Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

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This Blog is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and memories of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, its legendary ballet dancers, choreographers, scenery artists, musicians and composers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mia Slavenska: February's Glamorous Birthday Girl

Mia was born on February 20, 1914 in Yugoslavia. She studied in Zagreb with Josephine Weiss, then in Vienna with Leo Dubois. When Mia moved to Paris, she continued her studies with Russian ballet legends Lubov Egorova, Mathilda Kschessinska and Olga Preobrajenska.

Mia became ballerina of the Zagreb Opera from 1930-33 and then joined the Paris Opera in 1933, dancing with Serge Lifar. In London she danced with Anton Dolin before joining the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1938 to 1942. Mia later formed her own company, Ballet Variante. Mia also continued to dance as a guest artist for many major ballet companies, and in 1953 she established the Slavenska-Franklin ballet company with Frederic Franklin.

One of the roles she created was Blanche Dubois in Valerie Bettis' A Streetcar Named Desire. Slavenska starred in a wonderful French film, La Mort du Cygne (1938), in which she and Yvette Chauviré, who later became a Prima Ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet, played rival ballerinas. Janine Charrat, who became one of France's leading choreographers, played a young ballet student.

In her final years, Mia taught ballet in Los Angeles. She passed away on October 5, 2002.

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