Nadia Nerina (published 1982)

Dublin Core


Nadia Nerina (published 1982)


Nerina discusses the importance of being trained at a very young age. She mentions how her teachers’ personalities influenced her repertoire. She also discusses starting her professional career at the Sadler’s Wells company and how she created the role of Lise in Frederick Ashton’s staging of La Fille Mal Gardee.

Biographical note:

Nerina was born in South Africa in 1925 and began her training there. In 1945 she moved to London and joined the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet (now known as the Birmingham Royal Ballet) and performed several solo roles. She joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet at Convent Garden (later to become the Royal Ballet), and danced in works created for her by the choreographer Frederick Ashton. In 1960, she was one of the first western dancers to appear with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. She retired from dancing in 1969.


Pratt SILS 665-01, Barbara Newman

Date Created

October 16, 1979



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Is Part Of

Newman, B. (1982). Striking a balance: Dancers talk about dancing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Newman, B. (1992). Striking a balance: Dancers talk about dancing. New York: Limelight Editions.




Interviews recorded on cassette by Barbara Newman

Rights Holder

Barbara Newman, Nadia Nerina

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Audio Cassette Tape

Digital Format


Digital Master

kaye1979oct29_sidea.wav, kaye1979oct29_sideb.wav



Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbps/44.1 kHz


Barbara Newman


Nadia Nerina, 1927-2008


London, UK

Additional content

"Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardée is one of my 'desert island' ballets. It's bad enough living in New York without it, but even a hypothetical eternity without it is unthinkable. Ashton once credited his own "longing for the country of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century" as a factor in his decision to re-create this pre-existing work — Dauberval had choreographed the original Fille in 1789. Musing further on the inspiration for his 1960 version, Ashton continued, "There exists in my imagination a life in the country of eternally late spring, a leafy pastorale of perpetual sunshine and the humming of bees — the suspended stillness of a Constable landscape of my beloved Suffolk, luminous and calm." You and I would have to resign ourselves to seeing such an idyll only in imagination. Ashton lifted it intact from his and put it on the stage in the form of his Fille Mal Gardée Since he has also said, " I think the choreographer should always try to work with his dancers, drawing expression from them rather than imposing actions on them," it's safe to assume that Fille would have been a different ballet had different dancers created it. Talking to Nadia Nerina was like approaching the source of my own enchantment," Barbara Newman (1992).




“Nadia Nerina (published 1982),” Dance Dialogues: Interviews by Barbara Newman, 1979-Present, accessed June 28, 2022,

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