Michel (or Michael) PanaieffDancer and Teacher 1909-1982
Posted 30 November 2006 - 11:15 AM
Some googling showed that Mr. Panaieff was a Yugoslav born dancer of Russian background who was born on January 24, 1909 who died on February 7, 1982. Here is part of his NY Times obituary:
"Michel Panaieff, ballet dancer and teacher, died of cancer Feb. 8 in Los Angeles, where he had a ballet studio. He was 69 years old. Mr. Panaieff, born in Novogorad, began to dance seriously in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where his family had emigrated from Russia. He became a principal dancer of the Belgrade Opera in 1935, but it was as a member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and Original Ballet Russe that he was best known. In the first company, Mr. Panaieff created roles in Leonide Massine's ''Capriccio Espagnol'' and ''Rouge et Noir.'' Mr. Panaieff brought a dramatic touch to his roles, the most popular of which was Franz, the peasant swain in ''Coppelia.'' Among his teachers were Lubov Egorova and Aleksander Volinine."
Panaieff later emigrated to America. Later he served in the U.S. Army Tank Corps for three years during World War II. He also choreographed and danced in the movies and television:
He started various dance companies in the Los Angeles area one of which was called Ballet Musicale (with Lila Zali) which later morphed into the Los Angeles City Ballet. As a teacher one of his students was Cynthia Gregory. He seems to have written about dance too - pedagogical manuals.
Just wondering if this chance discovery jogs any memories. Have any of you studied with Mr. Panaieff or remember him? Did any of you see him dance? Do any of you remember Geraldine Forrey, Victor Moreno or Vanya Mishvek?
Posted 08 December 2006 - 10:05 AM
Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:58 AM
Posted 07 January 2008 - 02:04 PM
Another interesting tidbit - Panaieff starred in a film called "Mission to Moscow" (1943) a piece of wartime pro-Soviet propaganda. This film later proved an embarassment to the studio when Russia became THE ENEMY during the Cold War era. Supposedly Jack Warner said it was one movie he wished he never made but Russia was our ally in World War II and took a beating pushing back the Nazis from the Eastern Front. Anyway, in this movie an unbilled Cyd Charisse plays Galina Ulanova and Mr. Panaieff is her partner. Haven't seen the movie but I would guess Cyd is just seen dancing in the background.
Posted 08 January 2008 - 05:58 AM
Posted 08 January 2008 - 09:13 AM
Posted 08 January 2008 - 12:07 PM
Posted 08 January 2008 - 01:40 PM
Posted 08 October 2008 - 07:10 PM
When I was 13yrs old, he asked me to dance as the doll in Coppelia, because he and Alexei Yudenich said that I had such a pretty face. It was the last performance I got to dance. My life was turned upside down after that, and I wish that I could turn the clock back to class with Victor.
Posted 08 October 2008 - 09:28 PM
Posted 29 November 2008 - 07:34 PM
I took only a couple of classes from Misha. He was a character, with quite the loyal following. His school was colorful with a huge wall of famous dancer autographs. Hollywood used his school for rehearsals, as did various acts (I saw Ann Maragret rehearse her Vegas show there). He had a very friendly personality, easy with a smile and interesting joke. He adopted a man who was in his 20's, because "David never had a father and I never had a son". He would come to my ballet studio to set ballets on our little company, Ballet des Arts. He would always give me a good part, noting that I paced like a "race horse". We did his "Devil's Belt", a Ballet Russes type ballet that was a love story, complete with gypsies, one of which I danced.
He would come to rehearsals drunk, often swigging from an ornate cane that housed whiskey. I remember that he had trouble remembering his choreography, but the dances eventually got completed. We all loved him.
I went to his house for a BBQ once. He had a lot of memorabilia from his dancing days. He was quite handsome and charming looking. He was rather a short, stocky man in his older years, but you could tell that he probably was a good looking dancer in his youth.
He called Houston Ballet on my behalf and got me a job with Nina Popova's company in the late 60's, early 70's. That's another story in itself. I appreciated his generosity and I remember that he asked me first if that is what I would like. Just being accepted into a Disney touring company, with Ona White as choreographer, I really wanted to dance in a ballet company. I flew out the next day as a company member. Thank you, Misha.
Paul Maure was married to Andrea Karlsen, after leaving the Grand Ballets de Marquis de Cuevas company. They settled in La Canada-Flintridge, CA; my hometown. They brought international training to our city. (Miss Karlsen was taught privately by Bronislava Nijinska, later taken into the de Cuevas company when she was hired as ballet mistress. She and Mr. Maure lived in a beautiful area of La Canada, a Spanish style villa, with pool and guest house. ) He was quite handsome and quite a ladies' man. I liked his classes, but his wife's classes were really the treasure.
He eventually started a second school in San Fernando Valley. He guested at so many schools throughout the S. California area: notably Ballet Pacifica (Lila Zali), Sallie Whelan, Panaieff's school. He was hired as guest performer with many local groups. He loved that and his biggest regret was not being to continue dancing in his older years. I was lucky to have danced a number of pas de deuxs with him. He could make me do 20 pirouettes, which made me wonder why no one else could do that with me. He was an excellent partner and was known for his pirouettes and entrechats. Mr. Maure is still alive with many loyal, loving students.
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