Lifar, Serge

BORN 2 Apr 1904, Kiev - DIED 15 Dec 1986, Lausanne, Vaud
BIRTH NAME Lyfar, Serhiy Mykhaylovych
GRAVE LOCATION Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, Essonne: Cimetière russe de Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, rue Léo Lagrange

Serhiy Lifar was refused by Bronislava Nijinska as a student at her ballet school, but after he entered the Kiev Opera Ballet School she became one of his teachers after all. In 1923 he was one of five students from Kiev to join Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in France, replacing on of the selected students at the last minute.

In France he was a pupil to Enrico Cecchetti and he managed to become one of Diaghilev's 'favorites', meaning he was also a lover of the master (in fact he was the last dancer-lover of Diaghilev). This helped his career as a dancer and a choreographer and he enjoyed some considerable successes. Although he tired others with his self promotion he proved himself very capable.

In 1929 he was at Diaghilev's bedside when the latter died. During the same year he was invited to star in a production by Balanchine. After the latter fell ill he took over the choreography of "Prométhée" and was the star dancer as well. He became ballet master as well as director of the Paris Opera Ballet where he started weekly ballet performances (until then ballet had only been performed in combination with opera). He worked there until 1957, with one interruption. During the Second World War he socialized openly with the Germans. Afterwards he claimed that he worked as an under cover agent. He was forced to leave the Paris Opera Ballet in 1944 but he was allowed to return in 1947.

Related persons
• cooperated with Chauviré, Yvette
• was the lover of Diaghilev, Sergei
• cooperated with Tcherina, Ludmila


The grave of Serge Lifar at the Cimetière Russe, Ste.-Geneviève-des-Bois.
Picture by Androom (18 Nov 2006)


Serge Lifar - Wikipedia

Lilienthal, Gustav

Published: 08 Feb 2008
Last update: 26 Jan 2022