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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Submitted by Roger Mellor

Moira Shearer

Moira Shearer (b.1926)

British ballet dancer and actress.

In the 1940s Moira Shearer danced all the major classical ballet roles at Covent Garden and on American tours. She reached a wider public when she starred in the highly successful Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film The Red Shoes (1948).

Born Moira Shearer King in Dunfermline, Fife, she attended Dunfermline High School and went on to study ballet at the Mayfair School and the Nicolas Legat Studio. In 1942 she joined London's Sadler's Wells Ballet, dancing her first role in The Sleeping Beauty at Covent Garden in 1946.

As a ballet dancer, she toured the United States with the Sadler's Wells Ballet in 1949 and 1950-51. In 1955 she joined the Bristol Old Vic company as an actress, playing many leading roles there and at the London Old Vic, including the title character in George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara. She has also appeared on TV, lectured in America on the history of ballet, and performed regularly with her husband, the writer and broadcaster Sir Ludovic Kennedy.

A regular reviewer for London newspapers, Lady Kennedy also wrote "Balletmaster: A Dancer's View of George Balanchine" (1986).

The Penguin Biographical Dictionary of Women, © Market House Books Ltd 1998

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