Mikhail Mordkin
Mikhail Mordkin graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet School in 1899, and in the same year was appointed ballet master.

He joined Diaghilev's ballet
Ballets Russes
The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company from Russia which performed between 1909 and 1929 in many countries. Directed by Sergei Diaghilev, it is regarded as the greatest ballet company of the 20th century. Many of its dancers originated from the Imperial Ballet of Saint Petersburg...

 in 1909 as a leading dancer. After the first season he remained in Paris to dance with Pavlova
Anna Pavlova (dancer)
Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th century. She is widely regarded as one of the finest classical ballet dancers in history and was most noted as a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev...

. He then formed his own company, the All Star Imperial Russian Ballet, which toured America in 1911 and 1912.

Mikhail returned to the Bolshoi and was appointed its director in 1917.
He left Russia after the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, first working in Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, and finally settling in the United States in 1924. He founded the Mordkin Ballet in 1926, for which he choreographed a complete Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Swan Lake ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger...

and many other ballets. His company included such distinguished artists as Hilda Butsova, Felia Doubrovska, Pierre Vladimiroff
Pierre Vladimiroff
Pierre Vladimiroff, or Pyotr Nikolayevich Vladimirov , was a Russian dancer and teacher.Vladimirov graduated from the Imperial Ballet School in 1911 and remained a member of the Imperial Ballet company until 1918. In 1915, he received the title of the first dancer.In 1920, he and his later wife...

, and Nicholas Zvereff. After a European tour the company disbanded in 1926.

Mordkin continued to be a freelance artist and teacher. From among his students in America he formed a new Mordkin Ballet in 1937, the forerunner of Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

). His student Lucia Chase
Lucia Chase
Lucia Chase was an American dancer, actress, ballet director and also the co-founder of the American Ballet Theatre.- Career :...

helped finance his company and after the first season of Ballet Theatre, she and Richard Pleasant took over the management from Mordkin because they thought his plans lacked ambition. Although he had been pushed into the background, Mordkin helped build the foundation for ballet in America.
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