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Plaque for Kschessinska

Posted on July 1, 2019

A crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to pay for a plaque to be attached to the building where the Russian dancer, Mathilde Kchessinska, taught her classes in Paris for many years is being organised.

Born in Ligovo in 1872, Kschessinska became one of the greatest dancers at the Imperial Russian Ballet in St Petersburg in the years before the Russian Revolution, but died in exile in Paris in 1971 just short of her 100th birthday.

In 1929, Kschessinska founded a school in the Ranelagh district of Paris, where she taught a great number of distinguished dancers, including Tatiana Riabouchinska, David Lichine, André Eglevsky and Boris Kniaseff, as well as Therrell Smith, who went on to train generations of dancers herself, including Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Virginia Johnson. The initiative for the plaque is supported by Jean-Guillaume Bart and Gil Isoart of the Paris Opéra Ballet.

The budget for carving the stone and putting up the plaque is approximately 1,500 euros, and all relevant authorisations have now been granted, including the Paris Prefect. To contribute via the crowdfunding platform, visit this website. Additionally, donations may also be sent to the Société Auguste Vestris at Maison des Associations, 206 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris, France.

Image: Mathilde Kschessinska in Esmeralda. Photograph from the Dancing Times Archive

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, is out now as an ebook and available on Amazon, with the paperback following on August 22.

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