15 Facts About Serge Lifar


Serge Lifar made his debut at the Ballets Russes in 1923, where he became the principal dancer in 1925.


Serge Lifar was considered the successor to Nijinsky in the Ballets Russes.


Serge Lifar was cast at the age of 21 opposite Tamara Karsavina in Nijinska's Romeo et Juliette ; Karsavina was twice his age.


Serge Lifar gave the company a new strength and purpose, initiating the rebirth of ballet in France, and began to create the first of many ballets for that company.


Serge Lifar codified two additional positions, known as the sixth and seventh positions, with the feet turned in, not out like the first five positions.


Serge Lifar undoubtedly influenced Yvette Chauvire, Janine Charrat, and Roland Petit.


In 1958, Serge Lifar was forced into retirement due to a strained relationship with the Opera management.


On 30 March 1958, at age 52, Serge Lifar faced off against the 72-year-old impresario George de Cuevas in a duel in France.


The duel was precipitated by an argument over changes to Black and White, a ballet by Serge Lifar that was being presented by the Cuevas ballet company.


Serge Lifar had his face slapped in public after insisting that he retained the rights to Black and White.


Serge Lifar sent his seconds to Cuevas who refused to extend an apology and chose to duel with swords.


Serge Lifar died in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 15 December 1986, aged 81, and was buried in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois Russian Cemetery.


The Serge Lifar Foundation was set up on 23 August 1989 by Lifar's companion, Countess Lillan Ahlefeldt-Laurvig.


In 1935 Serge Lifar published his confessio fidei titled Le manifesto du choregraphe, proposing laws about the independence of choreography.


Serge Lifar wrote a biography of Diaghilev titled Serge Diaghilev, His Life, His Work, His Legend: An Intimate Biography published by Putnam, London, 1940.