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Igor Schwezoff's Borzoi"

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My daughter just inherited a collection of ballet books, videos, and DVD's. One of them is Igor Schwezoff's autobiographical "Borzoi", published in 1935. I'd never heard of him before, so I did a google search and found this:

Igor Schwezoff

I did a BA search and didn't find any references to him. Has anyone read this autobiography? Long before I became interested in ballet, I already loved reading about Russian history, so I'm always thrilled to find books by Russian dancers. This one I'd somehow missed.

Looking forward to the read.

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A wonderful profile! Thank you, vagansmom. I had never heard of this dancer/teacher. I hope others will be able to post their memories or thoughts.

Here are two points that I thought were very interesting. One relates to the issue of technique, and whether great technique alone makes a great dancer.

Schwezoff emphasized that quality by itself is also not enough to make a good dancer. "Emotion alone is not sufficient, and in fact, is bad in dancing," he said. "Emotion has to be controlled. Until the dancer is the full master of his body and is well able to control his emotions, he is neither able to display them to full advantage, nor is he able to convey these emotions to the audience. The stronger one's technique, the easier one is able to devote oneself to the emotional and artistic side of dance. This is the reason why in class, one often does exercises and steps far more difficult than one will ever dream of performing in front of the public. The development if the body is required in order to be able to exercise more control over emotions."

The other has to do with Schwezoff's "perfect" dancer:

Schwezoff said that he has only seen one "perfect" dancer in his life ­ Olga Spessiva [spessivtseva], another Russian who was a star of the Paris Opera Company. "She was perfect in every aspect of dance... her technique, lines, movement, everything. I danced with her while I was in Argentina. She was absolutely marvelous."
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My daughter just inherited a collection of ballet books, videos, and DVD's. One of them is Igor Schwezoff's autobiographical "Borzoi", published in 1935.

Igor Schwezoff was one of my teachers at the Ballet Russe School in NYC in the 50's, early sixties.

He also taught at the Ballet Theatre School -same time period. He was a popular teacher and I remember

NYCB dancers like Melissa Hayden, Jillana, Francia Russell in his classes.

He was a wonderful pedagogue, and, as I recall, he did have a Russian wolfhound at this time period.

He also was one of the period's American ballet teachers teaching in Japan.

His well-written autobiography is replete with ballet and personal history within the larger frame of Russian history.

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Igor Schwezoff was considered one of the most influential teachers of his genereation in NYC. One may come upon former dancers (people now involved in the ballet world in a different way) who definitely swore by his classes. Lupe Serrano was one who spoke very highly of his classes. Your daughter has been given a treasure for a ballet dancer. I have the book and it is a delight.

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I saw his ballet, 'The Red Poppy', a 1-act adaptation of the Soviet production. Danilova was an enchanting Asian dancing girl and Frederic Franklin did a great Russian Sailor's Dance. About his autobiography 'Borzoi', he received a literary prize of $1,000. Lots of money in 1935.

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