Sonia Arova

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sonia Arova
Sonia Arova.jpg
Born June 20, 1927 
Died February 4, 2001  (aged 73)

Sonia Arova (Bulgarian: Соня Арова) (June 20, 1927 – February 4, 2001), was a Bulgarian ballerina.


Early life

Sonia Arova was born as Sophie Errio on June 20, 1927 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She grew up in Sofia, she went to a ballet school, where she showed potential that the teachers she had advised her mother to take her to further her training.[1] She began her training in Paris with Olga Preobrajenska. On holiday in Brittany in June 1940 with her best friend, June Ratcliffe, the young girls, Sophie, June and her sister Cecilia, were taken by train to Dax to escape the approaching Germans, by June's mother Andrée Ratcliffe. They eventually caught a ship to Plymouth from Bayonne; reputedly the last ship to leave, after Andrée Ratcliffe, with three children on her passport (her son was at school in England) refused to leave Sophie, as she was then called, alone on the dockside. She never saw her father again. She was reunited with her mother and sister eight years later. In England, the Ratcliffe family paid for her education at the Arts Educational Trust and she eventually joined the International Ballet in 1942.


She worked as a principal ballerina in the Original Ballets Russes, the London Festival Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the National Ballet of Washington, D.C.,[2] and the American Ballet Theatre. She danced with Rudolph Nureyev in their American debut with Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet troupe in New York City (1962).[3][4][5][6] She was a great success, with kings and queens presenting her presents in appreciation of her work. She became Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Norway in 1966 and remained in the position until 1970.[7][8]

In 1971, she co-directed the San Diego Ballet with her husband Thor Sutowski. The couple accepted teaching posts at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in 1976. During their stay, she was artistic director of the Alabama Ballet. In 1996, the pair returned to San Diego, California, where her daughter, Ariane, lived. In a ceremony at the United Nations, she was made a Dame by King Olaf V of Norway, becoming the second woman so distinguished.[9]


She died from pancreatic cancer in 2001, aged seventy-four.


  1. ^ Sonia Arova; Obituary, by Mary Clarke; The Guardian, 28 March 2001
  2. ^ Sonia Arova, 74, A Ballerina Who Danced with Nureyev, New York Times, February 15, 2001
  3. ^ Ruth Page Dancer is Dead at 92, Proudly American Choreographer by Jack Anderson in The New York Times- Obituaries 9 April 1991 on
  4. ^ Ruth Page - Early Architect of the American Ballet a biographical essay by Joellen A. Meglin on
  5. ^ Rudolf Nureyev 1938 - 1993 by Michelle Potter - on Dance Heritage Coalition at
  6. ^ Rudolf Nureyev, Charismatic Dance Who Gave Fire to Ballet's Image, Dies at 54 by Jack Anderson, The New York Times - Arts Section, 7 January 1993 -on
  7. ^ Sonia Arova, 74, A Ballerina Who Danced with Nureyev, New York Times, February 15, 2001
  8. ^ Sonia Arova - Biography on
  9. ^ Sonia Arova - Biography on

External links

  • Obituary.
  • Sonia Arova on IMDb
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Sonia Arova"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA