Rowena Jackson

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Rowena Othlie Jackson MBE (born 24 March 1926) is a New Zealand former prima ballerina.

Early life[edit]

Jackson was born in Invercargill, to William Ernest Jackson and Lilliane Jane, née Solomon. She attended Epsom Girls' Grammar School, in Auckland, and in 1941 won the first Royal Academy of Dancing Scholarship in New Zealand.[1]


In 1946, Jackson joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet in London. She was notable for her role as Swanhilda in the ballet Coppélia, and danced with Robert Helpmann and her husband Philip Chatfield.

By February 1954, she had been promoted to prima ballerina at Sadler's Wells Ballet.[2]

In 1959, Jackson held the world record for multiple fouettés performed sur place.[1]

Honours and awards[edit]

In the 1961 New Year Honours she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to ballet.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Jackson, Rowena Othlie, M.B.E". Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. 1966. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Dancer Rowena Jackson, new Prima Ballerina in the Sadler's Wells Ballet Company, in her dressing room at Covent Garden, London, February 25th 1954". Getty Images. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "No. 42233". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1960. p. 8928. 

External links[edit]