The Ballerina Gallery
Olga Spessivtzeva
1895 - 1991
Mariinsky Ballet, Ballets Russes, Paris Opéra Ballet


Photo: Hoppé

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Photo: Lipnitzki

Photo: Lipnitzki

Photo: Lipnitzki

Photo: Lipnitzki

Photo: Lipnitzki

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Olga Spessivtzeva was born in Rostov, Russia, in 1895. She was a pupil of Sokolova, Fokine and Vaganova and graduated in 1913 and became soloist with the Mariinsky ballet in 1916. She was an exquisite romantic dancer with perfect technique, ideally suited for Giselle and Odette-Odile.

In 1916 she toured USA with Diaghilev, replacing Tamara Karsavina, and danced with Nijinsky. In 1921 she danced Aurora in Diaghilev's famous The Sleeping Princess in London. From 1924 to 1932 she danced mainly at the Paris Opéra Ballet. In 1932 she made another historical guest appearance in London dancing Giselle with Anton Dolin. She also toured in Buenos Aires and Australia.

Moved to USA in 1939 and after showing signs of depression she suffered a nervous breakdown in 1943 and was placed in a mental hospital. Not until 20 years later was she discharged with great help from Anton Dolin and Felia Doubrovska and settled in the Tolstoy Farm outside New York. She died peacefully there 1991.