Nicholas Zverev (1897 - 1965)
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. My beloved teacher Vera Nemtchinova told me many stories of her days with the Ballets Russes. One story made me wonder if she was telling me the truth. Further research confirmed her story. Many of your grandparents or great-grandparents may have told you that they saw Vaslav Nijinsky dance. I don't want the burst your bubble, but that may not be the case.
Nicholas Zverev, a Russian dancer who joined Ballets Russes in 1912 and for the first four years was just one of the dancers, looked like Vaslav Nijinsky and sometimes danced in place of the great star, even though Nijinsky's name appeared on the program. Zverev stayed with the company until 1926 and then toured with his wife Vera Nemtchinova (who later divorced him and married Anatole Oboukhov). Zverev opened a school in Paris. In the early fifties when I had planned to dance in Europe, Nemtchinova gave me a care package for him. Unfortunately, that was when I injured my foot permanently and a friend of mine had to deliver the package.
(First published October 1995)