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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: John Field

John Field (22 October 1921 – 3 August 1991) was a renowned ballet dancer, choreographer, director and teacher. He was a member of Vic-Wells Ballet and Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet and was also Artistic Director of the La Scala Theatre Ballet.

Born John Greenfield in Doncaster, Field began training in dance with Edna Slocombe and Shelagh Elliott-Clarke in Liverpool before making his stage debut at the Liverpool Ballet Club in 1938. He then moved to London to train with the Sadler's Wells Ballet School under Ninette de Valois.

Then in 1941 he served in the Royal Air Force during World War II and on his return to Vic-Wells Ballet, he was promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer, partnering many of the leading British ballerinas of the 20th century, including Dame Beryl Grey, Dame Margot Fonteyn and Svetlana Beriosova.

After Vic-Wells he directed at the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and took on the Artistic Director post at La Scala Theatre Ballet in Milan, Italy from 1971 to 1974.

On returning to England in 1975, Field was appointed Director of the Royal Academy of Dancing and was a Director of the British Ballet Organisation. His last post with a professional ballet company was as Artistic Director of the London Festival Ballet, today's English National Ballet.

Following his death in 1991, it was decided to hold a regular summer school in his memory, so the John Field Memorial Ballet Seminars were established in 1993 and ran until 2002.

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