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Michel Fokine

Fokine, Michel (mēshĕlˈ fōkēnˈ, Rus. fôˈkyĭn) [key], 1880–1942, Russian-American choreographer and ballet dancer, b. Russia. He studied at the Imperial Ballet School (1889–98) and danced at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg. In 1905 he created Le Cygne (The Dying Swan) for Pavlova to music of Saint-Saëns. He accompanied Sergei Diaghilev to Paris in 1909 and was choreographer for his company until 1914. Fokine, considered the founder of modern ballet, based his choreography on the old system of training but eliminated rigid traditions, thus paving the way for the new freedom to come with expressionism. He emigrated in 1919 to the United States, where he formed several companies and conducted a ballet school. In 1932 he became a U.S. citizen. Among the approximately 70 ballets created by Fokine are Les Sylphides (1909), Prince Igor (1909), The Firebird (1910), Scheherazade (1910), The Spectre of the Rose (1916), and Petrouchka (1916).

See his memoirs (ed. by A. Chujoy, tr. 1961).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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