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Pearl Argyle

(1910—1947)


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(orig. Pearl Wellman; b Johannesburg, 7 Nov. 1910; d Hollywood, Calif., 29 Jan. 1947)

South African-British dancer. She studied with Rambert and Legat and made her debut in 1926 with Rambert's company, becoming ballerina with the Carmargo Society and also performing with Les Ballets 1933. She was then principal dancer with the Vic-Wells Ballet (1935–8). She also danced in musicals and revues, including Cochran's 1932 production, Magic Nights (mus. various, chor. Bradley and Ashton). In 1938 she moved to the US where she performed in several Broadway musicals including One Touch of Venus (mus. Weill, chor. de Mille, 1943). Though never a strong technician she was noted for her outstanding beauty, especially her exquisite hands and arms. As an early muse to Ashton she created roles in his Façade and Lady of Shalott (both 1931); he wrote of her: ‘she was an inspiration, one became drunk with her beauty.’ She also created roles in de Valois's Bar aux Folies-Bergère and Howard's Mermaid (both 1934).


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