Nijinsky, Vaslav Fomich (1889–1950)
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Nijinsky was a Russian-trained dancer and choreographer whose technical prowess and exotic stage presence made him a star of early Ballets Russes seasons in Paris and London (1909-1913), and whose four choreographic works blazed new artistic trails in an atmosphere of scandal and invention on the eve of European modernism. Born in Kiev to itinerant Polish dancers, Nijinsky was trained at the Imperial Theatre School in St. Petersburg before joining the Maryinsky (later Kirov) Ballet, where he had early successes partnering the company’s highest-ranking ballerinas. In his subsequent work with the Ballets Russes, a troupe taken to the West by impresario Sergey Diaghilev, Nijinsky first became known for his spectacular leap and his enigmatic and powerful sensuality in such roles as the Spirit of the Rose in Le Spectre de la Rose and the Golden Slave in Schéhérazade.