Michael Somes:

1917 - 1994 (age 77)
Chief partner to Margot Fonteyn for several years. After Nureyev became Fonteyn's partner, he was appointed Assistant Director for The Royal Ballet, 1945 and became their "Invaluable Â…teacher, largely responsible for Company rehearsals, at which he passes his own superb standard of partnering and sense of theatre." From Royal Ballet program 1963 (?)
Somes was born in Horsley, Gloucestershire, England, a principal danseur with the Royal Ballet, partnering Margot Fonteyn, and assistant director of the company under Ashton from 1963-70.
see also

World Class Masters

Bios and photos for selected ballet masters and ballerinas who influenced the roots of ballet.  Browse or click menu bar above for desired master.

Enrico Cecche



1850-1928 (age 78)

Maria Dare Dance History Collection contains Cecchetti class notes in Sergei Dare's handwriting.

In 1921 Cecchetti celebrated 50 years as a dancer by performing Carabossa Fairy in Sleeping Princess just as he had done first time in 1890.

Best known as a Teacher, he taught Diaghilev Company classes for 15 years.

see also:

Thamar Karsavina:

also spelled Tamara
1885 - 1978 (age 93)

Lindendare School of Portland Oregon was directly influenced by Karsavina for Elinova Linden studied with her and performed a dance choreographed by Karsavina in the Lindendare 1929 Recital. Since Maria Dare and Marcelle Renoux studied with Elinova Linden, it follows that Karsavina influenced their styly and all the Portland Oregon dancers that studied with Maria and Miss Renoux

Karsavina was a leading ballerina of Tsar's Imperial Ballet, dancing the whole of the Marius Petipa repertory. Among her famous roles were Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée and Medora in Le Corsaire. In 1910's she was with the Ballet Russe of Sergei Diaghilev, dancing her most famous roles in the ballets of Mikhail Fokine, including Petrushka, Le Spectre de la Rose and title role in Fokine's The Firebird. By 1929 she was teaching. The Thamar Karsavina School of Dance offered Ballet, Toe, and Character dance and was located at The Great Central Hotel, London.

School Info from Lindendare School Program, Portland Oregon USA
YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/v/KL5vxIyn5xo
see also: 


Anna Pavlowa (Pavlova)

1881-1931 (age 50)

She inspired the world tho her technique was often questioned by her teachers.  She died while touring in The Hague, Netherlands,


Pavlowa was the first to develop supportive dance shoes that evolved into today's pointe shoes. If the picture of her pointe is accurate, then she had an extremely over developed arch that would break the shank of most modern pointe shoes.

Nijinsky's 2 Claims to Fame:

being insanely great, and

being greatly insane

We will always speculate and never really know what made Nijinsky dance, or what made Nijinski Nijinsky.

There are many theories about his mental condition.
(1)A New York Times article, "ANALYST'S VIEWS ON NIJINSKY FINALLY PUBLISHED" in my opinion, provides insight but makes serious analytic errors. It states, "In 1938 he was among the first psychiatric patients to receive insulin coma therapy, a shock treatment, which freed him of his hallucinations and enabled him to live outside the hospital, although still requiring his wife's constant care. Then in 1945, when the Russians occupied the town in Hungary where the Nijinskys were living, he began to speak to the Russian soldiers and even, one night, to jump up and dance spontaneously with them as they performed peasant dances. ... Adler said ... ''our poor hero,'' Nijinsky, possessed motor, auditory and visual abilities ''far above average.'"
The book, Vaslav Nijinsky By Peter Ostwald, 1991, based on medical records, provides a different viewpoint. Nijinsky during a 1919(?) hospitalization, was walking with an attendant, "he suddenly 'leaped' into the air and rushed away, leaving the younger man breathlessly trying to catch up. He did this twice and the attendant became alarmed, saying he would have to tell Dr. Reese about it. Nijinsky tried to 'swear him to silence,' and told the attendant 'the whole thing was a joke.' Then he teasingly suggested, 'it might do you some good to have to jump once in a while.'" p.213 In my opinion, this event describes a man oriented to person, time and place and aware of the consequences of his actions. Persons suffering from a psychotic break with reality tend to be disoriented and unaware of consequences.
A few pages later in same book: "'The impression he makes, and the complete art of his pantomime, is most thoroughly studied and truthful.' When it was all over, Nijinsky stopped being "catatonic" and let himself be taken back to the Parkhaus by a nurse, where he spent 'a normal night.' Binswanger could not explain this behavior. He lacked precise information about Nijinsky's exposure to a mentally ill brother, his training in St. Petersburg (which included the truthful imitation of people in emotional distress), and his choreographic invention of unusual movements. However, Binswanger did intuitively appreciate the dancer's extraordinary talent for assimilating the expressions of disease. Apparently, Nijinsky's month of mingling with psychotic patients at Burgholzli and Bellevue obscured the boundary between art and madness. It now was possible for him to dance a "suicide-madness scene' with absolute conviction, and one could never be sure exactly which state he was in. After his dance recital, for example, he was "very pleasant all day." The next evening, however, Binswanger found him 'in a psychogenically charming stupor-condition.. He sits in the billiard-room with his forehead leaning on the edge of the tableÂ…He won't let himself be shaken out of it and doesn't react to commands.'" Pps. 217-8

Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky:

(Nijinski, Nijinska) 1891-1950 (age 59)

Nijinski captured the hearts of the entire world and Portland was no exception. Sergei Dare was in class with Nijinski while Sergei studied in Europe. Maria Dare took some classes from his sister, Bronislava Nijinska.

Interesting readings from Maria Dare Dance Collection include: Souvenir Programme, from a benifit for Nijinski Trust Fund, Article in Dance Magazine, May 1929, "Will Nijinski Dance Again?, a book The Diaghilev Ballet 1909-1929, & a book, Nijinski by his wife, Romola Nijinsky, 1934.

born Warsaw 1891
Parents: mom a dancer, father matre de ballet at Imperial Theatre School of Warsaw
age 5 first appearance in a ballet
age 7 joins Imperial Theatre School of Warsaw,
age 9 audition & accepted into Imperial Theatre School of St. Petersburg
1907 debut in Maryinsky Theatre
1910 resigns from Maryinsky
1912 choreographic debut
1913 Diaghilev Co to South America, Nijinski married in Buenos Aires to member of co.
1913 break with Diaghilev
1914 Nijinski own troupe London
WWI broke out with Nijinski in Austria-Hungary and was sent to prison camp for 2 years as a result of being Russian.
1916 Upon release returned to Diaghilev who was touring NY
Went to South America & split with Diaghilev
Went back to Europe
1932-33 Institutionalized in Switzerland?
1938 shock treatment (1) 1945 danced spontaneously (1) 1950 Dies in England, (kidney disorder)(1)
see also: www.wikipedia.org


Bronislava Nijinsky (Nijinski):

1890 - 1972 age 82
A dancer, choreographer, teacher and sister of Vaslav Nijinsky. She danced with Imperial Ballet. She then joined the Ballets Russes as dancer and choreographer. Her students included the prima ballerina Maria Tallchief. She arrived in USA in 1938 and died in Los Angeles California in 1972.

For complete timeline see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronislava_Nijinska

Michel (Michael) Fokine

Also Mikhail Fokin 1880-1942 (age 62)

Michael was accepted to Saint Petersburg Imperial Ballet School (Vaganova Ballet Academy) at age 9. His debute at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre was in Paquita, at age 18. In 1902, he became one of the youngest teachers of that school. but taught in Europe for a period. He is best known for his choreography, staging more than 70 ballets in Europe and USA, such as The Dying Swan, Le Vigne, Le Pavilion d’Armide, Les Sylphides, Prince Igor, Cleopatra, Carnaval, Firebird, Scheherazade, Le Spectre de la Rose, Petrouchka, Daphnis and Chloe and Le Cog d’Or. "He believed an attempt should be made to harmonize music, scenery and dance. This philosophy was summed up in his “Five Principles” as explained in a letter to the London Times on July 6, 1914. These principles revolutionized ballet and were applied to his creations during the early 1900’s, performed at the Maryinsky Imperial Ballet and, under Serge Diaghilev, at the Ballets Russe." He eventually moved to New York, USA where he died in 1942. [from www.wikipedia.org and www.yonkershistory.org ]

"While rehearsing the company in Mexico City he developed a thrombosis in his leg. By the time he reached New York it had developed into Pleurisy, which turned into double pneumonia. He died on 22 August 1942. In tribute to his passing, seventeen ballet companies around the world performed Les Sylphides simultaneously. " www.michelfokine.com

Vera Fokina

was a talented choreographer, producer, teacher, and the wife of Michel Fokine

Leon Fokine b. - d. 1973

(age 68)

Leon was the son of Alexander and Alexandra Forkine, nephew of Michel Fokine. He too was a gifted teacher. In later years he was associated with Harkness School of Ballet. His sister(?), Irene Fokine also a ballet teacher.

Aleksandra Aleksandrovna (Alexandra) Fedorova-Fokine, 1884 - 1972 (age 88)

Michel Fokine had an older brother, Alexander who married Alexandra Fedorova. Aleksandra Aleksandrovna (Alexandra) Fedorova-Fokine," was born 1884. She "graduated from the Maryinsky Ballet School in 1902," danced with the Maryinsky Ballet company, "... a prima-ballerina at the “Troitsky Miniuature Theatre” sponsored by her husband, Aleksandr Fokine, ...the family moved to Riga, Latvia, where she was appointed as a ballet teacher and choreographer at the National Riga Opera. In 1936 [1937-?] ...the family moved to the United States where she opened a ballet school. Alexandra Fedorova-Fokine died ...in New Jersey in 1972" (age 88) from http://www.nypl.org/ead/688

Alexandra Danilova:

1903 - 1997 (age 94):
Maria Dare Dance History Collection contains Slavenska Franklin Ballet Program 1952-53 that contains following information about Alexandra Danilova:
" Born in St Petersburg
" trained at Imperial School
" Marynski Theatre
" joined Diaghileff in London
" Came to America first time 1933.
" 1938 joined Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo & left in 1951 left for guest appearances and teaching
see also:
In 1934, Balanchine came to America and in 1935 he formed a professional company, the American Ballet. It served as the house company for the Metropolitan Opera. He moved his company to Hollywood in 1938. "From 1944 to 1946, during and after World War II, Balanchine served as resident choreographer for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo." [1] He then formed formed a new dance company, the Ballet Society, and in 1948, Ballet Society became New York City Ballet. During the 1960s, Balanchine played the title role in the ballet Don Quixote. (Note: Wikipedia states that Balanchine created the ballet Don Quixote but it was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa in 1869. Balanchine must have revised and/or re-choreographed it.
His teaching style reshaped ballerinas as much as his choreography reshaped ballet. Under his technique, dancer's muscles, once wide and muscular in appearance became long and lean. The vision of today's ballerina is the vision of a Balanchine ballerina, achieved not from diet but from the types of exercises undertaken.

His staging also reshaped the costumes used by ballet. It was said that he found the traditional tutu distasteful for it hid the beauty of the line form and movement. While this may be very true, he may have seen the skyrocketing costs of tutus and thought who needs them? Whatever his motives, it is now common to see ballet dancers performing in tights and leotards rather than tutus.

His choreography also reshaped ballet. No longer the predicable combinations once or twice to the right then repeat to the left. Balanchine choreography always keeps one guessing about what may come next. It tends to be quicker than the traditional -pleasing to the eye, yet too quick for hanging jumps in the air, or landing softly with a good plie. Thirty-nine of his 400 ballets were choreographed to music by Igor Stravinsky.

Anton Dolin:

1904 –1983 age 79
Maria Dare Dance History Collection Contents has several programs, photos, eta. of Anton Dolin. Maria Dare regarded him as a "friend" rather than an acquaintance. There is no doubt that he was one of the "roots of ballet" that Maria found important to preserve. No doubt that he was a significant influence on the Maria Dare Style.

Anton Dolin was born in Sussex England as Patrick Kay. Dolin joined Diaghilev Co. in 1921. He was same age as Balanchine who joined Diaghilev Co. 1924. Alicia Markova joined Diaghilev Co in 1924. Dolin came to USA with International Review 1930. Anton Dolin & Alicia Markova start Markova-Dolin Co. in 1935 & toured England. In 1938 Anton Dolin became primier danseur Covent Gardens Russian Ballet and appeared in Australia Tour- July 1939. He then joined Ballet Theatre New York & moved to New York in 1940. Ballet Theatre brought Anton Dolin to Portland OR during the 1943-44 & 1945-1946 tours. He returned to Great Britian and re-established the Markova-Dolin Co. in 1949. Anton Dolin started Festival Ballet of London 1950 and stayed with that company until 1961. Dolin remained active in dance throughout his life span of 80 years.

Dolin &
Olga Spessivtseva
It's Magic
8 min solos
& duets
Sound shrill at intro,
but improves.

Alicia Markova:

1910-2004 (age 94)

Maria Dare Dance History Collection Contents has several programs, photos, eta. of Alicia Markova. No doubt that she was a significant influence on the Maria Dare Style.

Alicia Markova was born in England as Alicia Marks. She began dancing on medical advice to improve muscle strength. She joined Diaghilev Co. when she was 14 years old, a year after Balanchine had joined. In 1932 she joined Vic Wells Co. of England. Anton Dolin & Alicia Markova started Markova-Dolin Co. in 1935 & toured England. Ballet Theatre brought Markova to Portland OR during the 1945-1946 tour. She re-established the Markova-Dolin Co. in 1949. She was also a founder dancer of the Rambert Dance Company, The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, and was co-founder and director of the English National Ballet, President of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) among other things. She retired from professional dancing in 1963 (age 52.)
see also: www.wikipedia.org

Maria Dare Dance History Collection Contents has several programs, photos, eta. of Alicia Markova. There is a pic of Markova and Maria at a master class.
No doubt that she was a significant influence on the Maria Dare Style.

George Zoritch:

1917-2009 (age 92)
He danced with his heart - the most inspiring Master Classes I have ever taken. His passion can also be found in his ballet class music that may still be available at http://www.georgezoritch.com/frame.html

Born 1917 in Moscow, joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1935, moved to USA after WWII, a committed teacher, first American dancers, choreographers and writers honored by being awarded the Vaslav Nijinsky Medal, died in Tucson, Arizona.

His website provides additional information that "GEORGE ZORITCH, danseur noble, teacher, star of films and Broadway shows, won international acclaim during his remarkable career as a superlative exponent of the Russian ballet. ... a student of the legendary Preobrajenska, ...Major roles were created for him by David Lichine and by Leonide Massine, who recruited him for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo's popular tours of North and South America. Zoritch also enjoyed success on Broadway and in Hollywood. In 1951 he joined the celebrated Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, winning praise worldwide in over fifty roles. During his subsequent five years with Sergei Denham's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Zoritch became a favorite of American balletomanes and taught many master classes. After running his own school in Los Angeles, he joined the faculty of the University of Arizona at Tucson in 1973, ...Retirement in 1987 offered him the chance to revisit Russia and become acquainted with a new generation of dancers and directors in his homeland. ..."
see also: www.georgezoritch.com

Rudolf Nureyev:

1938 -1993 (age 55)
Top dancer on Maria Dare's list. It must have taken all here might to appear casual while he used The Ballet House for his rehearsals while performing in Portland.

He was born in Irkutsk, Siberia, danced with Kirov Ballet of Soviet Union, defected in 1961 while on tour in Paris and died in Paris.
see also:

Margot Fonteyn:

1919-1991 age 72
Fonteyn influenced the world. Her name was THE NAME in ballet for decades. Imagine my expression the day I burst through The Ballet House door from the dressing room into the studio, almost slapping Fonteyn in the face with it. This occurred during the 1960's when it was absolute fact that a ballet career was over at age 25. No one did the math for at this point Fonteyn had been performing professionally for about 30 years. Fonteyn retired in 1979 (age 60) and moved to Panama.
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Stills Snatched from Romeo and Juliet tell a deeper story:
I recall the time when Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureph performed in Portland Oregon. Afterward our studio dressing room filled with critiques of her performance. Most complained that Dame Fonteyn was "Too Old" to be on the stage and needed to retire. I cannot recall a single comment about her technique. She retired a few years after that.

The video, Romeo and Juliet , The Royal Ballet, was recorded about the same time - toward the end of her performance career. I have recently reviewed several videos searching for "how to" clips to show my students. From this, Margot Fonteyn has emerged as the most technically correct. She seemed to float, yet was quick and precise. She danced with such ease that it is hard to realize that what she is doing is extremely difficult. Granted, a close up of her makes it hard to believe that she is a teenage Juliet. Our dressing room critics got it half right. She was "too old" for the role. She was not too old for the stage or the dance. I challenge any and every dancer age 25 and under to perform as well as Margot Fonteyn did when she was in her 50's.
Right:  Snatched from Romeo and Juliet
Nureyv (top 2 pics )  and Margo Fonteyn


Mikhail Baryshnikov:

Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov was born 1948 in Rigda Latvia (Russia). "Often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century.". [1] In the tradition of the great masters, he can "hang" a jump in the air. It seems he defies gravity with every leap.

Watching him, it is clear to me that it is more than his applauded technique, or his dedication to practice. It is the the strength of the inner man that rockets him into space.

He began ballet in 1960. In 1964, he entered the Vaganova School, St. Petersburg Russia. In 1967 he joined the Kirov Ballet and Mariinsky Theater. He defected while on tour in Canada with the Bolshoi Ballet, in 1974. From 1974 to 1978, he was principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and worked with the New York City Ballet, with George Balanchine and as a regular guest artist with the Royal Ballet among other companies. 1980- 1989 he was with American Ballet Theatre as dancer and artistic director. From 1990 to 2002, Baryshnikov was artistic director of the White Oak Dance Project, a touring company he co-founded with Mark Morris. In 2005 he launched the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. He has also been in several films including The Turning Point.
(Below) Photos snatched from Don Quixote videa.  A must watch video.
Page Updated:  1 Feb 2015
by Rozanne of zandance.com
Contact: info@zandance.com

George Balanchine:

(January 22, 1904 – April 30, 1983) Age: 79

Born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother.[1] In The Diaghilev Ballet 19909-1929, by SL Grigoriev, his name is "Georges Balanchine." However it is spelled he changed the face of ballet. Best known as a choreographer of over 400 ballets, but before that he was a dancer and teacher. He was co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet.

In 1913 (age 9) Balanchine was accepted into the Imperial Ballet School, St Petersburg, Russia. 1921 he was in the corps de ballet at the Mariinsky . "On a 1924 visit to Germany with the Soviet State Dancers, Balanchine, his wife Tamara Geva, and the dancers Alexandra Danilova, and Nicholas Efimov fled to Paris," [1] He then joined the Diaghilev's Ballet Russe. Anton Dolin and Alicia Markova, were with Ballet Russe (tho Markova was too young to perform) both having joined in 1921. In 1924 Nijinsky was still with the Ballet Russe, as a dancer and choreographer; Vera Trefilova danced the main role of Le Lac des Cygnes. In 1924 Picasso was designing the sets for Ballet Russe. Balanchine quickly became a choreographer for Daighilev.

Video: Dancing for Mr B - Six Balanchine Ballerinas / Moylan, Tallchief, Ashley, Kistler, Hayden, Kent (2008)

Vera Trefilova:

1875 - 1843 age 68

S. L. Grigoriev, in his book Diaghilev Ballet 1909-1929 writes that in 1924 "For the chief part in Le Lac des Cygnes Diaghilev invited Trefilova, the best of all Princess Auroras even at the Mariinsky, and she amazed everyone at Monte Carlo by her extraordinary fouettes."

Elinova Linden studied with Trefilova while in France and performed Trefilova choreography in a 1929_ Lindendare Recital in Portland, Oregon. Since Maria Dare and Marcelle Renoux studied with Elinova, it is safe to say that Trefilova had a strong influence on the early Portland dance arena.

Trefilova was b. 1875 Vladikavkaz joined the Maryinsky Theatre in 1894 and was promoted to soloist in 1901, to prima ballerina in 1906. Known for her 32 fouettés, and performances in S. Legat's The Fairy Doll (1903) and Mikhail Fokine's The Night of Terpsichore (1907) and Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, among others.She resigned in 1910 and left Russia in 1917. By 1929, the Mme. Vera Trefilova School of Dance was operating at 33 Rue Pergolese, Paris, France and taught Classic Ballet, Toe, and Character dance. She died in Paris, 1943.

Address Info from Lindendare School Program, Portland Oregon USA
see also: