(orig. Piotr; b St Petersburg, 13 Feb. 1893; d New York, 25 Nov. 1970)
Russian-US dancer and teacher. He studied at the Imperial Theatre School in St Petersburg, a student of Sergei Legat and Mikhail Fokine and in 1911 graduated into the Mariinsky company where he danced until 1918. He was promoted to principal in 1915, inheriting some of Nijinsky's former roles (he was a similarly virtuoso and athletic dancer) and also creating roles in Fokine's Francesca da Rimini and Eros (both 1915). He left revolutionary Russia in 1920, literally skiing his way to freedom with his wife, the ballerina Felia Doubrovska. In the West he joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, with whom he had guested in 1912 and 1914. In 1921 he danced the role of the Prince in Diaghilev's London production of The Sleeping Princess. From 1922 he toured independently with Doubrovska, and later toured with Karsavina (1924), with the Mordkin Ballet (1925–7), and with Pavlova's company (1928–31), touring worldwide as her favoured partner (including India, Egypt, and S. America). He eventually settled in New York, where he taught at the School of American Ballet (1934–67) and became one of the most influential Russian teachers in the US, his students including Todd Bolender, Willam Christensen, William Dollar, Tanaquil LeClercq, and Maria Tallchief.