Elaine Fifield Photos
Elaine Fifield Biography
Notable: 1930-1999; Royal Ballet
Elaine Fifield was born in Sydney, Australia, where she studied at the Frances Scully School and with Leon Kellaway. After winning a Royal Academy of Dance scholarship she went to London and studied briefly at the Sadler’s Wells School. She joined Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet in 1947 where she reached the status of principal dancer. In 1954 she joined Sadler’s Wells Ballet and became ballerina with that company in 1956. During this English phase of her career Fifield created roles in John Cranko’s Trisch Trasch Polka and Pineapple Poll (1951) and in Frederick Ashton’s Madame Chrysantheme (1955) and Birthday Offering (1956). During this period of her career she married the conductor John Lanchbery.
Fifield returned to Australia in 1957 to dance with the Borovansky Ballet but retired in 1958. She danced briefly with a small Sydney-based company directed by Robert Pomie and then married a plantation owner from Papua New Guinea, Les Farley. She came back to dancing in 1964 when she joined the Australian Ballet. She danced with the flagship company until 1965 and then again for a short period from 1969. During Fifield’s time with the Australian Ballet, Ray Powell created his Beethoven Dances for her (1971). In the 1970s Fifield also guested with West Australian Ballet and with Ballet Victoria when Laurel Martyn created Cloth of Gold (1972) for her and Rex McNeill.
In an obituary in The Times (London) Fifield is described as ‘everyone’s idea of the perfect dancer: small-boned, her lovely head and neck, beautiful legs and feet were complemented by a true dedication to dance’.
- Elaine Fifield (with Kevin Perkins)
- In my shoes (London: W. H. Allen, 1967)