(b St Petersburg, 22 Mar. 1891; d New York, 30 Jan. 1957)
Russian-US dancer, choreographer, and director. He studied at St Petersburg Imperial Ballet School, graduating in 1909 into the Mariinsky Theatre where he excelled in character roles. He also danced various seasons with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1909–14), and choreographed La Tragédie de Salomé (mus. F. Schmitt, 1913) and Le Rossignol (mus. Stravinsky, 1914) for that company. Between 1914 and 1917 he was choreographer for the Imperial Theatres and became director of the Mariinsky Theatre in 1917. He created many opera divertissements there as well as choreographing avant-garde ballets with his wife Yelena Smirnova for the Litni Miniature Theatre. In 1921 he left Russia, founding the Russian Romantic Ballet in Berlin with Elsa Kruger. This toured Europe with a repertoire of Romanov's own works as well as a critically acclaimed staging of Giselle. After the company disbanded in 1926 he was choreographer at La Scala, Milan, and then ballet master of Pavlova's company. In 1928 he became chief choreographer at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, moving back to Italy in 1934 then in 1938 appointed ballet master of New York Metropolitan Opera House where he remained until 1942, returning again (1945 to 1950). He additionally worked as guest choreographer for several US ballet companies. He was much influenced by Fokine, but during his later career he abandoned the questing, modernist spirit of his earlier works for a more conventional style.