Vaslav Nijinsky – legendary ballet dancer
Contemporaries called him the eighth wonder of the world, King of the Air, God of Dance.
Vaslav Nijinsky was born on March 12, 1889 in Kiev. His parents were dancers at the Warsaw Imperial Theater and after retirement went on tour in Paris, Kiev, Minsk, Tiflis, Odessa, St. Petersburg. When they divorced, Eleanor Nijinskaya and their three children settled in the northern capital of Russia, St. Petersburg. She became the first teacher for her son.
At the age of ten Vaslav was brought to the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg by his parents. Soon he was recognized as remarkable by his ballet teacher, N. Legat.
Nijinsky was only fifteen, when he danced the role of the Faun in the ballet Acis and Galatea. It was a furor. After graduation from school the young dancer was immediately accepted into the troupe of the Mariinsky Theatre. Spectators were amazed by his magic jumps and his ability to hover in the air became the legend.
On January 24, 1911 there was a big scandal after the performance of Giselle. It was attended by all the fashionable Petersburg, including the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna with Grand Dukes. Nijinsky appeared in tights, which shocked the public. The costume was created from a sketch by Alexander Benois. After the performance the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna ordered to dismiss Nijinsky for a rude look. This was done.
In 1909, he met Diaghilev, who invited the genius of dance to perform with Ballets Russes in Paris. These two great men, Nijinsky and Diaghilev became each other’s biggest success.
Romola de Pulszky and Nijinsky met each other in 1912 in Budapest. They got married on September 10, 1913.
In 1914 Nijinsky organized his own troupe in London, but it did not last long, and Vaslav decided to return to Russia. At that moment, when he went to buy tickets the First World War began. Vaslav, his wife and daughter were in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The dancer was arrested and only the friends helped him to go to America. He performed in Metropolitan Opera and Manhattan Opera. On September 26, 1917 Nijinsky appeared on stage for the last time. Soon the madness enveloped his mind. In moments of enlightenment he dreamed of his own choreographic school, his own theater.
He died in London in a psychiatric hospital on April 11, 1950. Almost three years Nijinsky’s body lay in a zinc coffin in the basement of London hospital. Only in 1953 Serge Lifar, famous dancer and choreographer, bought a place at the prestigious Paris cemetery. He organized the burial of the great dancer. However, after the death of Lifar Nijinsky’s grave was abandoned. Only in 1996 it was found by Igor Makhaev, a graduate of the Perm Ballet School. The grave could be destroyed in 1997 because it wasn’t paid. Igor paid it sixty years ahead.