John Gilpin (dancer)

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John Brian Gilpin
John Gilpin 2. Allan Warren.jpg
John Gilpin by Allan Warren
Born (1930-02-10)10 February 1930
Southsea, Hampshire, England, UK
Died 5 September 1983(1983-09-05) (aged 53)
London, England, UK
Resting place Chapel of Peace, Monaco
Spouse(s) Sally Judd (m. 1960–1970)
Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy (m. 1983)
Children 1

John Brian Gilpin (10 February 1930 – 5 September 1983) was a leading English ballet dancer and actor.

Life and career[edit]

Gilpin started dance lessons at the age of seven, studying at the Arts Educational and Ballet Rambert schools.[1]

As a child he appeared in several West End stage successes and in films, such as They Were Sisters and The Years Between, opposite Michael Redgrave. He joined Ballet Rambert for their 18-month stay in Australia and New Zealand in 1947-49.[1] After brief periods with Roland Petit's Ballet de Paris and the Marquis de Cuevas Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo he returned to the UK.

He danced numerous leading roles for the London Festival Ballet and appeared opposite his first wife in The Nutcracker at the Royal Festival Hall in 1962.

Gilpin was Principal Dancer of the London Festival Ballet for over twenty years from its inauguration in 1950 until leg injuries forced his retirement, apart from a short engagement as Guest Artist for the Royal Ballet between 1960 and 1961. He was also artistic director of London Festival Ballet from 1962 to 1968.

His partners included Danilova, Fonteyn, Markova, Sibley, Park, Seymour and Shearer.[1] Gilpin was the recipient of several prizes: the Vaslav Nijinsky (1958), the Etoile d’Or (1964) and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award for services to British Ballet (1963).[1]

He was twice married:

He had a long-time friendship with Anton Dolin.


He died from a heart attack, six weeks after marrying his second wife, Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy.


  1. ^ a b c d Obituary for John Gilpin. Friends of Festival Ballet newsletter, Spring 1984, London.
  • See his autobiography A Dance with Life published by William Kimber, London, in 1982.

External links[edit]