(b St Petersburg, 5 Mar. 1910; d St Petersburg, 1 Apr. 1992)
Soviet dancer and choreographer. He took evening classes at the Leningrad Ballet School and danced with the Joseph Kschessinsky company (1928–9) before returning full-time to the LBS. In 1930 he joined GATOB (later Kirov Ballet) where he remained until 1961. Dubbed as a ‘poet of dance’, his lyric, Romantic style was showcased in all the major classic roles in which he regularly partnered Ulanova or his second wife Dudinskaya. He was also considered the definitive Kirov Romeo, creating the role in Lavrovsky's 1940 ballet opposite Ulanova, and he created roles in many other new ballets including Vatslav in Zakharov's The Fountain of Bakhchisarai (1934), Armen in Anisimova's Gayané (1942), and Andrei in Fenster's Taras Bulba (1955). In 1946 he choreographed the first Leningrad production of Prokofiev's Cinderella, casting himself as the Prince, and he created several other original ballets including Path of Thunder (mus. Karayev, 1957) and Hamlet (mus. Chervinsky, 1970). He also staged many productions of the classics including Raymonda (1948), Swan Lake (1950), and Sleeping Beauty (1952), all for the Kirov. He was artistic director of the Leningrad Ballet School (1938–40 and 1973–82) and was also artistic director of the Kirov (1951–6 and 1960–70), leading the company on its first Western tours. His career was not without political complications but he is widely credited with having preserved the Kirov's classical heritage. Among his many honours were People's Artist of the USSR, 1957, and Honorary Award, Academy of Dance, Paris, 1965.