The choreographer Leonid Myasin: a Russian foreigner

The choreographer Leonid Myasin: a Russian foreigner
The choreographer Leonid Myasin: a Russian foreigner

The name of Leonid Myasin is little known in Russia, he is known in narrow circles of dancers, choreographers and ballet dancers. Sergei Diaghilev's insight and flair for young talented dancers once turned the fate of a young Russian ballet dancer and inscribed him in the history of foreign ballet.

Childhood and family

Leonid Fedorovich Myasin was born in Moscow on August 8, 1895. His parents were musicians: his father, Fyodor Myasin, was a horn player at the Bolshoi Theater, and his mother, Evgenia, performed soprano parts at the same Bolshoi. The family had five children. Four sons, of which Leonid was the youngest and latest child, and a daughter.

The Leni brothers were far from art, the elder Mikhail was a military man, and the other two Konstantin and Grigory were preparing to become engineers. Even at an early age, Leonid Myasin began to show interest in dancing and music, but it was for fun, rather than a conscious desire to devote himself to art.

Myasin Leonid Fedorovich

Once a friend of her mother from the Bolshoi Theater saw the boy moving and advised Evgenia Nikolaevna to send him to a theater school. Leonid passed the entrance exams to the theater school and soon he was enrolled in the main class of the ballet department.

At the age of eight he beganto comprehend the basics of choreography by participating in productions and performances of the Maly Drama Theater. Having successfully passed the exams as an external student, Leonid is at a crossroads: ballet or dramatic art.

Meeting with Diaghilev

Russian theater figure and author of "Russian Seasons" Sergei Diaghilev after leaving the troupe of Vaclav Nezhinsky goes in search of a new prime minister and the central figure of the "Seasons" troupe. Seeing Massine in 1913 in a small role in Swan Lake, Diaghilev makes an offer to Leonid to join the troupe and go with him to Paris. To his own surprise, the guy agrees. In January 1914, Massine leaves Russia.

Russian Seasons

Dyagilev was preparing a production of "The Legend of Joseph", in which the role is intended for Myasin. But before the premiere, a long preparation of the dancer for the "Russian Seasons" follows.

Leonid Myasin my life in ballet

He studies with Cecchetti in Italy, where Leonid Myasin and Diaghilev arrived. The men visited exhibitions, museums, restaurants, spent a lot of time together and were often seen by the inhabitants of the Italian Positano.

On May 14, 1914, the premiere of "The Legend of Joseph" took place in Paris, which was a resounding success and became Myasin's "golden ticket" to the Diaghilev troupe as the first dancer and favorite.

Partners and other members of the troupe recalled Massine as an impulsive and demanding dancer, megalomania and selfishness often interfered with the interaction of artists on stage. HoweverNevertheless, Diaghilev has no doubts about the young Massine, he invites Leonid to perform all the parts of Nezhinsky.

Constant references to Vaclav as a talented artist are very annoying and hurt Myasin's pride, in addition, a failed tour to the States cracks the young man's self-confidence. Diaghilev decides to cheer up the guy and invites him to become the choreographer of the Russian Seasons. Together they make plans for new productions and tours, but the outbreak of the First World War spoils everything. The general interest in art is falling, the troupe rarely travels and only to the garrisons and hospitals. In 1915, the debut production of Leonid Myasin's "Midnight Sun" was a success, and the dancer became a choreographer.


Myasin travels a lot in search of inspiration and knowledge of folk dances. He is known in Switzerland, Spain, France. The performances "A Woman in a Good Mood", "Parade", "Cocked Hat" and other works were then presented to the foreign public. Some performances caused indignation, others - they were torn off by a standing ovation.

Diaghilev was ambivalent about the choreographer, secretly he was afraid of repeating the story with Nezhinsky, which happened in 1921. Leonid Myasin announced his marriage to the ballerina Vera Savina, after which he was fired by Diaghilev from the troupe. The choreographer himself took his exile painfully, as he lost his beloved work and livelihood. Love did not bring consolation - in 1924 the Choreographer and Savina broke up.

Leonid Myasin

During the same period, Myasin acquires a small islandan archipelago near Naples, which he wants to equip as a residence for theater and ballet artists. Immediately he began to live and write his autobiography. The work of Leonid Myasin "My life in ballet" will become available to readers only in the 90s, thanks to which his personality will begin to be studied in Russia.

In 1933, the choreographer gathers former Diaghilev and talented artists into the troupe "Russian Ballet in Monte Carlo", and in 1939 he will begin to conquer America with ballet. The tour in the States was so successful that Myasin and his third wife Tatyana Orlova moved to live in the USA.

Visits to Russia

In 1961, after 40 years of absence, Myasin came to Moscow. Hoping to plunge into pleasant childhood memories, Leonid meets only sadness and disappointment. Surveillance, censorship, the NKVD also affected his family, his older brother Mikhail, a military officer, was arrested for "careless word." People lived with caution and caution, such a situation in Russia upset Myasin very much.

Leonid Myasin and Diaghilev

The second visit of the choreographer to his homeland took place two years later. He hoped that his productions would be seen at the Bolshoi Theatre. But the then Minister of Culture Furtseva had a negative attitude towards everything Western, albeit with Russian roots, and Myasin left with nothing.

Last years of life

Massin has staged more than 100 ballets, which have been seen in all corners of developed countries. He even starred in several films, where he also participated in the choreography. In the last years of his life, Leonid Fedorovich lectured on folk dances inRoyal School in London. His children Leonid and Tatyana also became ballet dancers.

The choreographer has died at the age of 83 in Germany.

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