Russian Ballet History

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes 1909-1929

Post Diaghilev Dancers - The New Ballets Russes

Andre Eglevsky (1917 – 1977)

Eglevsky was born in Moscow, but was taken to live in France when he was eight to study ballet with Lubov Egorova, Mathilde Kschessinskaya, Alexandre Volinine, Olga Preobrajenskaya, and Leon Woicikowski in Paris. At the age of fourteen he joined Col. de Basil's Ballet Russe, and after six months was dancing leading roles in such ballets as Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, and Les Présages.  In 1935 he joined Igor Youskevitch as the company's Premier Danseur, and a year later joined René Blum's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.  Eglevsky travelled to the United States in 1937, and was premier danseur with the New York City Ballet until 1938.  After becoming an American citizen, in 1939 he rejoined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, staying there until 1942. For the following four years he danced with the Ballet Theatre now ABT.  He also danced as a guest star with Léonide Massine's Ballet Russe Highlights in 1944 and 1945. In 1946 Eglevsky rejoined Col. de Basil, now director of the Original Ballet Russe, and a year later became premier danseur of Marquis George de Cuevas' Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo. From 1951 to 1958 he was a principal with the New York City Ballet.  Upon his retirement in 1958, Eglevsky and his wife started the Eglevsky Ballet Company.

Nathalie Krassovska (1918 - 2005)

Krassovska was born Natasha Leslie in Petrograd/Lennigrad in 1918. Her grandmother was a soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet, and her mother, Lydia Krassovska, was a dancer with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. She began her ballet training with Olga Preobrajenska and choreographer Bronislava Nijinska.

She danced with Ida Rubinstein's Company at the Paris Opera, Nijinska's Ballet Russe in 1932 and Les Ballets 1933. After Les Ballets, Krassovska partnered with Serge Lifar on a tour in South America. She later danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo between 1935-1950 where she was coached extensively by Mikhail Fokine in Les Sylphides, Le Spectre de la Rose, and Pas de Quatre. Krassovska danced with the London Festival Ballet from 1950 to 1960, and later moved the United States settling in Texas.



Igor Youskevitch (1912-1994)

Igor Youskevitch was born Ukrainian near Kiev.  He graduated from the Russian-Serbian high school in 1930, and attended Belgrade Royal University for one year. Igor made his debut in Paris in 1932, where he remained and studied with Olga Preobrajenska.   In 1934 Igor joined Bronislava Nijinska's “Les Ballets de Paris”, and in 1935 he became a member of Leon Woicikowsky's Ballet Russe Company.  Col. de Basil sponsored Woicikowsky's tour of Australia starring Igor Youskevitch and André Eglevsky in 1937. That same year, Youskevitch became premier danseur of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. He remained there until he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Navy in 1944 during World War II.

 In 1946 he joined Leonide Massine's Ballet Russe Highlights, and that fall he became a premier danseur of Ballet Theatre now ABT. Igor remained with Ballet Theatre until 1955 when he returned to star for Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1960 he rejoined Ballet Theatre as guest artist on their first visit to the Soviet Union.  Igor retired from the stage in 1962, but never from dance.  In 1985 he founded the New York International Ballet Competition and he remained its Artistic Director until his death. 

Anatole Oboukhoffb (1896 - 1962)

Anatole studied at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg and graduated in 1913. He joined the Maryinsky Theatre and was promoted to premier danseur in 1917. Anatole partnered Anna Pavlova on her final Russian tour in 1914. After the Russian Revolution, in 1920 he left the Soviet Union.  He danced with the Romanian Opera Ballet in Bucharest from 1920 to 1922, then with Boris Romanov's Russian Romantic Ballet from 1922 to 1925. He and his wife, Lena, Sonia, Leon Woizikowsk, a former Diaghilev dancer, danced together in the Latvian Opera Ballet in Riga in 1930, at the Ballet de l'Opéra Russe à Paris in 1931, at the Lithuanian Opera Ballet in Kaunas from 1931 until 1935.  Anatole and Vera danced with Col W. de Basil's Ballets Russes during the 1935-1936 season, with René Blum's Ballets de Monte Carlo in the 1936-1937 season, the Markova-Dolin Ballet in 1937.   From 1941 until his death in 1962, Anatole taught at the School of American Ballet in New York. In 1944 he staged the pas de deux from Petipa's Don Quixote with Toumanova and Dolin, for Ballet Theatre, now ABT. 

David Lichine (1910 – 1972)

David's real name was David Liechtenstein. He was born in Rostov-on-Don, U.S.S.R., and he studied dance in Paris with Lubov Egorova and Bronislava Nijinska.  He made his debut with Ida Rubinstein's Company in 1928 and with Anna Pavlova's company in 1930. Lichine danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1932 to 1945.  He danced roles in George Balanchine's Cotillion and Le Bourgeois, Massine's Jeux d'enfants, Le beau Danube and Beach, Choreartium and Les Présages both and Union Pacific.  Lichine started choreographing in 1933. His wife was Tatiana Riabouchinska, whom he was partnered with in most of his ballets. Together, Riabouchinska and Lichine had one daughter, Tanica Lichine.  His many ballets included Francesca in 1937, Prodigal Son in1938 and Graduation Ball in 1940.  Lichine and Tatiana Riabouchinska joined Ballet Theatre, now ABT in 1941. When Mikhail Fokine died in 1942, Lichine finished his ballet Helen of Troy. In 1943 Lichine and Riabouchinska moved to Los Angeles. They opened a ballet school where they both taught.  David continued to choreograph throughout the world.


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