Alida Belair was born in the south of France in 1944, where her parents – Jewish refugees – were in hiding from the Nazis. In 1949 her family emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, where she learnt to dance at the Borovansky Ballet Academy, being declared a “child prodigy” at a very early age. She was soon selected to dance major roles with a group of Borovansky dancers, taking the ballet from the major cities of Australia to the outback.
At seventeen, Alida became the first Australian to train with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. She went on to become principal ballerina at the famous Ballet Rambert, and then moved to the USA where she was invited to dance leading roles with the National Ballet in Washington, the Chicago Ballet, the New York Ballet, and the prestigious American Ballet Theater.
Alida’s relationship with Pilates began in the 1960s and has continued to the present day. She is one of the most sought-after Pilates instructors in Melbourne, where she now lives. Her bestselling autobiography, Out of Step, is celebrated as an Australian classic.