Sir Anton Dolin was born in Slinfold in Sussex, England. Dolin was trained by the notable Russian teachers Serafima Astafieva and Bronislava Nijinska. Anton joined the Corps de Ballet of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1921. As a soloist with Diaghilev’s company, he created the leading role in Nijinska’s Train Bleu (1924) and an important role (one of two Servants) in George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son (1929). Dolin was also noted for such creations as Satan in Ninette de Valois’s Job (1931) and the title role in Michel Fokine’s Bluebeard (1941).
Dolin was a Principal danseur with the Vic-Wells Ballet (now Royal Ballet) in the 1930s where he danced with Alicia Markova. Later, Dolin and Markova went on to found the Markova-Dolin Ballet. In 1949, he and Markova founded another company that in 1950 became London’s Festival Ballet; Dolin was premier danseur and artistic director until 1961. He then organized and toured with the troupe Stars of the Ballet, worked as choreographer and director of the Rome Opera Ballet, and served as artistic adviser to Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
As a Choreographer, Dolin's original ballets include Capriccioso (1940), The Romantic Age (1942), and Variations for Four (1957), a popular all-male divertissement. Dolin is particularly noted for his reconstruction (1941) of Jules Perrot’s classical divertissement, Pas de Quatre.
Dolin wrote several books, including the autobiography Ballet Go Round (1938) and Alicia Markova: Her Life and Art (1953). He was knighted in 1981, and died in Paris, France in 1983.
Vera was born in
In 1914, Vera Karalli also embarked on a successful acting career, and became one of Russia's first celebrated film actresses. Her first role was in the 1914 Pyotr Chardynin directed drama Ty pomnish' li? opposite the successful actor Ivan Mozzhukhin. From 1914 to 1919, Vera Karalli would appear in approximately sixteen Russian silent films, including the 1915 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace entitled Voyna i mir.
Her last film appearance was in a German dramatic release entitled Die Reiche einer Frau in 1921. Often chosen as a leading lady by the notable director Yevgeni Bauer, Karalli is possibly best recalled for her performances in the Bauer directed adaptations of novelist Ivan Turgenev's Posle smerti in 1915 and her role as Gizella in the 1917 melodrama Umirayushchii Lebed.
In 1920, Karalli participated in a large a charity concert at the Paris Opéra along with opera singer and dancer Maria Kuznetsova amongst others, to raise funds to aid impoverished fellow Russian émigrés.
Vera Karalli also taught dance in
Mia Slavenska was a famous Croatian-born Prima Ballerina. A dancer since the age of four, she became the Prima Ballerina with the Zagreb Opera. Mia Slavenska was born in what was
She studied in
For many years, Mia danced with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She moved to
Mia opened a ballet studio in
Later Mia moved to
Read a March 1973 Dance Magazine article on Mia, from our collection.
Olga was born in
In 1916, Diaghilev invited her to tour with his Ballets Russes in the
In 1932, Olga made another memorable guest appearance in
In 1939, Olga moved to the
She remained institutionalized until 1963 when, with the help of her friends, Anton Dolin and Felia Doubrovska, she was discharged and settled in Valley Cottage on the Tolstoy Farm. The Tolstoy Farm is a Russian community run by the Tolstoy Foundation in
The BBC put out a short programme about her life in 1964, and two years later Anton Dolin wrote a book about her. The title of both was 'The Sleeping Ballerina'.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Mordkin, Russian dancer and teacher was born in Moscow, on December 9, 1880, into the family of the violinist of the Imperial Theatres. At the age of nine he entered Moscow Imperial Ballet School. Mikhail Mordkin was one of two of the male stars of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1909. Mordkin was trained at the Bolshoi, in
After the first season, he remained in
Alexandra Danilova, or Choura, was born in Peterhorf, Russia on November 20th in 1903. She trained at the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersberg, Russia. After her graduation, she was asked to join the Corps de Ballet of the Soviet State Ballet at the Maryinsky Theatre. Danilova left Russian with the Soviet State Dancers, a company formed by fellow dancer Vladimir Dimitriev. During summer vacation from performances at the Maryinsky, the company toured Berlin, Germany and the dancers defected, never to return to Russia again. The company left Berlin, heading to London, where Danilova joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1924. When Danilova was asked to audition for Diaghilev, she refused, telling him, "If I am good enough for the Maryinsky, then I am good enough for you." That same year, George Balanchine joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes as choreographer.
When Diaghilev died suddenly in 1929, his company was disbanded. Dancers were left to find other companies to dance for, but Danilova was 28 and considered too old for most companies. She was eventually offered a position with the new Col. de Basil's Ballet Russe , by her friend Leonide Massine.
Quickly, as one of the most popular dancers of her time, many theatre's would not book Col. de Basil's Ballet Russe without Danilova! She danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1938 - 1945 where she was often partnered by Freddie Franklin. Danilova also guested with Sadler Wells in 1949, London Festival Ballet in 1952 and created her own "Great Moments of Ballet" tour dancing from 1954-1956.
Her last ballet performance was in 1957, but she appreared in a Broadway comedy/musical in 1958 called Oh, Captain!. She appeared in a single scene, a dance with the show's star, Tony Randall, which stole the show. Danilova was never good at handling her finances and found herself broke and unemployed again when ran into her friend George Balanchine on the streets of
During her career, Danilova danced all the major ballerina roles and created principal roles in Balanchine works like The Triumph of Neptune (1926), Le Bal (1928), Dances concertantes (1944) and La sonnambula (1946). and she Choreographed Coppelia for NYCB in 1974. Danilova was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989. Danilova did make an appearance in the movie "The Turning Point" as a ballet teacher and coach.
Her autobiography, Choura, was published in 1986. There is a fabulous little documentary on Felia Doubrovska, that Danilova appears in. She and Felia are restaging a variation for Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Vera Trefilova was born in Vladikavkaz on October 8, 1875. She studied at the
In 1917 Vera left
She gave her final performance at His Majesty's Theatre in London in 1926. She was married to the dance critic Valerian Svetlov. Vera passed away in Paris July 11, 1943.
He was born Vassily Grigorievich Voskresensky in Kaunas, Lithuania. He is said to have been a colonel in the Cossack army although his claim to the title "Colonel" is disputed. De Basil was demobilised from the army in 1919 and worked as an entrepreneur in Paris.
Following the death of Sergei Diaghilev in 1929, the members of his Ballets Russes went in many directions. De Basil and René Blum, ballet director at the Monte Carlo Opera, founded the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo in 1931. The ballet gave its first performance in Monte Carlo in 1932. Blum and de Basil did not agree artistically, leading to a split, after which Col. Basil renamed his company initially Ballets Russes de Colonel W. de Basil; in 1938 he renamed his company again, as the Covent Garden Russian Ballet; finally, in 1939, he gave the company its final title, the Original Ballet Russe.
Jean Cocteau was born in Maisons-Laffitte, a small village near
Diaghilev challenged Cocteau to write a scenario for the ballet which resulted in Parade and was produced by Diaghilev, designed by Pablo Picasso, and composed by Erik Satie in 1917. Jean Cocteau published articles, interviewed its principal dancers, and created posters that featured the dancers Vaslav Nijinsky and Tamara Karsavina. Between 1912 and 1927, Cocteau provided libretti or scenarios for the ballets Le Dieu Bleu, Parade, Le Train Bleu, and the opera Oedipus Rex. Jean Cocteau (photo right) and Serge Diaghilev on opening night of Le Train Bleu, June 20, 1924.
The Russian ballet-master Diaghilev challenged Cocteau to write a scenario for the ballet which resulted in Parade and was produced by Diaghilev, designed by Pablo Picasso, and composed by Erik Satie in 1917. After his friend and fellow poet Radiguet's sudden death in 1923, he left