Nina Verchinina


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(b Moscow, 1912; d Rio de Janeiro, 16 Dec. 1995)

Russian-Brazilian dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She was born in Russia, raised in Shanghai and studied ballet with Preobrajenska and Nijinska, later modern dance with Laban in Germany. From 1929 she danced with Ida Rubinstein's company, moving on to de Basil and Blum's Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo in 1933, where she created roles in Massine's Les Présages and Choreartium (1933), and Symphonie fantastique (1936). She stayed with de Basil following his break with Blum, dancing with his Original Ballet Russe from 1939. She first began to choreograph in 1937 and was invited to work with the San Francisco Ballet (1937–8) and the Ballet Opera of Havana (1942–5). In 1949 she founded her own company in Madrid, for whom she made The Quest and Valse Triste. In the 1950s she moved to South America, working firstly in Argentina then in Brazil where she was choreographer at the Rio de Janeiro City Theatre. Her works there included Tahina Can (mus. Villa-Lobos) and Zuimaaluti (mus. Claudio Santoro). She gave up choreography in the 1960s to devote herself to teaching. With her emphasis on expressionist dance theatre, she was a major influence in the development of modern dance in Brazil.

Subjects: Dance.

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