Mia Slavenska


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(orig. Corak; b Slavonski-Brod, 20 Feb. 1914; d 5 Oct. 2002)

Yugoslavian-US dancer, teacher, choreographer, and ballet director. She studied at the National Ballet Theatre School in Zagreb with Josephine Weiss and Margarita Froman, took further ballet studies with Leo Dubois in Vienna, and modern dance with Gertrud Kraus, then went to Paris where she studied with Egorova, Kshessinska, and Preobrajenska, later studying with Vincenzo Celli in New York. She had made her stage debut as a child prodigy in 1922 and became renowned for her virtuoso terre-à-terre technique. In 1930 she joined Zagreb Opera Ballet as a soloist, becoming prima ballerina (1934–5), then danced in London and Paris before becoming principal with (Denham's) Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1938–42, later returning as guest artist for various seasons, 1948–56). Between 1944 and 1945 she directed her own touring group, which toured N. and S. America for various seasons between 1947 and 1952. In 1952 she co-founded the Slavenska-Franklin Ballet which toured N. America and abroad for three years. She choreographed several works for these companies including Trilogy (mus. Chopin, Slavenska Thimar and Company, 1945) and also created the role of Blanche in Bettis's A Streetcar Named Desire (with Slavenska-Franklin Ballet, 1952). She continued to guest with many companies including London Festival Ballet and Ballet Theatre (both 1951) and Metropolitan Opera Ballet, New York (1954–5). She was ballerina and guest director with Louisville Ballet (1956–8) and director of Fort Worth Civic Ballet (1958–60). She taught at her own studio in Hollywood (1946–7) and subsequently at several other institutions including Univ. of California at Los Angeles. She starred in Benoit-Levy's film, La Mort du cygne (1938).

Subjects: Dance.

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