Flawless... and beautiful... prima ballerina Tamara Platonovna Karsavina (1885–1978) was born on this day in pre-revolution St. Petersburg, Russia, the daughter of a famous dancer.
"We always lived from hand to mouth, never looking ahead," she said of her humble beginnings. "Mother's dream was to make a dancer of me."
Karsavina attended boarding school, then the Imperial ballet. In 1902, she made her ballet debut in St. Petersburg, and was a lead ballerina of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes from its 1909 inception until 1922.
"Something akin to a miracle happened every night," Karsavina said. She was a celebration of beauty, the inspiration of many portrait artists.
A leading exponent of Michael Fokine's avant-garde dance theories, with passionate, expressive dance she helped to revive interest in ballet in western Europe. She helped found the Royal Academy of Dancing (1920).
Along with Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova, Karsavina was a great artist who danced to new music by Igor Stravinsky, Ravel, and Prokofiev, and wore costumes by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Coco Chanel.
Her autobiography, Theater Street was once considered THE book for every young girl studying ballet. She described dance training "as a consecrated ground of daily work, a link in the chain of continuity."
Dance with your whole heart. Celebrate your life!