ROSELLA HIGHTOWER

Dancer

Star ballerina of the 1950's summers in Deauville

Rosella Hightower was born in 1920 in Oklahoma and arrived in France after the war on the invitation of the Marquis de Cuévas, and joined his Ballet in 1947.

Tall and lively, she has been the Ballet’s prima ballerina for 15 years thanks to an extraordinary technique. She was praised by the press: "Defying gravity, her extreme slow motions where she seems to trace back her own tracks would take the most blasé spectator’s breath away. She dances as everybody should dance, with love and joy”.

From 1949 onwards, the Marquis de Cuévas’s Ballets were invited by François André, director of Cannes and Deauville’s casinos to perform every year during the Deauville casino’s summer season, and during the Cannes casino winter season. Every summer in Deauville, the company presented 8 choreographic galas. The adventure ended in 1962 with the dissolution of the Marquis de Cuévas’ Ballets after the marquis' death.

Rosella Hightower danced one last time in Deauville on August 12th 1961, during a gala dinner held by Le Figaro. On that night, she interpreted Pas de deux with a young defector from Kirov who, on June 16th, had asked for politic asylum at the Bourget airport: Rudolf Noureev.

In 1962, she founded the Cannes’ Ecole Supérieure de Danse (Higher school of dancing), first great private school of choreography. On January 24th 2005, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres decorated her with the “Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur” insigna. She died on November 3rd 2008 in Cannes.