Derra de Moroda, Friderica

BORN 2 Jun 1897, Pressburg (now: Bratislava) - DIED 19 Jun 1978, Salzburg
GRAVE LOCATION Salzburg: Aigen Friedhof, Neuhäuslweg 1 (Gruppe 508, Reihe 10, Nummer 13-14)

Friderica Derra de Moroda was the daughter of the Greek writer Simeon Julius Derra de Moroda the Hungarian art historian Olga born von Rémethy. In 1902 the family moved to Vienna and after her father's death to Munich. There she took ballet lessons from 1908 to 1912. On 22 February 1912 she debuted at the Wiener Secession as a freelance dancer.

She went to London in 1913. There she danced in music halls and pantomines. In 1916 she played in the silent movie "Lead, Kindly Light". She started her first dance school in 1918. Around that time she also started collecting dance literature. From 1918 to 1922 she was taught by Enrico Cecchetti. She was connected to the city of Salzburg through her sister Minka, who had married Ludwig Schmederer, the president of the Kunstverin in Salzburg. On 12 March 1923 Friderica first performed in Salzburg and before she returned to London she gave a solo dance performance at the Mozarteum on 16 May 1923.

In 1933 she was the choreographer of "The Whitsun King" that was successfully performed at the Coliseum in London. She became a British citizen in 1936 but she continued teaching in the Third Reich. For a few days in May 1940 she was imprisoned in a police prison in Salzburg because she came from an enemy country, but she was soon released. In 1941 her house in London was hit by a German air raid and part of her collection was destroyed. By that time she had moved to Berlin and in 1941 she became the director of the ballet of Kraft durch Freude in Berlin. She toured with the ballet until 1944. During her time in Berlin she searched bookstores for rare dance books and shipped them to England. Towards the end of the war she was interned in camp Liebenau at Lake Constance until she was freed by the Allied troops.

After the war she returned to Salzburg. From 1947 she lived with her sister Minka in the villa Villa Schemederer at the Kreuzbergpromenade and she inherited it from Minka after her death on 7 December 1950. There she ran a ballet school from 1952 to 1966. Many of her students were members of the ballet of the Landestheater in Salzburg. Margot Werner was a pupil. She was an expert on 18-th century dance notation and she created a large library of dance literature. In 1974 she became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In 1977 she received a honourary doctorate from the University of Salzburg. She donated her archives to the University of Salzburg in 1975 and she died in 1978 in that city.

Related persons
• corresponded with Tietjen, Heinz
• was teacher of Werner, Margot


The grave of Friderica Derra de Moroda at Friedhof Aigen in Salzburg.
Picture by Androom (01 Sep 2022)


Friderica Derra de Moroda – Wikipedia
Friderica Derra de Moroda - Oxford Reference
Stadt Salzburg - Dr. h. c. Friderica Derra de Moroda

Derwein, Herbert

Published: 25 Nov 2023
Last update: 25 Nov 2023