Sonia Gaskell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sonia Gaskell
Sonia Gaskell 1964.jpg
Sonia Gaskell in 1964
Born(1904-04-14)14 April 1904
Died9 July 1974(1974-07-09) (aged 70)
Known forBallet and dance director

Sonia Gaskell (14 April 1904 – 9 July 1974) was a Lithuanian-Dutch-Jewish dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, and dance director.

Life and career[edit]

Sonia Gaskell was born in Vilkaviškis, Russian Empire (now located in Lithuania), of Russian Jewish parents and first studied ballet in Kharkov, Ukraine. In 1921 she was sent to Palestine to escape Russian pogroms against the Jews. She relocated to Paris with her first husband in 1925, where she continued her ballet studies with Lubov Egorova and Léo Staats, and began dancing in nightclubs and touring cabaret shows during the 1930s.

She danced for the Ballets Russes from 1927–29 and Les Ballets de Paris where she served as director and choreographer until 1939, when she moved to Amsterdam with her Dutch husband. She worked as a dance teacher in Amsterdam, hiding from the Nazis during World War II, but still teaching. She established and served as director of companies including Ballet Recital, Ballet Studio '45 and the Netherlands Ballet. She was founder of the Netherlands Ballet Academy in The Hague, and served as artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet from 1961–68. Gaskell retired as director in 1969, and afterward served on the board of UNESCO and worked in TV productions. She died in Paris.

Gaskell's students included Audrey Hepburn[1] and noted choreographer Hans van Manen.

Personal life[edit]

Gaskell married twice. About 1922 she married the mathematician Abraham Goldenson in Palestine, but the couple separated in 1939. She then married architect Philipp Heinrich Bauchhenss (1894–1948).[2] She had no children.


In 2009 the Jewish Historical Museum and the Netherlands Theatre Institute presented an exhibition based on her life and work.[3] The Sonia Gaskell Prize is awarded for excellence in choreography.[4]


  1. ^ Gitlin, Martin (2009). Audrey Hepburn: A Biography. p. 24. ISBN 0313359458.
  2. ^ "sonia gaskell".
  3. ^ "Sonia Gaskell".
  4. ^ Who's Who in the World, 1991–1992. Marquis Who's Who. 1990.