Lydia Kyasht


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(b St Petersburg, 25 Mar. 1885; d London, 11 Jan. 1959)

Russian-British dancer and teacher. She studied at the St Petersburg Imperial Ballet School with Gerdt and graduated into the Mariinsky Theatre in 1902, dancing there until 1908. She was also a soloist with the Bolshoi (1903–4) and performed in various concert recitals. She claimed to be the first to dance Fokine's Dying Swan in 1905. In 1908 she went to London where she succeeded Genée as prima ballerina at the Empire Theatre, performing there for several seasons until 1913. In 1912 she also danced with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (and again in 1919), and made her New York debut in 1914. After returning to Russia to dance concert performances (1914–17) she settled in London and founded her own school (which moved to Cirencester in 1948) while also dancing in cabaret and the theatre. In 1939 she founded her own company, Ballet de la Jeunesse Anglaise, which toured England (1939) and Europe (1944) and in 1940 also ran the Lydia Kyasht Ballet. From 1953 she taught at the Legat School. She was author of Romantic Recollections (London, 1929) and was sister of Georgi Kyasht (1873–1936), a soloist at the Mariinsky Theatre and later ballet master at Buenos Aires, Vienna State Opera, and elsewhere.

Subjects: Dance.

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