Star US-French Ballerina Rosella Hightower Dies
Star US-French ballerina Rosella Hightower, who danced with Rudolf Nureyev and was ballet mistress at the Paris Opera and Milan’s La Scala, died overnight Monday to Tuesday aged 88.
Her daughter Dominique Monet Robier said that Hightower, who was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, passed away in the Riviera city of Cannes after suffering several strokes.
Hightower’s dancing debut was with the prestigious Ballet Russe in Monte Carlo in 1938. She then joined the US Ballet Theatre and was given her first role as ballerina with New York’s Metropolitan Opera in Giselle.
She reached the pinnacle of dance in the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1947 she joined the Nouveau Ballet de Monte-Carlo later named Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas where she danced until 1961, her partners including Rudolf Nureyev. The company was named after a Chilean who married John D. Rockefeller’s grand-daughter and was to become the last of the great independent ballet companies.
Hightower in the 1960s and 1970s was named ballet mistress at the Marseille and Nancy operas in France before being appointed ballet mistress to the Paris Opera from 1981 to 1983 – where she unveiled star dancer Patrick Dupond – and then La Scala from 1983 to 1986.
She married painter and interior decorator Jean Robier and set up her own ballet school in Cannes in the 1960s where she taught dance until 2000.
Her last appearance on stage was in 1991 in Harold and Maud choreographed for her by Etienne Frey.