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Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky (1888-1950)
Vaslav Nijinsky, born in Kiev, Russia, March 12, 1888, while his parents, dancers Eleonora Bereda and Foma Nijinsky were on tour.
He studied at the Imperial School in St. Petersburg in 1898, and graduated in 1907.
His physics was short and stocky, and he was rather, shy and reserved, but the publicloved him.
Nijinsky moved in the aristocratic society of St. Petersburg. At a party he met Sergei Diaghilev, and under the influence of Diaghilev's strong personality, he soon became his lover and protégé.
In Paris he danced the leading roles in Le Pavillion d'Armida and Les Sylphides with Pavlova in 1909.
He continued to dance with the Diaghilev Ballet after 1909.
In 1911 Nijinsky danced with Tamara Karsavina in one of the most famous ballets of the time, Le Spectre de la Rose.
HIs choreography was influenced by Isadora Duncan in Paris and his ballets were often controversial.
In 1913 the Ballets Russes toured South America, and because of his fear of ocean voyages Diaghilev did not accompany them. Without his mentor's supervision Nijinsky fell in love with Romola de Pulszky, a Hungarian dancer. They were married in Buenos Aires: when the company returned to Europe, Diaghilev, in a jealous rage, fired them both.
During World War I Nijinsky,, was interned in Hungary. Diaghilev succeeded in getting him out for a North American tour in 1916, during which he choreographed and danced the leading role in Till Eulenspiegel.
Signs of his dementia praecox were becoming apparent, he became afraid of other dancers and that a trap door would be left open.
Nijinsky spent may years in and out of mental hospitals.
In 1947 the family moved to London, where he was cared for by his loving wife, Romola, until his death in 1950.
He is buried in Paris at the Sacre Coeur cemetery.
Vaslav Nijinsky is remembered especially for his effortless elevation, achieved without visible preparation. The combination of his virtuosity with acting and style made him the most famous male dancer of the twentieth century.