2 3 Throwback Thursday and Lidia Ivanova | Ballet Webb

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday and Lidia Ivanova

Throwback Thursday and Lidia Ivanova

A mysterious figure in dance history is Lidia Ivanova. She is the subject of a new book by Elizabeth Kendall: "Balanchine and the Lost Muse: Revolution & the Making of a Choreographer". I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds fascinating.

Lidia Ivanova and George Balanchine were friends during their early dancing days in Russia, and she performed with him in some of his early, experimental works. The two were opposites: he was a dreamer and she was an extrovert, but apparently the combination worked.

It is believed that the memory of her influenced his choreography throughout his life, particularly in his famous work Serenade. In 1924, just days before Lidia was scheduled to leave Russia on a tour with Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova (and others), her life ended in a mysterious boating accident.

At the time, Lidia was dating a Communist officer and she went out on a boat with four soldiers. During the trip, their boat was forcibly struck by another boat. It is thought that Lydia was thrown under the propellers by the impact and killed. But although the four men returned safely, Lidia’s body was never found. Today, there are those who believe her death was no accident. Did she know something and was silenced? It remains a mystery.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #87:  
Ballerina Lidia Ivanova died under mysterious circumstances.

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