Alexandra Danilova

Recorded at Jacob's Pillow: 
August 1952

Posthumously named as one of America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures, Alexandra Danilova (1903-1997) was born in Russia and studied at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg. She joined the Maryinsky Ballet in 1920, and left four years later with her fellow dancer and companion, George Balanchine, in order to join Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. She made her first Pillow appearance in 1948 (with Frederic Franklin) and danced here several times more through 1955. Generations of Pillow students and interns know her because Ted Shawn named a residential cabin for her in 1958. After retiring from the stage, she became a key faculty member for the School of American Ballet and wrote an engaging memoir titled after her own nickname, Choura. In later years, she gained an entirely new audience because of her distinctive role as the ballet teacher, Madame Dahkarova, in The Turning Point.

Dance Title: Sugar Plum Fairy variation from The Nutcracker
Choreography: Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo version after Lev Ivanov
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (added to film by John Sauer in 2003)