Dorothie Littlefield (1912-1953): Catherine’s sister

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Dorothie was considered a more gifted ballerina than Catherine but lacked her older sister’s drive and discipline.  Her dark, glossy good looks and athletic, fluid style contrasted with Catherine’s cool blonde refinement.  Whereas Catherine was trim, Dorothie struggled with her weight.  She was in many ways overshadowed by her older sister but nevertheless forged an impressive career of her own.  She was the first American teacher hired by George Balanchine for his School of American Ballet and she took part in the early performances of Balanchine’s ballets in America.  For the Philadelphia Ballet Company she excelled as the rebellious Light Maiden in Barn Dance and puckish Kay in The Snow Queen, among many other roles.  She danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, on Broadway in The Vagabond King and in the touring edition of Song of Norway, for which she served as ballet mistress.  Like Catherine she directed ice shows and actually learned to skate (Catherine never did).  Dorothie was known as an excellent teacher with a warm, generous personality.  Patricia Wilde of the New York City Ballet was one of her students.  A brief first marriage to Bill Lane ended in divorce.  She later wed skater Harper Flaherty and had one daughter, named Catherine, before succumbing to a heart attack at age 40.

3 comments

  1. I’m sitting with a 96 year old friend. He was in the broadway show. “song of norway”. Dorothie Littlefield was in the show as well. My friend’s name is Brooks Jackson. He is an original member of New York City Ballet. I’m in the process of writing his memoirs.
    If anyone has any information about this production or Ms Littlefield’s memories about Song Of Norway, I would be greatly appreciated

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