(b St Petersburg, c.1904 (some sources say 1909); d Monte Carlo, Jun. 1978)
Russian dancer, teacher, and opera singer. She studied at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg with Preobrajenska but left Russia after the October Revolution and never graduated. She made her professional debut in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, in 1920, then performed with Boris Romanov's Romantic Ballet in Berlin (from 1921). In 1923 she joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, becoming a ballerina. She created roles in Massine's Zéphyr et Flore (Flore, 1925), Balanchine's Apollon musagète (Terpsichore, 1928) and Le Bal (The Lady, 1929). After Diaghilev's death she danced in the London Cochran revues and with Anatole Vilzak in recitals in Brussels and Paris. In 1933 she danced with Ballets Serge Lifar in London and appeared with de Basil's Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo at Covent Garden in 1937, where she created the role of the Queen in Lichine's Le Lion amoureux. After retiring as a dancer she turned to singing and from 1938 performed as a coloratura soprano in Italy. Eleven years later she opened a ballet school in Paris. Author of Nikitina by Herself (London, 1959).