December 18, 2001
Stars of the Russian Ballet: Alexandra Danilova (Choura)
One of the greatest stars of the Russian Ballet, Alexandra Danilova was world famous for her grace, glamour, and intensity. Her professional career began in 1911 when, at the age of seven, she joined the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersburg. She met George Balanchine as a young dancer and began a lifelong relationship with him — both professional and personal. They toured Western Europe together in 1924. In Paris, they joined Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes for several premieres. Danilova danced with the Ballets Russes until Diaghilev's death in 1929.
From 1938 to 1951, she performed as Prima Ballerina for the Ballet Russes de Monte Calo, creating a wide range of roles, from Leonid Massine's Le Beau Danube (1933), Jardin Public (1935), and Capriccio Espangnol (1939), to Balenchine's Danses Concertantes (1944). With the dawn of the second World War, the Ballet Russe moved to America, and in 1946, Alexandra Danilova became an American citizen. She appeared as a guest artist with numerous companies, and later served as choreographer for the Metropolitan Opera.
For most of the 1960's through 1980's, she was a teacher and choreographer at the School of American Ballet. In a 1977 film, The Turning Point, about an aging prima ballerina, starring Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine, Danilova was cast as Madame Dakharova, a ballet teacher whose life was loosely based upon her own.
Please enjoy these fascinating photographs of Choura in many of her most well know roles.
12/25-The Beautiful Season
12/15-Carole & Wally
12/10-New Words and Phrases-1958
12/7-Who are they?
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