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RIP Elena Tchernichova


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Nutmeg Ballet is reporting on their Facebook page that legendary ballet dancer, teacher and coach Elena Tchernichova died this past week in St. Petersburg, Russia. Friend and contemporary of Nureyev, Baryshnikov and Makarova, Ms. Tchernichov was principal ballet mistress at ABT in the 1980's. In 2013, she wrote, with Joel Lobenthal, her autobiography, Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT.

My condolences to her son, Alexei.

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I am halfway through her book. For those who don't know, it's called Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT, and is co-written with Joel Lobenthal, who makes Elena's words sing. I didn't know she'd written her memoir until a week ago when I first heard of her death. This book is a must-read for anyone who loves the stories, as do I, of the 20th. century legendary ballet figures of the Soviet Union, as well as the ABT years under Baryshnikov. I had previously heard bits and pieces of these stories during the years my daughter was lucky enough to have had Elena as a teacher/coach, so it's thrilling for me to read them fully fleshed-out in Elena's own words. Even if one isn't all that interested in ballet, but is a Russian history buff, as am I, Elena's story is fascinating. I wonder how different her life would have been had she not been adopted by Evgenia Vecheslova-Snetkova and her daughter, Tatiana Vecheslova.

When I've completed the book, I'll post about it in the Writings on Ballet forum.

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