Olga was probably the best loved ballerina of the Russian Imperial Ballet. Olga was born in Saint Petersburg. In 1879, she joined the Imperial Ballet School, where her teachers were Nicholas Legat, Enrico Cecchetti, and Christian Johansson. After 10 years of intensive training, she moved to the Mariinsky Theatre, where she would work for the next quarter a century. In 1900, she earned the title prima ballerina.
After the Russian Revolution, Olga Preobrajenska dedicated her life to teaching new generations of dancers, first in Petrograd, then in Paris from 1918. Every major mid-20th-century Western dancer visited Olga Preobrajenska for lessons. Tamara Toumanova, Margot Fonteyn, Irina Baronova, Gillian Lynne and Vladimir Dokoudovsky were among the many dancers she coached, and through her students, the Preobrajenska method was soon disseminated in some of the top ballet academies of Europe and New York. The Preobrajenska Method emphasized purity and elegance of movement.
Olga Preobrajenska died in France on December 27, 1962 and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.
Tamara Karsavina was a Principal Artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and later Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. After graduating from the
Tamara Karsavina was the first ballerina to dance in the so-called Le Corsaire Pas de Deux in 1915. It was in late 1910 when she
Tamara was perhaps most famous for dancing the title role in Fokine's The Firebird (a role originally offered to Anna Pavlova, but Anna disliked Stravinsky's score and refused to dance to it!) with her occasional partner Vaslav Nijinsky. Tamara was a leading ballerina of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes from its beginning in 1909 until 1922. Between 1909 and 1914 (paired with Nijinsky until 1913) she created many famous roles including: Fokine's Les Sylphides (first version 1908), Cleopatre (1909), Carnaval (1910), Firebird (1910), Le Spectre de la Rose (1911), Narcisse (1911), Petroushka (1911), Le Dieu bleu (1912), Thamar (1912), Papillon (1912), Daphnis et Chloe (1912) and Le Coq d'or (1914), Nijinsky's Jeux (1913), Massine's Le Tricorne (1919) and Pulcinella (1920).
Tamara married a British diplomat in 1917, and moved outside of London. After settling in Hampstead, England, Karsavina began teaching ballet professionally and would become recognised as one of the founders of modern British ballet. She assisted in the establishment of The Royal Ballet and was a founder member of the Royal Academy of Dance, which is now the world's largest dance teaching organization.
Tamara also coached Margot Fonteyn. Her writings include articles on technique for the journal Dancing Times, her autobiography Theatre Street (1930), and the text Classical Ballet: The Flow of Movement (1962).
Vera was born in
In the 1920s, Vera Karalli taught dance in
Adolph Bolm was a student at the
After the company's second half of the American tour in the Fall of 1916, he decided to stay in the
Bolm passed away on April 16, 1951 in Hollywood California.
Born into a wealthy Jewish family but sadly orphaned at an early age. Ida had, by the standard of Russian ballet, little formal training until she was under the private tutelage of Mikhail Fokine. In 1909, Diaghilev hired her to dacne with his Ballets Russes and she danced the title role of "Cléopâtre" in the innaugural
Ida Rubinstein danced with Diaghilev's Ballet Russe again in the 1910 season, performing in Scheherazade. The ballet is based on the story of the Thousand and One Nights, choreographed by Fokine and written by him and Léon Bakst.
In 1911, she performed in Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien. Gabriele d'Annunzio wrote the part for her and it was scored by Claude Debussy. This was both a triumph for its stylized modernism and a scandal; the Archbishop of Paris requested Catholics not attend because St. Sebastian was being played by a woman and a Jew.
Felia Doubrovska was born in St. Petersburg,
Felia married acclaimed Russian dancer, Pierre Vladimiroff in 1921. They moved to the
Felia retired from performing and became a distinguished teacher at the
Lydia Lopokova was born in
When her marriage to the company's business manager, Randolfo Barrochi, broke down in 1919, the dancer abruptly disappeared, but she decided to rejoin the Diaghilev for the second time in 1921, when she danced the Lilac Fairy and Princess Aurora in 'The Sleeping Princess'. During these years she became a friend of Stravinsky, and of Picasso, who drew her many times.
Lydia was known also as Lady Keynes, the wife of the economist John Maynard Keynes. In 1933, Lydia danced her last ballet role, as Swanilda in Coppélia, for the new Vic-Wells Ballet.
Read about her and her life in Bloomsbury Ballerina.
Lydia Sokolova was Diaghilev’s first English ballerina. Born Hilda Munnings, she trained at
Her last performance was in 1962 when she danced in the Covent Garden Royal Ballet performance of Massine's The Good-Humoured Ladies.
Mikhail Mordkin was one of two of the male stars of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1909. Mordkin was trained at the Bolshoi, in
Mikhail Mordkin was among the first Russian dancers to perform outside Russia. At the invitation of Kaiser Wilhelm he organized a short season in Berlin in the summer of 1908, even before Diaghilev's company opened its first season in Paris.
He joined Diaghilev for the 1909
From among his students in
Olga was a Ukrainian-Russian dancer, better known as the first wife of Pablo Picasso and the mother of his son, Paulo. Olga wanted to be a ballerina from the time she visited
She became a member of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. On May 18, 1917 Olga danced in Parade, on its first night at the Théâtre du Châtelet - a ballet by Sergei Diaghilev, Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau. Pablo Picasso had designed the costumes and set for this ballet. Olga then left the Balelts Russes, which toured South America, to stay with Picasso in
Olga married Picasso on June 18, 1918, in a Russian Orthodox church at the Rue Daru. Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob were witnesses to the marriage. In July 1919, Picasso and Olga went to
Olga was legally married to Picasso until her death from cancer in Cannes, France in 1954.
Lubov ubov Egorova was born in St. Petersberg on August 8th, 1880. She graduated from the
In 1918, Diaghilev brought her to
Lubov married Prince Troubetsky, becoming Princess Nikita Troubetzkoy and began teaching ballet. She was a influential teacher in Paris 1923-1968, among her pupils where Serge Lifar and Anton Dolin. In 1937, she founded a small company called Ballets de la Jeunesse. In 1964, she was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et lettres.