(b St Petersburg, 12 Jan. 1902; d Hamburg, 14 Mar. 1974)
Russian dancer, teacher, choreographer, and ballet director. He studied with Eugenie (Evgenia) Sokolova in St Petersburg and started teaching while still very young. He married Tatjana Isatchenko, whom he met in Krasnodar, and went with her to Berlin in 1925. He was appointed ballet master at the German State Opera, where he remained for three years; with his wife he opened a school in Berlin in 1928. From 1930 to 1933 he worked as a choreographer for the German UFA Film Company. After that he worked and travelled widely. From 1937 he was ballet master of the Markova-Dolin company; in 1938 he began teaching in Paris and in 1945 was appointed ballet master of the Paris Opera. In 1946–7 he was ballet master with the Ballets des Champs-Elysées and again in 1948 and 1953 with the Metropolitan Ballet in London in 1947. From 1950 to 1952 he was ballet director of the Munich State Opera. After leaving Munich he worked as a choreographer and ballet master in several European locations. He was ballet master in Düsseldorf (1964–7) and at the Hamburg State Opera (1967–70). He staged the first post-war production of La Sylphide for the Ballets des Champs-Elysées in 1946. His best-known work by far is the Grand Pas Classique (mus. Auber, 1949), which is still performed in galas around the world. An influential teacher, his students included Yvette Chauviré, Violette Verdy, and Vera Zorina.