Russian ballerina Irina Baronova
Beautiful Russian ballerina Irina Baronova was born March 13, 1919, 95 years ago, in the cold and hungry Petrograd, in the family of Kolchak officer Mikhail Baronov. Irina Baronova, Irochka, will become a world famous ballerina, film actress. Meeting with her would seek such iconic figures of the twentieth century, as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Igor Stravinsky, Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin, Adolf Hitler and many others. She would be a mother-in-law of American actor, comedian Steve Martin.
Irina’s mother Lidia (nee Vishniakova) was a daughter of a lieutenant of the Imperial Navy Alexander Veshnyakov, who refused to serve the Soviet authorities. Mikhail Baronov had to escape from the new authorities. Miraculously, Mikhail was able to send to the bank of the Neva news that he was in Odessa and asked his wife Lydia and her daughter Irina to come to him as soon as possible. How does a young woman with a baby managed to get through several front lines and areas where the gangs of “green”, “blue”, “black” and other anarchists robbed trains, also remains a mystery. But, nevertheless, in Odessa in late 1919 family reunion happened.
Mikhail did not hide his joy. When he first in his life raised his little daughter in his hands, how could he imagine what a bright future awaits her? At the moment Mikhail tormented only one thought how to feed his girl, how to protect her from this flame of devouring Civil War.
After a few days in South Palmyra he met his former sailor. “Mikhail, evil thing. Your father-in-law is shot by Bolsheviks in Petrograd, his five children and your mother-in-law are looking for you, because someone told them that you were under the direct of Admiral Kolchak. Run for Christ’s sake, until Odessa commissioners did not find you”
Irochka’s parents were full of despair. Delay was impossible. At night they moved towards the Romanian border. So that the girl didn’t cry, and couldn’t be noticed, she was given a piece of sugar. Those days a lump of sugar meant the line between life and death.
They settled in Bucharest, and it was there, at the age of 7.5, Irina first began studying ballet. Her first mentor was the Madame Mozhayskaya also our compatriot, who emigrated with her husband to Romania. But the lessons did not last long: Madame honestly told to Irina’s mother to move to Paris, the girl was vrery talented and urgently needed to study in Paris.
In Bucharest the Baronovs had more or less tolerable living conditions. But the career of their daughter changed their lives – they came to Paris. There is probably no need to describe all the difficulties and problems faced by Baronovs. But the success of their daughter inspired them to overcome any difficulties.
Fantastic girl Ira at 11 years (!) debuted at the Paris Opera, 14 years old Odette in “Swan Lake”. As part of Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo has traveled on tour almost the entire world. Her first overseas tour took place in 1933 in the United States. A few months later, her hand was kissed by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, in the Berlin Opera Ballet.
In 1938 Irina first toured in faraway Australia, a country that for many years to become her second home, where she spend last years of her life. But at 16 years old, her ballet career was at the highest peak of glory – to Irina applauded halls of cities around the world. And what were her partners: Anton Dolin , Serge Lifar, Yuri Ivanovich, Mark Platov, David Lichin, Paul Petrov. Solid Russian surnames …
She had visited the Soviet Union much later. By the time she was married to Cecil Tenet, the theater director, and agent of well-known actors. Representatives of the Soviet cinema invited him to come to watch the movie “War and Peace “, which later was to be shown in England.
Cecil offered his wife to go with him, since it was a good chance for Irina to see her homeland. Mother described in detail what street and what number was the house in Leningrad, in which the great ballerina was born. But first, the couple arrived in Moscow .
As Baronova recalled later, “When we got acquainted with Sergei Bondarchuk, the author of the film “War and Peace”, and he heard me speaking Russian, he and other members of the cinema impressed. But they couldn’t talk to her – they were not allowed to communicate with foreigners, especially with refugees from Russia”. Nevertheless, she found her house, and was crying when imagined her poor dear mother leaving Russia with a year-old daughter in her arms.
Unfortunately, this time in Russia was one of the last “bright spots” for Irina in that period. In the same 1967 her husband Cecil died in a car accident. She was left alone with three children: daughters Victoria and Irina and her son Robert. However, the fate of her children will be happy. Irina, her daughter, stayed with her the rest of her life in Australia, Victoria went to Hollywood, where she would be wife of the famous American comedian and actor Steve Martin for eight years from 1986 to 1994. Irina’s son Robert remained in England.
By the way, Irina herself remarried, but her second husband died 7 years later. She lived in two houses – one of them was in England, the other – in Australia. However, her recent years she had almost never left the Green Continent. Russian ballerina Irina Baronova was vice-president of the Royal Academy of Ballet of Australia, and supervised the development of the Australian Ballet School.
Great dancer, who left the scene in 1946 at the insistence of her husband, died at her home near Sydney June 28, 2008, she was 90 years old.
Russian ballerina and actres Irina Mikhailovna Baronova (March 13, 1919 – June 28, 2008) was one of the Baby Ballerinas of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, discovered by George Balanchine in Paris in the 1930s. She created roles in Leonide Massine’s Le Beau Danube (1924), Jeux d’enfants (1932), and Les Présages (1933); and in Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Cent Baisers (1935).