There is never a dull moment in this collection of interviews with dancers associated in one way or another with the various companies collectively described as the ‘Ballets Russes’. The book tells their story from the Diaghilev period, through the de Basil, Blum and Denham years, right up to the final days of the Marquis de Cuevas’ company, and concludes with an ‘Afterword’ with John Neumeier. Tamara Karsavina, who died in 1978, is included, by means of an interview with her friend the dancer Rachel Cameron, but it is the later generations, from Alexandra Danilova (born 1903) to Maina Gielgud (born 1945) that are best represented. (more…)

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Part biography, part memoire, this very enjoyable book gives an account of the life of a dancer about whom we know relatively little in the UK, and offers a new perspective on the history of classical ballet since the 1920s.

Tatiana Leskova was born in Paris in 1922 of “White Russian” parents.  Chance, talent, war and romance led her to settle in Brazil, where she was instrumental in developing ballet at the Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro.  A pupil of Lubov Egorova in Paris, she missed her opportunity to join the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo because her father thought her too young, but a year later joined the rival company that became de Basil’s Original Ballet Russe. (more…)