Obituary: Paula Hinton

Paula Hinton had two advantages which are rarely combined in a single dancer. She was not only fortunate enough to be born with a talent for drama and movement that made her one of ballet's finest actresses; she also married a successful choreographer, Walter Gore, who created many works for her.

She met Gore when both were dancers in Ballet Rambert. She had discovered ballet as a teenager in Liverpool when, acting in pantomime, she found herself admiring the ballet sections. She began ballet lessons locally, made her dance debut at 12 as Helen of Troy in the Old Vic Company's Tragedy of Faustus, at the Liverpool Playhouse, and joined Ballet Rambert in 1944.

She was cast in small roles in ballets by Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor and Frank Staff. But because of her psychological maturity she quickly progressed to bigger challenges such as the Queen of the Wilis in Giselle and the lead in Gore's Plaisance. Gore at the time was romantically attached to another dancer, Sally Gilmour, and when in 1948 he created Winter Night (during Rambert's Australian tour) for Gilmour, Hinton and himself, the ballet mirrored the real-life triangle of its interpreters.

The next year Gore choreographed Antonia, a melodrama with more than a passing resemblance to Roland Petit's Carmen. Hinton's performance in the title-role was perceived as sensational, with the tenseness of a tightly coiled spring.

Hinton and Gore married in 1950 and soon after left Rambert for a freelance existence. Hinton guested with various companies, often in ballets by Gore; while Gore also accepted a succession of posts as ballet master abroad, and on two occasions launched his own company in Britain - the Walter Gore Ballet (1953-55) and the London Ballet (1961-63).

It was an erratic life, but it did result in Hinton's dancing being widely viewed internationally. She appeared with a long list of companies: the glamorous Ballets des Champs-Elysees in Gore's La Damnee (1951), the National Ballet of Australia, the Frankfurt Ballet, the Norwegian National Ballet, the Harkness Ballet (USA), Ballet Rambert, and many others.

She also danced with Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) in 1951, standing in for an indisposed Alicia Markova in Giselle, a role Markova had transformed into something of a spiritual monument. For Hinton not only had a potent theatricality but also a remarkable physical facility that produced a floating lightness, high jump and exceptional speed. When she danced Fokine's 1914 version of The Golden Cockerel with the revived Original Ballet Russe, one critic wrote: "She made the cockerel inhuman, cold, avian, with that underlying cruelty which only a bird who pecks a king to death could have. Her variation in the first scene had the hard precision of a pair of scissors."

Hinton and Gore (who died in 1979) actually loved animals with a passion, especially birds, perhaps because they had no children. They used to care for sick birds, and one visitor to their London home was startled to find it full of pigeons and their droppings. But they were also kindly towards their fellow dancers and devoted to each other. Hinton continued performing until 1976.

Nadine Meisner

Paula Hinton, ballet dancer: born Ilford, Essex 1 June 1924; married 1950 Walter Gore (died 1979); died Birkenhead, Cheshire 5 November 1996.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam