Ballet Dancer. Born in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), Russia, she escaped with her parents from the Bolshevik Revolution and eventually settled in Paris, where she became one of three celebrated prodigies known as the "baby ballerinas" discovered by the legendary choreographer George Balanchine in Paris during the 1930s. Having studied under Olga Preobrajenska, at age 11 she debuted at the Paris Opera in 1930, and in 1932 joined Balanchine's "Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo" where she gained international attention at age 13 and became one of its leading ballerinas before leaving in 1943. During this period she toured widely in Europe, the United States, Australia and Latin America. At the peak of her fame, she toured Australia with one of the Ballets Russes tours in 1938, dancing "Les Sylphides," a ballet she remained associated with for the rest of her life. For a time she lived in the United States where she performed with the American Ballet Theater and aso made several films, "Florian" (1940) and Yolanda" (1943) and, much later, appeared as ballet mistress in "Nijinsky" (1980) and as herself in a documentary, "Ballets Russes" (2005). Having spent much of her adult life in London, she was a Fellow of Britain's Royal Academy of Dance and in 1999 moved to Australia to be near a daughter. She was also a patron of the Australian Ballet School. Her memoirs, "Irina: Ballet, Life and Love" were published in 2005. She died in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia. (bio by: Fred Beisser)
Burial: Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Fred Beisser Record added: Jul 20, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28422556