Olga Iosifovna Preobrajenska (Russian: Ольга Иосифовна Преображенская Ol'ga Iosifovna Preobrazhenskaya) (2 February [O.S. 21 January] 1871 – 27 December 1962) was a well-known ballerina of the Russian Imperial Ballet.
She was born in Saint Petersburg as Olga Iosifovna Preobrazhenskaya (the final syllable of her surname was dropped for professional purposes, and she used the French transliteration Preobrajenska).
In 1879, she joined the Imperial Ballet School, where her teachers were Ekaterina Vazem, Nicholas Legat, Enrico Cecchetti, and Christian Johansson. After 10 years of intensive training, she moved to the Mariinsky Theatre, where she would work for the next quarter century. In 1900, she earned the title prima ballerina.
Olga Preobrajenska began her pedagogic career in 1914 with the Imperial Ballet Theatrical School and the Russian Choreographic School of Akim Volynsky. Among her pupils were Agrippina Vaganova, Vera Volkova, Tatjana Gsovsky.
After the Russian Revolution, Preobrajenska dedicated her life to teaching new generations of dancers, first in Petrograd, then in Paris from 1923. Every major mid-20th-century Western dancer visited Preobrajenska for lessons. Tamara Toumanova, Margot Fonteyn, Irina Baronova, Gillian Lynne and Vladimir Dokoudovsky were among the dancers she coached. Through her students, her methods were soon disseminated in some of the top ballet academies of Europe and New York. The Preobrajenska method emphasised purity and elegance of movement.
Her pupils: Margot Fonteyn, Alberto Alonso, Paul Grinwis, Nadia Nerina, Vladimir Dokoudovsky, Maurice Béjart, Irina Baronova, Tamara Toumanova, Nicholas Orloff, Nina Vyroubova, Maina Gielgud, Wladimir Skouratoff, Vera Zorina, Alexandra Danilova, Serge Golovine, Lilian Lambert, Milorad Miskovitch, Adam Darius, Ludmila Tcherina, Igor Youskevitch, Nina Youskevitch, Yury Zoritch, Georges Skibine, Daniel Spoerri, Margarete Wallmann, André Eglevsky, Hélène Kirsova, Belinda Wright, Alan Bergman, Yvonne Mounsey, etc.
Olga Preobrajenska died in France in 1962 aged 91, and poor, in a retirement home. She was interred in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris (according to other sources—in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery).
- Russian Ballet History // Olga Preobrajenska[dead link]
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