Michel Fokine

Helen of Troy
Polovtsian Dances
Russian Soldier
Le Spectre de la Rose
Les Sylphides
Michel Fokine was one of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century. He was also a talented dancer and teacher. He graduated from the Imperial Ballet School in 1898 and was promoted to First Soloist at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1904.
His early works were choreographed for school performances or for special occasions. In 1907 he created his first work for the Imperial Russian Ballet, Pavillion d'Armide. That year he also created Chopiniana, to music by Frederic Chopin, an early example of choreography to an already existing score rather than to music specifically written for the ballet. Chopiniana was revised over the next three years and Fokine's romantic pas de deux in the style of Taglioni to the Waltz in C minor, Op. 64, No.2, became the basis for his ballet blanc, Reverie romantique, Ballet sur la music de Chopin, which Diaghilev re-titled Les Sylphides in 1909. Fokine established his reputation while he was Chief Choreographer for Serge Diaghilev's first ballet seasons in the West. Diaghilev provided Fokine with the opportunity to break away from the academic form of late 19th century ballet and implement his reforms. Among his most famous ballets created for the Ballets Russes were the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, Les Sylphides, Le Spectre de la Rose and Petrouchka.
Fokine worked in Russia until 1918 and was later to settle in the USA where he continued to work as a teacher, dancer and choreographer. He created a number of new ballets for Ren Blum's Ballet Russes, including L'Epreuve d'Amour, and for Ballet Theatre, including Bluebeard, but Fokine was most constantly in demand to revive the masterpieces he originally created for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.
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