Irina Baronova

Irina Baronova, born in Petrograd, was one of the three legendary ‘baby ballerinas’ who made such an impact on dance audiences in the 1930s and 1940s. Her talent was clear from the beginning and the family soon moved to Paris where Baronova continued her training with Olga Preobrajenska. In 1932 when just thirteen years of age she was engaged by George Balanchine as ballerina for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. She continued to dance with the de Basil Ballets Russes companies until 1939, coming to Australia on tour with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet in 1938 – 1939. Baronova left de Basil in 1939 and soon after began a new stage of her career in the United States. From 1941 she appeared with (American) Ballet Theatre in North and South America and worked in Hollywood in the 1940s before retiring to devote herself to her family. She came out of retirement at the urging of Dame Margot Fonteyn to serve on the technical committee of the Royal Academy of Dance and to teach and coach. Baronova lived the last eight years of her life in Australia, in the hinterland of Byron Bay, where she completed her memoirs which were published in 2005 as ‘Irina: ballet, life and love’.