Nicholas Sergeyev


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(b St Petersburg, 27 Sept. 1876; d Nice, 24 Jun. 1951)

Russian dancer, teacher, ballet master, and director. He studied at the Imperial Theatre School, St Petersburg, and graduated into the Mariinsky Theatre in 1894, becoming a soloist in 1904. In 1903 he became the company's regisseur in charge of notation and in 1914 its regisseur general. During this time he recorded 21 ballets in the Stepanov notation (in varying degrees of completeness) and when he left Russia after the October Revolution he took his scores with him. From these he mounted the productions of the standard classics in the West which in turn formed the basis of most subsequent Western productions, including The Sleeping Princess (Sleeping Beauty) for Diaghilev (1921), Giselle for Spessivtseva at Paris Opera (1924), for London's Camargo Society (1932), for Markova-Dolin Ballet (1935), and for Vic-Wells Ballet (1934), Coppélia for Vic-Wells Ballet (1933) and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1938), Nutcracker and Swan Lake for Vic-Wells Ballet (1934), and Sleeping Beauty for Vic-Wells Ballet (1939). (The historical accuracy of his stagings was recognized when the Royal Ballet took this last production to Leningrad in 1961 and it was compared with older Kirov stagings.) He worked as a ballet master in Riga (1922–4) and also for Pavlova's company and for Opera Privé de Paris (1927–9). In 1934 he founded and directed his own Sergeyev Russian Ballet (performing in the UK) and was chief regisseur for Inglesby's International Ballet (1941–8). The Stepanov scores are now in the Harvard Theater Collection.

Subjects: Dance.

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