Felia Doubrovska (1896-1981)

Many of the dancers who performed with the Ballets Russes did not become household names, but I have always said that every dancer who has appeared on a stage has in some way shaped the dance we enjoy today. It is hard to say why some names are remembered and others are lost in the archives. Perhaps it helps if you were involved in some scandal, or you died in a bizarre way!

Felia Doubrovska (1896-1981) was accepted in the Maryinsky Ballet in 1913, after graduating from the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet Academy. She joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1920, creating roles in Nijinska's Les Noces in 1923, and Balanchine's Apollon Musagète, and Prodigal Son in 1928 and 1929. When she took over a role from Bronislava Nijinska, Diaghilev told her, "You're too tall for the costume, and you have perfect taste, go to Chanel and order anything you like." Doubrovska joined the ballet at New York's Metropolitan Opera from 1938 to 1939 . She became a distinguished teacher at the School of American Ballet, and taught there until the age of 84. Droubrovska and Vladimirov were among the greatest of the emigre Russian teachers who trained several generations of Americans finest dancers.

(First published September 1995)