died of unspecified causes last Monday in the French commune of Beaulieu-sur-Mer after a prolonged illness, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The pinnacle of Nerina's fame came in 1960 when the South African-born dancer performed with Leningrad's Kirov Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, the newspaper said.

During her career, Nerina had a noted rivalry with fellow Royal Ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

That rivalry between the dance partners culminated in a noted "Swan Lake" performance by Nerina in which she completed 32 continuous whip-like turns known as fouettees. That act, which came shortly after a similarly impressive dance maneuver by Nureyev, caused the Russian to storm off the stage.

The Times said Nerina is survived by her husband, Charles Gordon.

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