Prima Ballerinas


Alicia Markova in the ballet Le Chant du Rossignol. Photographer unknown, ca. 1925. Howard D. Rothschild Collection. b MS Thr 414.2 (114). Bequest, 1989.

Photograph of Alicia Markova in the ballet Le Chant du Rossignol

The young British ballet student Alice Marks was a student and protegée of Serafima Astafieva, who prevailed upon Diaghilev in 1924 to visit her studio to see her fourteen-year-old pupil. She was engaged to join the company, adopting the Russianized name Alicia Markova. The young dancer took the part of the Nightingale in this new version of Stravinsky’s Le Chant du Rossignol, which also marked George Balanchine’s debut as a choreographer in Diaghilev‘s company.