Irina Baronova

Irina Mikhailovna Baronova FRAD (Russian: Ирина Михайловна Баронова) (March 13, 1919 – June 28, 2008) was a Russian ballerina who 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 Léonide Massine's Le Beau Danube (1924), Jeux d'enfants (1932), and Les Présages (1933); and in Bronislava Nijinska's Les Cent Baisers (1935). Baronova was born in Saint Petersburg (then known as Petrograd) in 1919, the daughter of a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, Mikhail Baronov, and his wife Lidia (née Vishniakova). When she was less than two years old, her family moved to Romania. She became entranced with ballet when she saw a performance by Tamara Karsavina. The family moved to Paris in 1928 to provide Irina with professional training, where she was taught by Olga Preobrajenska. She also studied with fellow prima ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska. Baronova made her debut aged 11 at the Paris Opera in 1930, and in 1932 George Balanchine took her into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The writer Arnold Haskell dubbed the trio of Baronova, Tamara Toumanova and Tatiana Riabouchinska the "Baby Ballerinas".

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