GASKELL, SONJA (1904–1974), Dutch dancer, choreographer, and ballet director. Gaskell was born in Villkaviskis, Lithuania. She studied in Paris and danced there in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. In 1939 she followed her Dutch husband to Amsterdam, where she taught ballet dancers Russian technique. After World War II she founded her own groups, Ballet Studio '45 (1945) and Ballet Recital (1949–51), became the artistic director of Het National Ballet of Amsterdam, and established the first Netherlands academy of ballet in the Hague, where she was director of the Het Nederlands Ballet. As a choreographer, she created several ballets. From 1968 she worked as a member of the board of the dance department of UNESCO before taking over the Amsterdam company in 1961. In 1966 Gaskell was named officer of the Orde van Oranje-Nassau.
[Marcia B. Siegel /
Amnon Shiloah (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.