(b St Petersburg, 1 Jul. 1900; d Paris, 7 Oct. 1975)
Russian-French dancer, choreographer, and teacher. He studied with Mordkin and others in Moscow and with Sokolova in St Petersburg and made his debut at Voronezh Opera in 1916. In the same year he became dancer and ballet master at Kharkov Opera. In 1917 he went to Constantinople where in 1918 he created his first ballet and was dancer and ballet master at Sofia Opera (1919–20). After this he danced with many companies including his own Les Ballet Stylisés (1926–8) and Ballets Russes de Boris Kniaseff (1930). He created several ballets for both companies. In 1928 he was dancer and choreographer at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées where he partnered his then wife Spessivtseva, and from 1932 to 1934 he was dancer and ballet master at Paris's Opéra Comique. In 1937 he opened his studio in Paris where his pupils included Chauviré. He also taught in Lausanne, Geneva, Rome, Athens, and Buenos Aires, using his famous ‘barre par terre’ system in which pupils performed classical exercises lying on the floor.