DANCERS (in order of appearance)
    Dame Alicia Markova (1910-2004)
    Markova is widely considered to be one of the greatest British ballerinas of the 20th century, and certainly one of the most famous Giselles of all time. In 1924, Sergei Diaghilev discovered the then Alicia Marks taking lessons in a London studio and hired her for his Ballets Russes on her 14th birthday. She was renamed Alicia Markova and remained with Diaghilev’s company until it disbanded with his sudden death in 1929. Markova returned to London where she danced with the Vic-Wells Ballet and Ballet Rambert before co-founding the Markova-Dolin Ballet in 1935 with Anton Dolin. In 1938 she joined Leonide Massine’s new Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Markova left the Ballet Russe for Ballet Theatre in 1941, where she danced until 1946. Markova spent the next four years guest starring with companies around the world and then, in 1950, she co-founded (again with Anton Dolin) the London Festival Ballet, which is now the English National. When she retired from the stage in 1963, she became the director of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York. Markova returned to London in 1974 and continued to teach and give master classes there until well into her 90s. Her death on December 2, 2004 truly marked the end of an era – Alicia Markova was the last surviving member of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe.
    Frederic Franklin, CBE (born 1914)
    Franklin was born in Liverpool and made his debut as a dancer in Paris in 1931 in a show starring Josephine Baker. He returned to England where he joined the Markova-Dolin Ballet in 1935. While dancing with that company, Franklin was discovered by Leonide Massine who hired him as premier danseur for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1938. During his first season with the Ballet Russe Franklin was cast as the Baron in Massine’s Gaite Parisienne, where he partnered Alexandra Danilova for the first time. Thus was launched one of ballet’s most legendary partnerships – a partnership that lasted for nearly 20 years. In 1952, Franklin took a break from the Ballet Russe to form the Slavenska-Franklin Ballet together with ballerina Mia Slavenska. The most important work to come out of this partnership was the ballet version of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, choreographed by Valerie Bettis, and in which Franklin danced the role of Stanley Kowalski. Franklin returned to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1954, and stayed until 1956 as maitre de ballet. He directed the National Ballet of Washington from 1963 to 1974 and the Cincinnati Ballet from 1984 to 1986. Franklin returned to the stage in 2000 to perform character roles with both American Ballet Theatre and the Cincinnati Ballet. He continues to appear with these companies in the roles of Madge the Witch in La Sylphide, the Tutor in Swan Lake and Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet. Franklin was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire in June 2004 at the age of 90. He currently lives in Manhattan but still travels the world setting Ballets Russes choreographies.
    Mia Slavenska (1914-2002)
    Slavenska was born in Yugoslavia and was a child prodigy, making her stage debut at the Zagreb National Opera House in 1921. She joined the Ballet Russe de Monte as a ballerina in 1938, already having made a name for herself by touring Europe as a soloist, winning the gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Dance Olympics and starring in the film La Mort du Cygne. Slavenska stayed with the Ballet Russe for four seasons and then continued to dance with the company on and off as a guest artist through the 1950s. In 1952, she co-founded the Slavenska-Franklin Ballet (along with Frederic Franklin) and became famous in the role of Blanche in that company’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire (choreographed by Valerie Bettis and based on the play by Tennessee Williams). Slavenska was on the dance faculty at UCLA from 1969 to 1983, and also taught at California Institute for the Arts.
    Nathalie Krassovska (1918-2005)
    Krassovska came from a family of dancers – her grandmother was a soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet and her mother danced with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. She studied alongside the “Baby Ballerinas” Irina Baronova and Tamara Toumanova at Olga Preobrajenska’s school in Paris, and then danced with George Balanchine’s Les Ballets 1933. Krassovska joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1935 as a soloist and soon was promoted to ballerina. After leaving the Ballet Russe in 1950, she danced with the London Festival Ballet until 1960. In the early 1960s she settled in Dallas, Texas where she ran the Krassovska School of Ballet Jeunesse, at which she taught until she passed away on February 8, 2005.
    Tatiana Riabouchinska (1917-2000)
    Riabouchinska was one of the three famous “Baby Ballerinas” (along with Irina Baronova and Tamara Toumanova), who was discovered by George Balanchine in 1931 in a Paris dance studio. She was 15 when she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1932. Riabouchinska remained with the Ballet Russe until 1942 and then became a guest ballerina with major companies all over the world including Ballet Theatre, the London Festival Ballet, the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. In 1943, she married the dancer and choreographer David Lichine and together they became one of the ballet world’s most beloved couples. Riabouchinska and Lichine were involved in two major Walt Disney projects: as the models for Hyacinth Hippo and Ben Ali Gator in Fantasia (1940); and, as the dancing silhouettes in Make Mine Music (1946). In the 1950s they founded a dance school in Beverly Hills, where they trained actors and actresses as well as dancers. In fact, Riabouchinska trained Anne Bancroft for her role as the prima ballerina in the film The Turning Point. Riabouchinska continued to teach at a studio in West Hollywood until the day she died.
    George Zoritch (born in 1917)
    Zoritch studied with Olga Preobrajenska alongside the “Baby Ballerinas” Irina Baronova and Tamara Toumanova before joining the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1935. Zoritch rose from soloist rank to become premier danseur and danced with the Company from 1935-1940 and again from 1957-1962. He also was a star with the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas. Zoritch danced in several Hollywood movies during the 1940s and 50s – most notably in the Begin the Beguine sequence of Night and Day. After retiring from the stage, Zoritch opened a school in Los Angeles. In 1973 he joined the dance faculty of the University of Arizona at Tucson, where he established the ballet program. Zoritch currently lives in Arizona.
    Irina Baronova (born 1919)
    Baronova was one of the three famous “Baby Ballerinas” (along with Tatiana Riabouchinska and Tamara Toumanova). She was discovered by George Balanchine in 1931 in the Paris dance studio of Olga Preobrajenska (the great prima ballerina of the Russian Imperial Ballet). Baronova was not quite 13 when she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1932. She danced with various Ballets Russes companies between 1932 and 1941 and also with Ballet Theatre and Leonide Massine’s Ballet Russe Highlights. Baronova starred in four films: Florian (1940), Yolanda (1943), Train of Events (1949) and A Toast to Love (1951). She also appeared in the musical Bullet in the Ballet and the comedy Black Eyes (both in London in 1946). Irina Baronova now lives in Australia where she is writing her memoirs, which are slated for publication in late-2005.
    Tamara Tchinerova Finch (born 1919)
    Tchinerova Finch studied alongside the “Baby Ballerinas” Irina Baronova and Tamara Toumanova in the studio of Olga Preobrajenska, and joined the de Basil and Blum Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a soloist during its first season in 1932. She danced with the Ballet Russe until 1939 when she chose to remain in Australia at the close of the Company’s tour there. Tchinerova Finch danced with several Australian ballet companies and is credited with making a significant contribution to the development of ballet in that country. While in Australia, she met and married the actor Peter Finch and worked with him on a number of films before leaving Australia to make her home in England. Tamara Tchinerova Finch currently lives in London where she is a dance writer.
    Maria Tallchief (born 1925)
    One of the greatest American ballerinas of the 20th century, Tallchief joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a member of the corps in 1942. From the Osage Tribe, she was another of the five American Indian ballerinas from Oklahoma to dance with the Ballet Russe. Tallchief soon rose to soloist rank and was spotted by George Balanchine, who almost immediately asked her to marry him. The two did marry in 1947 and Tallchief left the Ballet Russe to dance with Balanchine’s Ballet Society (soon to become the New York City Ballet). Under Balanchine’s tutelage she became legendary for her starring role in his Firebird. And although her marriage to Balanchine ended in 1952, Tallchief remained with the New York City Ballet as its prima ballerina until 1965. After leaving the stage, she became director of the Chicago Ballet. Maria Tallchief currently lives in Chicago.
    Yvonne Chouteau (born 1929)
    Chouteau was one of five American Indian ballerinas from Oklahoma who danced with the various Ballets Russes companies. When she was 12 years old, she left Oklahoma for New York City, where she was given a scholarship to the School of American Ballet. In 1943, at age 14, she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo where she rose from the corps de ballet to ballerina. Her first solo role was Prayer in Coppelia (1945), for which she was coached by the great ballerina Alexandra Danilova. She married Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo soloist Miguel Terekhov in 1954 and together they established the first fully-accredited dance department in the United States at the University of Oklahoma, Norman (1962). Yvonne Chouteau is retired and lives in Oklahoma.
    Marc Platt (born 1915)
    Born Marcel Le Plat, he became one of the first Americans to dance with the Ballet Russe, after being discovered by Leonide Massine as a teenager in Seattle. Le Plat’s name was quickly Russianized to Marc Platoff and he soon rose from the corps to soloist rank, dancing roles such as King Dodon in Coq d’Or. In 1939, Platt became the first American to choreograph for the Ballet Russe with his Ghost Town (music by Richard Rodgers). Platt remained with the Ballet Russe until 1942, when he left for a career on Broadway and in the movies. His most famous Broadway role was as the “Dream” Curly in the original cast of Oklahoma! (1943). Platt’s many film roles include Dan in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, as well as star turns in Tonight and Every Night and Down to Earth (both with Rita Hayworth). In 1962, he became the director of the ballet and producer at Radio City Music Hall. Marc Platt now lives in Santa Rosa, California.
    Tatiana Stepanova (born 1924)
    Stepanova joined Col. de Basil’s Original Ballet Russe in 1939 at the age of 16, after studying with Olga Preobrajenska in Paris. She rose to become one of its star ballerinas during the War years as the company toured exhaustively throughout Latin America. She retired from dancing in 1946 to marry a long time admirer. Tatiana Stepanova currently lives with her husband in Boston.
    Nini Theilade (born 1916)
    Theilade was born in Java, Indonesia. Considered a child prodigy, she embarked on a series of solo recital dance tours in Europe and America at the age of 14. Theilade was discovered at one of these recitals by Max Reinhardt, who cast her as Queen of the Fairies in his film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Theilade herself created some of the choreography in this film, most notably the pas de duex that she danced with Mickey Rooney. Theilade joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1938 and danced leading roles in Leonide Massine’s Nobilissima Visione, Bacchanale, and St. Francis. She left the company during the war to return to Europe, where she continued to dance and choreograph. Theilade is credited with introducing symphonic ballet to Denmark. Nini Theilade lives in Denmark where she teaches at a university dance department.
    Miguel Terekhov (born 1928)
    Terekhov joined Col. de Basil’s Original Ballet Russe in 1943 at the age of 14 while the company was on tour in his native Uruguay. He remained with the company until 1947. Terekhov later joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and danced with that company until 1958. In 1956, he married Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo ballerina Yvonne Chouteau. Together they founded the first fully-accredited dance department in the United States at the University of Oklahoma, Norman (1962). They also founded the Oklahoma City Civic Ballet. Miguel Terekhov is now retired and lives in Oklahoma.
    Wakefield Poole (born 1936)
    Poole grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and was one of the many young dancers who traveled to New York in the mid-1950s with the dream of joining the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1957, he won a coveted spot in the Ballet Russe corps, but the difficult Ballet Russe bus tours (with their incessant one-night stands) soon left Poole pining for New York. He returned there in 1960 to become a dance captain on Broadway. In 1971, with the release of his landmark gay porn film Boys in the Sand, Poole’s career took a new turn. His numerous adult gay films were known for their visual artfulness and use of classical music. Poole’s post-film career included a stint as executive chef for Calvin Klein. He lives in Florida.
    Yvonne Craig (born 1937)
    Craig joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1954 at the age of 16 and danced in the corps and then as a soloist until 1957. After leaving the Ballet Russe she went to Hollywood, where she appeared in 16 films and over 60 television series. She is perhaps best known for her role as Batgirl in the Batman television series. Other notable television appearances include the Green Woman in Star Trek and Dobie Gillis. During her film career she co-starred in two movies with Elvis Presley: It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963) and Kissin’ Cousins (1964). Yvonne Craig currently lives in Southern California.
    Raven Wilkinson (born 1936)
    When Wilkinson was accepted into the corps of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1954, she became the first African American woman ever hired as a permanent member of a major ballet company. Wilkinson rose to soloist during her second season and stayed with the company for six years. Ultimately she was forced to give up her position in the Ballet Russe when increasingly hostile racism made it impossible for her to tour in the South. After leaving the company, she joined a convent for 8 months before deciding to return to dance. Finding that no other American ballet companies would hire her, Wilkinson went to Holland, where she danced as a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet. In 1974, she returned to America to perform character roles with the New York Metropolitan Opera. Raven Wilkinson lives in New York City and continues to perform with the Opera.
    Rochelle Zide (born 1938)
    Zide joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo corps in 1954 on her sixteenth birthday and was soon promoted to soloist. She stayed with the company until 1958, when she left to become a principal dancer and ballet mistress at the Joffrey Ballet. Zide later became a prima ballerina at New York City Opera Ballet, artistic director of the Netherlands Dance Theater, director of the ballet program for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, professor of dance at Adelphi University, director of the New Zealand School of Dance, and professor of ballet and dance history at Butler University. Rochelle Zide currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.
    Alan Howard (1931-2003)
    Howard joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1949 as a corps member. He rose to premier danseur in 1954 (becoming one of the first Americans to attain that rank) and remained with the company until 1960. Howard founded the Pacific Ballet in San Francisco in the early 1960s. Between 1973 and his death in 2003, Alan Howard trained numerous dancers in both Europe and the United States.
    Nina Novak (born 1927)
    Novak studied at the School of the Warsaw Opera House as well as under Bronislava Nijinska. She joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1948 and was promoted to ballerina at the end of her first season with the company. She remained with the Ballet Russe until 1962, serving as ballet mistress on top of her roles as ballerina. Nina Novak now lives in Caracas, Venezuela where she founded and continues to run Ballet Classico.
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