Nadia Nerina was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1927. She studied in South Africa and in 1945 went to London where she studied both at the Rambert School and the Sadler's Wells Ballet School. Joined the SWB in 1946, became soloist in 1947 and principal in 1952. She was a virtuoso soubrette dancer noted for her light jumps, strong feet and suuny disposition. She was a favourite of Ashton's and created many roles for him including Cinderella (1948), Hommage to the Queen (1953), Birthday Offering (1956) and Lise in La Fille mal gardée (1960). She appeared as guest artist at the Bolshoi Ballet and the Kirov Ballet in 1960. She retired in 1969.