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Marina Svetlova, 86, noted ballet dancer and Vt. teacher

Marina Svetlova danced with New York City Opera Company before teaching ballet in Vermont and Indiana. Marina Svetlova danced with New York City Opera Company before teaching ballet in Vermont and Indiana. (Bruno of Hollywood/ File circa 1951)
By Anna Kisselgoff
New York Times / February 25, 2009
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NEW YORK - Marina Svetlova, who played an important role in American dance education after a wide-ranging performing career in international ballet from the 1930s to the 1960s, died Feb. 11 at her home in Bloomington, Ind. She was 86.

She died after being in failing health since a stroke several years ago, said Lawrence Davis, a longtime friend.

Ms. Svetlova made her professional debut as a child in 1931 in Paris with the legendary experimental troupe of Ida Rubinstein. A soloist with the Original Ballet Russe and a ballerina with New York's Metropolitan Opera Ballet, she later earned a reputation as a major teacher.

She was professor of ballet and chairwoman of the ballet department at Indiana University in Bloomington from 1969 to 1992. Hundreds of young students trained with her at the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester from 1959 to 1964.

And she directed her own summer school, the Svetlova Dance Center in Dorset, Vt., from 1965 to 1995. She also choreographed for regional opera companies.

Ms. Svetlova was born Yvette von Hartmann in Paris on May 3, 1922, to Russian parents and studied there with Vera Trefilova, Lubov Egorova and other Russian emigre ballerinas as well as with Anatole Vilzak in New York from 1940 to 1957.

After appearing with Rubinstein's troupe in "Amphion," the young dancer attracted notice by winning ballet prizes in Paris.

She was guest artist with Ballet Theater (now the American Ballet Theater) before joining the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, where she was its ballerina from 1943 to 1950.

She toured internationally with her own concert group from 1944 to 1969.

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