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Serg Lifar


Serg Lifar

Serg Lifar or "ballet guardian angel of XX century" as he was called is the outstanding dancer of past century. Lifar was born in Kiev but soon immigrated to France but till the end of his life he dreamed to come back to Dnieper banks, to the land of his youth and childhood. And on his grave on Paris cemetery he willed to write only 4 words "Serg Lifar from Kiev".
Serg Lifar was born in Kiev in 1905 in wealthy family of state official. Already in his childhood Lifar sang in a choir of St. Sofia Cathedral, played the violin, attended the piano class in Kiev Conservatory and ballet school of Bronislava Nejinkskaya. When Nejinskaya immigrated to Paris she invited to the troupe her best pupils - Lifar was among them.
Self-denying work and fanatical love for dancing very quickly made from modest and curious young man the lead dancer of "Russian Ballet". Already in 1929 Lifar became the head of "Grand-Opera" troupe. More than 30 years Lifar worked in this theatre - as a stylist, choreographer and pedagogue. Serg Lifar founded Institute of choreography in Paris, introduced the course of dance theory and history in Sorbonne, was the head of a Dance University and honorary president of the National dance council of UNESCO.
Ukraine and Kiev remained Lifar dream till the end of his life. "Even beautiful and brilliant Paris could not make me, the kiever, to forget my wide and majestic Dnieper" - he said. When Charles De Gaulle rewarded Lifar with a Legion of Honour and offered him to become a citizen of France, Lifar answered: "I’m Ukrainian and I’m proud of that". He was person without citizenship, because he could not disown his roots, ancestors and the land, were he was born. Once Lifar came to Grand Opera in vyshivanka (national Ukrainian dress), and then shared his dream: «I want to come back to Ukraine. Unfortunately nobody knows me there, and here in France everybody forgot me."
For all of his life Lifar only once visited Kiev - in 1961. After his death his wife handed a gift to Ukraine - the most valuable treasures from his own collection - the Legion of Honour, Golden Pointe decorated with diamonds, his stage suits and sculptural portraits. Nowadays the ballet of Lifar is back to Ukraine - already 10 years dancers and choreographers from all over the world came to Lifar International contest and festival "Serg Lifar de la Dance" in Kiev.


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