Lydia Lopokova

(1891—1981) ballet dancer

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(b St Petersburg, 21 Oct. 1891; d Seaford, 8 Jun. 1981)

Russian-British dancer, sister of Andrei and Fyodor Lopukhov. She studied at the Imperial Theatre School with Fokine, making her debut when still a child and graduating in 1909 into the Mariinsky Theatre. In 1910 she joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and performed with that company for many seasons before its disbanding in 1929. During this period she also danced in the US, both on Broadway and in Mordkin's company, and in London with Massine, Sokolova, de Valois and Woizikovsky. A dancer of considerable charm and musicality, who displayed an infectious pleasure in performing, she was at her best in witty demi-caractère roles. She created roles in Massine's Les Femmes de bonne humeur and Parade (both 1917) and Boutique fantasque (1919), and was also one of the Auroras in Diaghilev's production of The Sleeping Princess (1921). Having settled in London with her husband, the economist John Maynard Keynes, she was a founder member of the Camargo Society creating the Tango in Ashton's Façade (1931) and dancing Swanilda in the Vic-Wells Ballet's production of Coppélia (1933). She also worked as an actress at various times between 1910 and 1916, 1923 and 1924, and during the 1930s, performing Olivia in Twelfth Night (1933) and Nora in A Doll's House (1934). With Keynes she founded the Cambridge Arts Theatre in 1935.

Subjects: Dance.

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