Olga Spessivtseva - Biography
|Olga Spessivtseva in 1924. She left Russia that year.|
Although she did not support Serge Diaghilev's ideas about dance, in 1916 she agreed to replace Tamara Karsavina on the American tour of The Ballets Russes. When she returned to Russia in 1918, she was promoted to Prima Ballerina. Here she had her chance to dance Giselle for the first time. For many, Spessivtseva was the perfect Giselle, her flawless dancing and air of vulnerability eclipsing even the interpretation of Pavlova.
Spessivtseva's fragile health and the deprivations of the Russian Revolution contributed to her contracting tuberculosis circa 1919. By 1921 she had regained her strength, and rejoined the Ballets Russes in London to dance Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Princess. The ballet was a financial failure, but when Spessivtseva returned to her homeland, she danced Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and was a great success.
In 1924 she left Russia for the last time and became the star of the Paris Opera Ballet. She had problems with the management and left in 1927 to briefly dance again for the Ballets Russes. Afterward she returned to the Paris Opera, where she danced Salomé and created a role in Serge Lifar's Creatures of Prometheus.
Andros on Ballet