Bronislava Nijinska (1891-1972)
Dancer and choreographer, Bronislava Nijinska, legendary Vaslav's little sister, is born in Minsk, Russia, to Foma Nijinsky and Eleonora Bereda, both dancers, on January 1819.
In 1900 she starts, together with her brother, her academic studies at the Imperial Ballet School in Saint Petersburg and, eight years later, she joins the Marinsky Company.
In 1910 she joins Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in Paris, where she dances Fokine's Carnival and Petrouchka and creates the role of the nymph in his brother's Apres midi d'un faune . The following year she leaves the Marinsky. Not until 1913, the year of Diaghilev and Nijinsky's artistic and sentimental break, after an unlucky season directed by her brother, does she come back to Saint Petersburg.
In 1914 she starts her choreographic career creating her first ballet, La Tabatière . The same year she founds her own school in Kiev: among her students there is a young Serge Lifar.
Away from Russia, in 1921 she joins again the Ballet Russes as Principal dancer. This time she also has the chance to create her new ballets, due to Massine's leaving: those are the years of masterpieces such as Renard, Les Noces, Les Tentations de la bergère, Les Biches, Les Fâcheux, Le Train Bleu and a Romeo and Juliet on Lambert's music.
On leaving Diaghilev, Nijinska starts a rich career as choreograph, teacher and director. After a collaboration with Paris Opéra and Colon in Buenos Aires, back to Europe, she creates Stravinsky's Le Baiser de la Fée (1928) and Ravel's Bolero (1928) and La Valse (1929) for Ida Rubinstein's company. She collaborates with a lot of companies, such as the Ballet Russe de Montecarlo, the Polish Ballet in Paris, the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and the Ballet International. In 1938 she opens a school in Los Angeles.
At last, Sir Frederick Ashton invites her to restage Les Biches (1964) and Les Noces (1966) for the Royal Ballet. In 1967 she is appointed artistic director of the Buffalo Ballet.
She dies in Los Angeles on February, 22nd 1972.