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Lydia Sokolova (1896-1974) was an English ballerina. She trained at the Stedman Ballet Academy and learned from such luminaries as Anna Pavlova and Enrico Cecchetti.

Born in Wanstead as Hilda Munnings, she began her career at the Savoy Theatre in London in 1910 and then joined the company of Mikhail Mordkin for a tour of the United States and the Koslov company for a tour of Europe.

She joined Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1913 to become the company's first English ballerina. She was the principal character dancer of the company until it disbanded in 1929. Sokolova's most famous role was that of the Chosen Maiden in Léonide Massine's reworking of The Rite of Spring (1920). She won approbation for "what is generally agreed to be the longest and most exhausting solo in the history of theatrical dance".[1] Other notable performances include La boutique fantastique (1919), Il tricorno (1919), Les matelots (1925) and Le Bal (1929).

After the Ballets Russes disbanded, Sokolova returned to England to teach, coach, work on choreography and occasionally perform. Her last performance was in 1962 when she danced in the Covent Garden Royal Ballet performance of Massine's The Good-humoured Ladies.

Sokolova wrote an autobiographical work on her years with the Ballets Russes titled Dancing for Diaghilev (John Murray, London, 1960).


  1. ^ Robert, Grace (2005). The Borzoi Book of Ballets, p. 261. Kessinger Publishing



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