Tamara Platonovna Karsavina (1885-1978)

Tamara Karshavina - Petruska - 1911.

Tamara Karsavina, one of the greatest dancers of the Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev was born in St. Petersburg on March 10, 1885, the daughter of dancer Platon Karsavin. Tamara became a legend in her own life time. Her technical perfection, wit, rare intelligence, and deep feeling made her a prima ballerina for all times.

Karsavina graduated from St. Petersburg's Imperial Ballet School in 1902 and immediately entered the Maryinsky Ballet as a soloist. From 1909 to 1918 she was given starring roles with the rank of Ballerina. She was a ballerina with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes from its beginnings in 1909. ...

I do not know any other dancer who practices the art of shaping lyricism - the tenderest virtue of the human soul, the source of purest intimate pleasure - into a more perfect form of dance than Tamara Platonovna Karsavina does. The secret of the charm exuded by the ballerina lies in her exclusive gift for turning the dance she performs into poetry.

Each ballet role, independent of its purely technical ulties, or whether it belongs to the world of classical dance, or is a new creation - is always enveloped in the weightless, transparent veil of a dream, a poetic mist that muffles glaring outlines and avoids any angularities

The dance performed by Karsavina, imbued with charming softness and endlessly attractive womanhood, swaddled with the freshness and the purity of youth is alien to any bravura, to any tricks which often only conceal the void of inner feelings by means of the effects of dazzling brilliancy. It remains always and everywhere on plane of finished technical mastery. It cannot be otherwise, because it is only through mastery that on artist gains an understanding of all the mysteries of beauty. Karsavina's dance is congenial to the finest poem, to the most delicately formed sonnet,in which every line is a tribute to the altar of poetry and rejoices the soul. Her dance pours out tunes of pure lyricism, which contrast the stern fanfares of the stern, lacerating drama.

The lines of this dance are pure, soft, flowing and musically flexible, noble and at the same time sincere. This sincerity is just the supreme beauty in the creative genius of Karsavina, as well as in art in general; in her atmosphere blossoms the tenderest flowers of the poetry of dance, which the ballerina scatters around the whole world, flying above the forests, valleys, mountains and seas like a magic fairy with a radiant smile on her lips.

Edward Stark


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