Lydia Sokolova (1896 - 1974)

I have received several suggestions about dancers that I have not yet written about. Think about it Diaghilev's Ballets Russes existed for twenty years (1909-1929) during which time many dancers came and went. Dancers that are often forgotten by today's dancers are the ones I want especially to bring to your attention.

Lydia Sokolova (born Hilda Munnings), was Diaghilev's first English ballerina, who received much of her training from London's Stedman Ballet Academy, Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Mordkin, and Enrico Cecchetti.She joined the company in 1913 and remained until 1929. Lydia danced every sort of role from classical to high comedy. Her most famous role was that of the Chosen Maiden in Leonide Massine's revival of Le Sacre du Printemps in 1920. She also danced the lead in Massine's Le Tricorne. Sokolova wrote an excellent book about her days in the company called Dancing for Diaghilev. When Diaghilev died many dancers had to find employment elsewhere. Lydia choreographed some London musicals and in 1935 she danced in Leon Woizikovsky's Company. She also danced in the Royal Ballet production of Massine's The Good-Humoured Ladies in 1962.

(First published October 1995)

Next: Olga Spessivtseva (1895-1991)