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  • Location: St Petersburg

Bloomsbury Ballerina

Bloomsbury Ballerina

Why a Booktrail?

1891:  Lydia Lopokova danced an important role in the history of ballet

  • ISBN: 978-0297849087
  • Genre: Biography/memoirs

What you need to know before your trail

Born in 1891 in St Petersburg, Lydia Lopokova lived a long and remarkable life. Just five feet tall and a natural comedian, her vivacious personality and the sheer force of her charm propelled her to the top of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes.

Through a combination of luck, determination and talent, Lydia became a star in Paris, a vaudeville favourite in America, the toast of Britain and then, most unexpectedly, she married the world-renowned economist, and formerly homosexual, John Maynard Keynes.

Travel Guide

St Petersburg

“Lydia’s story is an extraordinary one, linking ballet and the Bloomsbury group, war, revolution and the economic policies of the super-powers. She was the Russian ballerina who flitted intriguingly through the lives of so many remarkable individuals, including Nijinsky, Picasso, Stravinsky and Virginia Woolf. Above all, she was an immensely captivating, eccentric and irreverent personality: a bolter, a true bohemian and, eventually, an utterly devoted wife.”

The Marinsky Theatre

Lydia was only seven when she first visited the city’s magnificent visited the magnificent Marinsky theatre in 1898. for a small girl it would  have been an adventure in itself and  aday to remember. This however was more for Lydia who was inspired as never before
“When the curtain fell, I was standing on my seat and as the music continued I began to dance…”

The Imperial Ballet school

Founded by the Empress Anna Ivanova in 1738 to provide dancers for court entertainment continued to feed, clothe and educated its pupils for free or for minimal cost Vasili launched four of his children in to the world of ballet and it was he who helped direct the Marinsky theater after the revolution
Lopukhov in Russian means burdock or wild plant
“St Petersburg’s open sewers made the city, at the end of the nineteenth century, one the most disease-ridden capitals of Europe, and while Yamskaya not located in a slum neighbourhood, each apartment building in a narrow street huddled around a dank courtyard fro which rose the sinking fumes of the residents’ cesspit”

The story also moves to Paris and of course Bloomsbury in London, but this trail focuses on the magic of the Russian Ballet

Streetview Maps

A) St Petersburgh - The Marinsky Theatre
E) St Petersburgh - Church of St. Simeon - Lydia Lopokova born here

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Bloomsbury Ballerina

Destination: St Petersburg  Author/Guide: Judith Mackrell  Departure Time: 1891 – 1981

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