Lydia Sokolova


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(orig. Hilda Munnings; b Wanstead, 4 Mar. 1896; d Sevenoaks, 5 Feb. 1974)

British dancer. She studied at Stedman's Academy, London, and with Pavlova, Mordkin, Clustine, and, later, Cecchetti. She toured with Mordkin's company in 1911 and danced with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1913–22 and 1923–9). She was among the first English dancers to perform for Diaghilev and it was he who chose her Russian name. Between 1922 and 1923 she danced with Massine's company and with her husband, Nicholas Kremnev, in music halls. She was a lively and dramatic dancer rather than a classical technician and created roles in many Massine ballets, including Boutique fantasque (1919), Le Chant du rossignol, and Sacre du printemps (both 1920). The Miller's Wife in Le Tricorne (1919) was also choreographed on her though Karsavina performed it at the premiere. She also created roles in Nijinsky's Tyl Eulenspiegel (1916), Nijinska's Les Biches and Le Train bleu (both 1924), Romeo and Juliet (1926), and Balanchine's Le Bal (1929). After Diaghilev's company disbanded she danced with Woizikowsky's company in London in 1935 and Lydia Kyasht's Ballet de la Jeunesse Anglaise in 1939. She returned to the stage to perform in Massine's revival of The Good-Humoured Ladies for the Royal Ballet in 1962. Her memoirs, Dancing for Diaghilev, were edited by Richard Buckle (London, 1960).

Subjects: Dance.

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