A video clip of the Ballet Russe is available
courtesy of the
Most people knew Nathalie Krassovska as "Madame"--a title of great and
well-deserved respect. As a ballerina she performed the best of the
classical repertory with some of the finest and most famous dancers of
the Twentieth Century. As a member of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo,
she toured Europe and South America. In North America she toured with
the Ballet Russes on a train that brought classical ballet to large and
small cities and towns that had never seen a ballet. They were the
ballet pioneers in America.
Early in her career she worked with such choreographers as Balanchine,
Bronislava Nijinska, Michael Fokine, and Leonide Massine. After a long
career as a soloist and then Prima Ballerina with the Ballet Russes and
then went on to become Prima Ballerina with the London Festival Ballet
from 1950 to 1960.
In 1963, Madame Krassovska settled in Dallas, Texas. As a Dallas
teacher, she maintained a strict classical Russian Romantic style. She
gained a loyal and devoted following of hundreds of students and many
many fans. She incorporated the delicacy, soft phrasing, effortless and
almost non-acrobatic aspects of that old company style into her new
dancers to an impressively thorough extent. Upon seeing a performance of
Krassovska Ballet Jeunesse, Victoria Lowe of "Dance Magazine" said, "It
was, simply the best perfornance by a local company this season....the
discipline of the classical Russian Romantic tradition; the soft arms,
expressive epaulement and stage presence, and the technical command
which permits dancers to move without apparent effort and without making
the slightest sound. They were not just good; they were great.
There is almost no one, it seemed, that Madame Krassovska did not know
or at least had not met in the ballet world. She told her wonderful
stories as she told of her experiences dancing with Anton Dolin, Igor
Youskevitch, Frederic Franklin, Alexandra Danilova and Serge Lefar--stories
which few in the ballet world was able to match and were a joy.
Jack Anderson, dance critic for the "The New York Times," remembers
Madame Krassovska as the first ballerina he ever saw perform the Black
Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake, an occasion which he says made an
indelible impression. But there are many others like him who can say
Madame Krassovska is the woman responsible for instilling in them a
fascination and love for ballet.
Flamboyant, animated, and dedicated, Madame Krasskovska carried herself
like a Prima Ballerina who commanded a spotlight of her own until her
death at 86 years in 2005. She held rehearsal the day before she died.
Madame Krassovska was teacher and mentor to Anna Ward for almost 18
years. Not only did Anna dance principal roles with the Company, but
also was Madame's protege, and encouraged her talent in creating
original ballets of her own.