He was born Alexander Zuckermann in Mariupol, Russian Empire on May 13, 1886. Alexander was one of the most innovative soloist dancers of the first decades of the 20th century. He married the German dancer Clotilde von der Planitz (1893–1974), and they had a successful career together.
In his book Reflections on Dance and Music, he explained his artistic credo:
...Clotilde Sakharoff and I did not dance with music or accompanied by music: we danced music. We made the music visual, expressing by means of movements what the composer has expressed by means of sounds... Nothing less than the states of the soul, the impressions, the sensations lived by the composer and transposed to the sound with the help of its art... Our aim was to transpose the sense expressed by the music of the sounds, to the music of the movements.