Park, Merle

Dame Merle Florence Park, DBE (born 1937, Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe)) was a prima ballerina. She joined the Royal Ballet in 1954 and became a soloist in 1958. At the age of 19 she danced the role of “The Milkmaid” in Façade in the Royal Opera House Company’s Silver Jubilee gala on 6 May 1956. Her performance was admired for its “brilliance of execution and virtuoso technique”.[1] She was then chosen as one of the three soloists for the November 1959 première of the Ashton/Nureyev production of La Bayadère. Her first full-length roles were Swanhilda in Coppélia and Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée. She created the role of Clara, partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, in The Nutcracker for the Royal Ballet in 1963, which was her breakthrough.

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Dame Merle Florence Park, DBE (born 1937, Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe)) was a prima ballerina. She joined the Royal Ballet in 1954 and became a soloist in 1958. At the age of 19 she danced the role of “The Milkmaid” in Façade in the Royal Opera House Company’s Silver Jubilee gala on 6 May 1956. Her performance was admired for its “brilliance of execution and virtuoso technique”.[1] She was then chosen as one of the three soloists for the November 1959 première of the Ashton/Nureyev production of La Bayadère. Her first full-length roles were Swanhilda in Coppélia and Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée. She created the role of Clara, partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, in The Nutcracker for the Royal Ballet in 1963, which was her breakthrough.

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