Biography of Makhail Mikhailovich Mordkin (1880-1944)

Dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director Russian, later naturalized American, born in Moscow on December 21, 1880 and died in Millbrook (New Jersey), on July 15, 1944.

He studied at the school of the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, company with which he made his debut in 1899, and which was also a soloist in the choreographies of Alexander Gorsky: Raymonda (1900), El Lago de los Cisnes (1901), the daughter of Gudule (1902), La Bayadère (1904) and Nur and Anitra (1907), among others. In 1909 he went to Paris, to participate in the presentation of the Ballets Russes of Diaghilev, with the role of Rene in Le Pavillon d'Armide, of Mikhail Fokine, the Gipsy of the ballet Le Festin alongside Sophia Fedorova and Raymonda, Grand Pas Classique with Vera Karalli.

He left the company to join of Anna Pavlova, who premiered, among others, a Russian dance choreographed by the own Mordkin, and presented on June 26, 1909 in l' Opéra de Paris, in a gala to benefit the victims of an earthquake in the South of France. After a tour with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes by different theatres of varieties of London and New York, and after directing the actions of Lydia Sokolova between 1910 and 1911, Mordkin formed his own company, the Russian Imperial Ballet of stars. With her, he made his debut in New York City which presented his version of El Lago de los Cisnes (1911) together with Ekaterina Geltzer. In 1912 he returned to the Bolshoi Ballet, and in 1917 he was appointed artistic director of the company. In this period he premiered new Gorsky ballets, among them Schubertian (1913) and Eunice and Petronius (1915). He settled permanently in New York in 1924; two years later he organized the Mordkin Ballet from his own school. The company, which toured America and Europe, disbanded shortly after, and reunited in 1937. From this group was created the Ballet Theatre in 1939, directed by Lucia Chase, one of his students, and Richard Pleasant.