- Tatiana Semenova
Tatiana Semenova (
July 17, 1920- September 24, 1996) was the founding director of the Houston Ballet Academy.
Semenova was born in
St. Petersburg, Russia, but moved with her family to Paris, Francewhen she was five. At the age of seven, Semenova began studying with Mathilde Kschessinska.
After several years of practice, Semenova made her dancing debut at the age of 11 with a Russian opera company formed in
London. The next year she began her formal ballet career as a member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, touring the United Statesand South America.
In 1937 Semenova joined the
Paris Opera Balletas its premiere danseuse. During World War II, she formed a group called the Foxhole Balletto tour military installations in Europeand Africawith the USO. While performing in Rome, Italyon a bomb-damaged stage, she severed the cartilage in her knee and fractured her arm. Unable to dance any longer, in 1946 Semenova moved to the U.S. to begin her teaching career at Carnegie Hall's School of Dance.
In 1950, she formed the
American Youth Balletin Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1954, Semenova moved the American Youth Ballet to Houston, Texas. The following year, the newly-formed Houston Foundation for Ballet asked her to help found the Houston Ballet Academy, which still exists today. She was director of the academy for 11 years.
In 1968, Semenova formed her own company, Ballet of Houston, which thrived until the mid-1980s. After the company disbanded, Semenova continued to teach privately until her death in 1996.
Semenova is buried next to her mother in the cemetery of St. Michael Island in
* [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uhsc/00023/hsc-00023.html Semenova's personal papers at the
University of Texas at Austin]
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