Léon Woizikowsky


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(orig. Wójcikowski; b Warsaw, 20 Feb. 1899; d Warsaw, 23 Feb. 1974)

Polish dancer, ballet master, and teacher. He studied at Imperial Theatre School, Warsaw, and with Cecchetti, joining Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1915–29). A dancer of unusual suppleness, vitality, and wit, he became the company's leading character dancer creating roles in, among others, Massine's Las Meninas (1916), Les Femmes de bonne humeur, and Parade (1917), La Boutique fantasque and Le Tricorne (both 1919), Les Matelots (1925), and Le Pas d'acier (1927); Nijinska's Les Noces (1923), Les Biches and Le Train bleu (both 1924); and Balanchine's The Gods Go a-Begging (1928), Le Bal, and Prodigal Son (1929). He also danced in many Fokine ballets, including L'Après-midi d'un faune which he later staged and danced for Ballet Rambert in 1931. After Diaghilev's Ballets Russes disbanded he performed with Pavlova's company (1929–30), Ballet Club, later Rambert (1930–1), Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo (1932–4), and de Basil's Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo (1936–45). He was also director of his own company, Les Ballets de Léon Woizikowsky which toured Europe (1935–6) and for which he also choreographed several ballets, also of Ballets Russes de Léon Woizikowsky which toured Australia (1936–7), and Europe (1937–8). In 1938 he was dancer and ballet master with the Polish Ballet for its European and American tour. After 1945 he returned to Warsaw where he taught at Opera Ballet School and choreographed for the Polish Opera Ballet. After 1958 he worked mainly in the West, staging Petrushka and Scheherazade for London Festival Ballet in 1958 and 1960. He also danced with Massine's company (1960), was ballet master with London Festival Ballet (1961), and worked in Cologne, Bonn, and Antwerp teaching and staging the Diaghilev repertory.

Subjects: Dance.

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