Nina Vyroubova


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(b Gurzof, Crimea, 4 Jun. 1921; d Paris, 24 Jun. 2007)

Russian-French dancer and teacher. As a child she emigrated to Paris with her grandmother and widowed mother. She was inspired to dance after seeing Pavlova perform at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in 1931 and went on to study with her mother and with Trefilova, Preobrajenska, Egorova, and later Victor Gsovsky and Serge Lifar. She made her debut as Swanilda in Caen in 1937, going on to dance with the Ballets Polonais (1939), the Ballet Russe de Paris (1940), and then perform solo recitals (1941–4). She frequently appeared in the famous Vendredis de la Danse at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre where she met Petit. In 1945 she danced in his Les Forains, and joined his newly formed Ballets des Champs-Elysées. A lyrical dancer, noted for her sensitivity and romantic expressiveness, she danced the title role in Victor Gsovsky's La Sylphide for the company. In 1949 she appeared with Petit's Ballets de Paris in London before Serge Lifar invited her to join the Paris Opera Ballet as an étoile. She performed with the Opera from 1949 until 1956, when she left to join the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas (1957–62). After the de Cuevas company folded, she appeared as a guest ballerina with many companies. She created roles in Petit's Ballet blanc (1944), Le Rossignol et la rose (1944), Un American à Paris (1944), Les Forains (1945), Treize danses (1947), and L'œuf à la coque (1949); in V. Gsovsky's La Sylphide (1946); in Lifar's Blanche-neige (1951), Fourberies (1952), Variations (1953), The Firebird (title role, 1954), Les Noces fantastiques (1955), Apollon musagète (1956), and L'Amour et son destin (1957); in Golovine's La Mort de Narcisse (1958); and in van Dyk's Abraxas (1965). She appeared in the films Le Calvaire de Cimiez (1932), Le Spectre de la danse (chor. Lifar, 1960), and L'Adage (1965). She taught privately at her own studio in Paris and at the Troyes Conservatoire (1983–8).

Subjects: Dance.

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