Vaslav Nijinsky | The greatest male dancer of the early 20th century

It was his last dance. Vaslav Nijinsky,the Russian dancer and choregrapher of Polish descent encountered a group of Russian soldiers decamped outside of Vienna,during the last days of the World War 2,playing traditional folk tunes. Inspired by the music and his reunion with his ountrymen,Nijinsky leapt into an exquisite dance,astounding the men with the complexity and grace of his figures.

Vaslsv Nijinsky was born in 1889 or 1890 in Kiev,Ukraine,a part of Russian Empire as Waclaw Nizynski,to ethnic Polish parents,dancers Tomasz Nizynski and Eleonora Bereda.Nijinsky was christened in Warsaw,and considered himself to be a Pole despite difficulties in properly speaking the language as a result of his childhood in Russian's interior where his parents worked.

     In 1900 Nijinsky joined the Imperial Ballet School,where he studied under Enrico Cecchetti,Nikolai Legat,and Pavel Gerdt.In 1904 at the age of just 14 Nijinsky was selected by the great choreographer Marius Petipa to dance a principal role in what proved to be the choregrapher's last ballet,La Romance de rose et d'un Papillon.But the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War.In subsequent years Nijinsky was given several soloist roles.In 1910,the company's Prima ballerina Mathiled Nijinsky to dance in a revival.

       Cited as the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century,he grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations.He could perform en pointe,a rare skill among male dancers at the time and his ability to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was also legendary.

       Nijinsky became acquainted with Romola de pulszky,a Hungarian countess.An ardent fan of Nijinsky,she took up ballet and used her family connections to get close to him.Despite her efforts to attract him,Nijinsky initially appeared unaware of her interest.They married while overseas.

       During World War I,Nijinsky was interned in Hungary and it was around this time in his life that signs of his schizophrenia were becoming apparent to members of the company. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and taken to Switzerland by his wife,where he was treated unsuccessfully by psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler.

       He spent the rest of his life in and asylums. Nijinsky died in a clinic in London on April 8,1950 and was buried in London until 1953 when his body was moved to Montmartre Cemetery,Paris,France beside the graves of Gaetan Vestris,Theophile Gautier,and Emma Livry.


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