Dancer. He trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow and graduated in 1899. Following graduation he joined the Bolshoi Ballet as a soloist and was appointed assistant ballet master five years later. He created roles in Salammbo (Matoh, 1910), Love is Quick (The Fisherman, 1913), Schubertiana (Sonnewald, 1913), and Eunice and Petronius (Petronius, 1915). He was part of Diaghilev's ballet in the 1909 Paris season before touring with Pavlova but she fell out with him over his demand for equal billing as her partner. By 1911 he had set up his own touring group, the All Star Imperial Russian Ballet, whom he took to America, and it was for them he staged a version of Swan Lake. In 1912 he returned, until 1918, to the Bolshoi Ballet as a principal dancer where he created Khan in the Little Humpbacked Horse (1914). He continued his work in Russia, staging ballets until 1924 when he left. After some time in Lithuania he finally settled in America and soon became a pioneer in the development of the country's ballet culture. In 1926 he founded the Mordkin Russian Ballet, but it was a failure and the company disbanded. He then worked as a teacher and freelance choreographer for opera. In 1937 he was able to revive his company using students from the New York school. They included Lucia Chase, Katherine Hepburn and Judy Garland. It was a short lived troupe but a precursor to Ballet Theatre, known today as the American Ballet Theatre. A power struggle erupted between Mordkin and Richard Plesant when the latter took over the management because he thought Mordkin's plans lacked ambition Mordkin continued to teach in New York until his death. His ballets included The Goldfish, Trepak, Voices of Spring and Dionysus. He also staged Giselle, La Fille Mal Gardée for his own company.
Burial: Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Created by: Medora Record added: Mar 10, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25170486