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Nadia Nerina Collection

Collection: Nadia Nerina Collection
Reference code: ROH/NER
Date: 1938 - 1984
Date notes: The non-audio visual material is dated; many of the costumes and accessories are dated; the audio visual material is undated.
Level: Fonds
Extent: 87 black and white photographic prints and 1 black and white photocopy; 7 albums of press cuttings and other ephemera; 1 poster; 2 gala programmes; 1 file of correspondence (352 letters and 36 papers; 12 DVDs (viewing copies); 20 VHS cassettes; 1 Composite Digital Video cassette; 1 Betacam cassette; 8 reel-to-reel tapes; 41 costumes and 45 costume accessories.
Scope and content: The collection contains a small selection of black and white photographic prints including images of Nadia Nerina's 21st birthday celebrations, the Sadler's Wells Ballet tour to America in 1949 and a rehearsal of 'Elektra' in 1963; press cuttings albums of Nadia Nerina's early life in South Africa and her career with the Sadler's Wells Ballet and The Royal Ballet, her many tours, television appearances and variety work; a poster from a Ballet Highlights Tour; gala programmes; correspondence relating to the Anton Dolin International Gala; audio visual material including DVDs, VHS cassettes and reel-to-reel tape recordings of performances including 'Sylvia', 'La Fille mal gardée', 'Petrushka', Coppélia', 'Giselle', 'The Firebird' and 'The Golden Hour' television programme; and costumes and costume accessories including tutus, pointe shoes and hair accessories worn by Nadia Nerina during her career with Sadler's Wells Ballet, The Royal Ballet and during the Ballet Highlights Tours.
Creator: Nadia Nerina
Archival history: Nadia Nerina was born in South Africa in 1927 as Nadine Judd. She began dance classes at the age of 8 and trained with teachers Eileen Keegan and Dorothea McNair in Durban. Nerina came to London on October 1945 first going to the School and Company at the Mercury Theatre led by Marie Rambert. She then switched to the school attached to Ninette de Valois’s Sadler’s Wells Ballet.

Nerina made her debut with the Sadler’s Wells Ballet at the opening night of the Royal Opera House in February 1946, as a nursemaid in ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. She then joined Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet and later transferred to the Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1947. Frederick Ashton created the role of the Spring Fairy in ‘Cinderella’ for Nerina in 1948, and also other new roles in ‘Homage to the Queen’, ‘Variations on a Theme of Purcell’ and ‘Birthday Offering’. She also danced the leads in ‘Cinderella’, ‘Sylvia’ and ‘Ondine’. Nerina also excelled in Mikhail Fokine’s ballets including ‘The Firebird’ and ‘Petrushka’, and was also chosen by Léonide Massine to dance the Can-Can Dancer in ‘La Boutique fantasque’ and the title role of ‘Mam’zelle Angot’, both in 1947.

In 1954 Nerina was cast by Ninette de Valois as Swanilda in a new production of ‘Coppélia’ with David Blair, but she is especially remembered for creating the role of Lise in Frederick Ashton’s ‘La Fille mal gardée’, 1960. Nerina danced as a guest artist with many overseas companies including both the Bolshoi Ballet and the Kirov Ballet in Russia in 1960, and American Ballet Theatre in 1967.

Nadia Nerina was notable for reaching a public beyond the Royal Opera House as during the 1950s and 1960s she made regular television appearances in broadcasts of Sadler’s Wells and Royal Ballet performances. She also toured through Africa with Alexis Rassine from 1952 to 1955 and Britain, again with Rassine, from 1956 to 1960. She also made appearances in the television shows 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium', partnered by Rudolf Nureyev in 1962, 'The Royal Variety Performance' in 1963, and was a regular on the bill at the Frankie Vaughan Variety Show at the Palace Theatre, London, in 1958.

She married businessman Charles Gordon in 1955 and in 1969 retired to the south of France. In her retirement she organised charity galas and was a judge for ballet competitions. She died in Beaulieu-sur-Mer in October 2008 and was survived by her husband.
Source of acquisition: Acquired from Charles Gordon via the Philip Loubser Foundation.
System of arrangement: The collection is divided into Audio Visual material which is catalogued consecutively by type e.g. DVD, VHS cassette; non-Audio Visual material which is divided into three series: black and white photographic prints, press cuttings albums, and gala programmes; 1 file of correspondence and 1 poster (item); and costumes and costume accessories which are catalogued consecutively. All costumes and accessories have been photographed and the images attached to the catalogue records. A selection of the non-Audio Visual material has been photographed or scanned and the image attached to the catalogue record.
Access conditions: The collection is available for viewing in ROH Collections by appointment only. Original prints and paper materials are accessible.
Language: English; Afrikaans; Dutch; French; Turkish; German; Danish; Swedish; Italian
Condition: Good.