Ludmila Schollar (1888-1978)

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!

Ludmila Schollar graduated from the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg in 1909, and a year later joined Diaghilev, remaining with him until 1914. During World War I she worked as a Red Cross Sister. She returned to dance at the Maryinsky, 1917-1921, and rejoined the Ballets Russes in 1921 and remained until 1925. During a tour of Buenos Aires she married her husband, Anatole Vilzak (1898-?). He had been a premier danseur at the Maryinsky from 1917 to 1921, after which he left to join Ballets Russes. He and Schollar, danced with Ida Rubinstein, and the Karsavina-Vilzak and Nijinska companies. Many of your teachers may have studied with this team at the Vilzak-Schollar School, School of American Ballet, Ballet Theatre School in New York City, the Washington School of Ballet, or the San Francisco Ballet School.

(First published August 1995)

Next: Mia Slavenska (1914-2002)