Doyenne of Dance Dies

09/15/1997 AT 12:00 AM EDT

Dame Ninette de Valois, 102, the founder of Britain's Royal Ballet and the doyenne of dance responsible for launching ballet star Margot Fonteyn, died at her London home on Thursday, reports Reuters. Ever demanding, de Valois not only helped to nurture Fonteyn and other then-unknowns, but also was brave enough to invite Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev to appear with her company at the height of the Cold War.

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