Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vaslav Nijinsky

Vaslav Njinsky was born today in 1890 in Kiev, Russia.

Considered to be the greatest male dancer of the 20th century, he was, like his sister Bronislava Nijinska, trained at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg, and first appeared in ballet at the Maryinski Theatre.

As the leading dancer in Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, taken to Paris in 1909, he became enormously popular, and in 1911 he appeared as Petrouchka in the first performance of Stravinsky's ballet.

Marrying the Hungarian dancer Romala de Pulszky, he was interned in Hungary during the early part of World War I. He rejoined Diaghilev for a world tour, but was diagnosed a paroiod schizophenic in 1917. Spending the rest of his life in and out of clinics, in his lucid periods he painted and worked on a system of dance notation.

Although his dazzling career lasted only ten years, his extraordinary virtuosity and inventive choreography made an indelible mark on the history of ballet.





This image currently under restoration - available soon as fine art print.







Other famous people born today: Playright - writer of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' Edward Albee (1928), actress Barbara Feldon (1933) played Agent 99 on 1960s TV show 'Get Smart', actress and performer Liza Minnelli (1946) star of 'Cabaret', and film director Jim Sharman (1945).




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