Olga Preobrajenska


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(b St Petersburg, 2 Feb. 1871; d Saint-Mandé, France, 27 Dec. 1962)

Russian-French dancer and teacher. She studied at the Imperial Theatre School in St Petersburg from 1879, where her teachers included Petipa and Ivanov. Later she trained with Cecchetti in St Petersburg. She graduated in 1889 into the Mariinsky Theatre where she was promoted to soloist (1896) and prima ballerina (1990). During her two decades at the Mariinsky she danced all the leading ballerina roles, although was particularly noted in Coppélia, Raymonda, Sleeping Beauty, Fille mal gardée, and Don Quixote. She created roles in Petipa's Bluebeard (1896), Harlequinade (1900), and Les Saisons (1900), in Ivanov and Gerdt's Sylvia (1901), N. and S. Legat's The Fairy Doll (1903), and in Fokine's The Night of Terpsichore (1908), Egyptian Nights (1908), and his second version of Chopiniana (1908). From 1895 she began to make guest appearances abroad, in Paris, London, even S. America. Short, stocky and even ‘plain-looking’ as one critic described her, she was also exceptionally charming on stage and was admired for her strong, precise technique and interpretative versatility. In 1914 she began teaching in St Petersburg, where her students included Danilova and Vaganova. In 1921 she left the Soviet Union and took her teaching career to Milan, London, Buenos Aires, and Berlin, before eventually settling in Paris in 1923. For almost 40 years she was one of the most famous teachers in Paris, working from her studio at the Salle Wacker, and her students included Baronova, Toumanova, and Youskevitch. She retired in 1960.

Subjects: Dance.

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