Mikhail was born in
Mikhail Fokine is one of, if not the, best known choreographer of the 20th century. His ballets are still performed by ballet companies worldwide. In 1907, he choreographed The Dying Swan for Anna Pavlova, in Carnival of Animals which became her iconic solo. He also created Firebird for Pavlova, but after hearing Stravinsky’s music she refused to dance it so Tamara Karsavina danced it.
The first ballet Fokine choreographed for the Maryinsky Theatre was Le Pavillon d'Armide. This ballet was included in the repertoire of the first season of Diaghlev's Ballets Russes, in
Fokine left the Ballets Russes in 1912 because Diaghilev was favoring Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography. He freelanced, finally settling in the
Massine studied at the
Massine became an outstanding-actor dancer. Before joining the Ballets Russes, Massine had considered giving up dance and becoming an actor. Massine continued to choreograph for every major company including three years as lead dancer and choreographer for the Roxy Theatre in
In 1921 Nijinska rejoined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. One of the first pieces she choreographed was "Three Ivans" for Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty, later renamed Sleeping Princess. While she was a dancer with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes she became the chief choreographer of the company. Her first ballets were Igor Stravinsky's "Renard" in 1922 followed by "Les Noces" in 1923.
The following year she choreographed Les Biches, Les Fâcheux and Le Train Bleu. She also helped her brother, Nijinsky with his L'Apres-Midi d'un Faune, and danced in many of his ballets. Nijinska later choreographed for the Paris Opéra, Opéra Russe à Paris, and her own company.
She settled in California and opened a Ballet School. She was a guest teacher at the American Ballet Theatre School. She is considered to be one of the most gifted and original choreographers of the twentieth century.