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Vaslav Nijinsky

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Nijinsky as Petrushka, 1911

Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer.

Early years[edit | edit source]

Nijinsky was born on 12 March 1889 in Kiev, Russian Empire. His parents were famous circus performers. Nijinsky was 9 when he joined the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg. He graduated in 1907, and became a member of the Imperial Ballet.

In 1909, he left the Imperial Ballet to join Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Diahilev and Nijinsky became lovers. Nijinsky created several roles with the company including Petrushka. He also choreographed four ballets: The Afternoon of a Faun, Jeux, Tyl Eulenspeigel, and The Rite of Spring.

Middle years[edit | edit source]

Nijinsky and his daughter Kyra, 1916

In 1913, he married Romola de Pulszky. In June 1914, they had a daughter, Kyra. This marriage caused him to be dismissed from the Ballets Russes.

During World War I, he was placed under house arrest in Hungary, but was finally released at the urging of Diaghilev, Alfonso XIII of Spain, Otto Kahn of the Metropolitan Opera, and President Woodrow Wilson.

Later years[edit | edit source]

Nijinsky grew mentally unstable in his later years. He settled in Switzerland with his family. He spent time in mental hospitals and asylums. He never danced again, and died in a clinic in London on April 8, 1950. He is buried in Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.

Video selections[edit | edit source]

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