Ekaterina Vazem


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(b Moscow, 25 Jan. 1848; d Leningrad, 14 Dec. 1937)

Russian dancer and teacher. She studied at the Imperial Theatre School in St Petersburg with Ivanov, graduating in 1867. From 1867 until 1884 she was a leading dancer at the St Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre, and she was one of the first Russians to rival the technically superior Italian ballerinas of the day. She was Petipa's favourite Russian ballerina and it was she who provided the inspiration for Nikiya in his La Bayadère. Among the ballets he made for her were Le Papillon (1874), The Bandits (1875), La Bayadère (1877), The Daughter of the Snows (1879), Zoraya (1881), Night and Day (1883), and the Grand Pas in his re-staging of Paquita (1881). She appeared as a guest artist in America and visited the Paris Opera School in 1880. She retired in 1884, but continued to teach at the Imperial Theatre School (1886–96) where her students included Pavlova and Vaganova. She then taught privately for many years. Author of Memoirs of a Ballerina of the St Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre (Leningrad, 1937).

Subjects: Dance.

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