(b St Petersburg, 18 Jun. 1905; d Paris, 27 Nov. 1967)
Soviet dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher. He studied at the Petrograd (later Leningrad) Ballet School, graduating into GATOB (later the Kirov) in 1922. He remained there until 1935, dancing principal roles as well as appearing with Evenings of Young Ballet (dir. Balanchine and V. Dmitriev) with which he created a role in Lopukhov's Dance Symphony (1923). He began to teach in 1922 and created his first ballet for the Leningrad Ballet School in 1928. In 1934 he choreographed the full-length Fadetta (mus. from Delibes's Sylvia, later staged by the Maly Theatre, 1936, and by the Bolshoi Ballet, 1952) and in 1935 Katerina (mus. Rubinstein and Adam, later staged by the Kirov, 1936). In 1935 he was made director of the Maly Theatre and in 1938 director of the Kirov where he remained until 1944. His commitment to narrative ballet, using an expanded classical vocabulary and powerfully stylized mime, was exemplified in works like Prisoner of the Caucasus (mus. Asafiev, 1938) and Romeo and Juliet (mus. Prokofiev, 1940). Between 1942 and 1943 he worked at the Spendiarov Theatre in Yerevan then in 1944 he became chief choreographer at the Bolshoi Ballet, remaining there until 1956 and returning again from 1960 to 1964. Here his most important productions included stagings of Giselle (1944) and Raymonda (1945) and new ballets such as The Red Poppy (mus. Glière, 1949), The Legend of the Stone Flower (mus. Prokofiev, 1954), Paganini (mus. Rachmaninoff, 1960), and Night City (set to Bartók's music for The Miraculous Mandarin, 1961), his later ballets showing a trend towards more abstract dance. He also mounted the definitive version of his Romeo and Juliet in 1946. Between 1959 and 1964 he also worked for Moscow's Ballet on Ice Company creating A Winter Fantasy (1959), among other works, and in 1964 he was appointed director of the Bolshoi Ballet School. He was also teacher at the Choreographer's Faculty of the Institute of Theatrical Art (1948–67), becoming professor in 1952. He was married to the dancer Yelena Chikvaidze and was father of the dancer Mikhail Lavrovsky. He was made People's Artist of the USSR in 1965.