Irina Baronova and The Ballets Russes
Irina Baronova and the
Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo
Victoria Tennant
Hardcover | 256 pages | 335 color plates
9-1/16 x 10-7/8 in | University of Chicago Press
University of Chicago Press Amazon Indie Bound Barnes & Noble iBooks
Set against a sweeping background of revolution and war, this is an intimate portrait of a great ballerina told by her daughter. The story of a grand Russian family who become destitute refugees, of the ballet teacher who taught her even though they had no money, and of Balanchine who picked her to join the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo when she was only twelve. This book chronicles the company that modernizes the world of dance and introduced ballet to every corner of America. The voices of mother and daughter alternately tell the story of the great talents and larger-than-life characters, their rivalries, romances, triumphs and heartbreaks. It is also the story of how a Russian ballerina helped start the first great American ballet company, American Ballet Theatre. With over three hundred rare photographs and excerpts from private letters, this is an insider look at the life and times of Irina Baronova, and what makes an artist great. It is also the journey of a woman who lost her home and country, lived her life out of a suitcase, and finally found her home and peace in Australia.


The University of Chicago Press has been publishing works by scholars, writers, artists, and intellectuals since 1890. There are currently over 5,500 books in print today.


These selected images from the book are available for purchase as archival pigment prints:
Irina Baronova and the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo
See details
Irina: Ballet, Life and Love
Irina: Ballet, Life and Love
Irina Baronova
Hardcover | 544 pages | 84 b&w photos
9 x 6-1/4 in | University Press of Florida
Choreographer George Balanchine discovered her. Yul Brynner romanced her. Genius artists designed sets and costumes for her. She danced for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels—who introduced themselves backstage. This memoir by the elegant octogenarian Irina Baranova celebrates a remarkable life in the arts. Born to privilege in 1919, Irina fled with her family from the Bolsheviks to an impoverished life in Bucharest, Romania. Despite their circumstances, Irina’s mother managed ballet lessons for her daughter and the family moved to Paris, where Irina debuted with the Paris Opera at age 12. Spotted by the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, she was selected for the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo at age 12 and toured more than 100 cities around the world. Her husband, London theatrical agent Cecil Tennant, introduced her to a “who’s who” of the stage and screen, and her circle of friends and associates included Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Salvadore Dali, and Marc Chagall, as well as ballet legends such as Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Margot Fonteyn. Her funny and moving memoir is not merely the story of a starry life but also about her remarkable instinct for surviving wars, heartbreak, and loss and her fulfillment as a wife and mother of three. Featuring beautiful photos and memorabilia from the world of dance, stage, and screen as well as a foreword by leading British dance critic Clement Crisp, this book will appeal to readers with a passion for the arts and life.