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Beryl Drusilla de Zoete, also known as Beryl de Sélincourt (1879 in London – 4 March 1962) was an English ballet dancer, orientalist, dance critic, and dance researcher. She is also known as a translator of Italo Svevo and Alberto Moravia.

Born in London, she lived there for most of her life. In 1902 she married Basil de Sélincourt, though the marriage lasted for only a few years.[1] She published poems in the modernist magazine The Open Window.[2] She entered into a lifelong relationship with the Orientalist and translator Arthur Waley, whom she met in 1918 but never married.[1] Her relationship with Arthur Waley was considered an indeterminate relationship in the eyes of observers such as Gerald Brenan. She traveled extensively, particularly in Bali and South Asia.[3]

In the field of dance, she taught eurhythmics, investigated Indian dance and theatre traditions, and collaborated with Walter Spies on Dance and Drama in Bali (1937), which is still a standard reference for traditional Balinese dance and theatrical forms. She studied dance, at least in part with Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in 1913 and 1915, and subsequently taught dance until sometime in the 1920s. She wrote on dance at various times for The Daily Telegraph, the New Statesman and Nation and Ballet (edited by Richard Buckle). She published books on dance in Bali (1938), India (1953) and Sri Lanka (1957).

According to Harold Acton, she had a tendency to overstretch the hospitality of her friends: when Paola Olivetti, a little vexed, went away from one of her villas, Beryl stayed on; she left only when the cook told her he was going on vacation.[4]


  1. ^ a b Papers of Beryl de Zoete at Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.
  2. ^ Modernist Magazines Author Index: Beryl de Zoete Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine and Beryl Drusilla de Zoete Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Marie Rambert, 'Miss Beryl de Zoete: Eastern Dance and the Ballet', The Times, 19 March 1962
  4. ^ H. Acton, More memoirs of an aesthete, Methuen, London, 1970

Further readingEdit

  • Ury, Marian, 'Some Notes Toward a Life of Beryl de Zoete', Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries, XLVIII (1986/87): 1-54. doi:10.14713/jrul.v48i1.1655

External linksEdit