Ballet star, 97, dies of Covid

The Russian dancer Nina Popva, star of American Ballet Theater in the 1940s and later the first director of Houston Ballet, has died in Florida of the pandemic.

photo: Seymour

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  • Bless her soul I hope it wa a “related” death, but 97 is a great age. As it was a great age: Mia Slavenska, Louise Nevelson, Margot Fonteyn, Massine,, Agnes de Mille, Martha Graham, Edward Villellas, Ulanova, Igor Youskevitch back to the legends Anna Pavlova and Vaclav Nijinsky, with film and photos to prove it. I saw a few of them, including Leonide Massine, ‘Sasha’ the zapatero in “The Red Shoes”, when he taught at Dominican College in San Rafael. He went straight back to the Ballets-Russe de Monte Carlo, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, and Monteux’s “there was nevaire a scandale like MY scandale.”

    Perhaps uniquely among danseurs, Edard Villellas danced on stage with his daughter. Fistoulari,

    Conductors also: Efrem Kurtz, Dorati, Anatole Fistoulari, Vladimir Golschmann, I think Issay Dobrowen, and Monteux. The marvelous film “Red Shoes” gives some idea, Anton Walbrook a marvelously theatrical impresario Boris Lermontov, surrounded by actual dancers including fiery Moira Shearer, with Marius Goring as her ambitious conductor, Mr. Castner (?), and Albert Bassermann the unforgettable costumier old Sergei.

    • Not to mention Nina Stroganova, Vladimir Dokoudovksy, and Kenneth MacKenzie, or maybe you never saw the Original Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo de Colonel de Basil.

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