Baronova, Irina

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Baronova, Irina Gender: F
Irina Mikhailovna Baronova
born on 13 March 1909 at 02:00 (= 02:00 AM )
Place St.Petersburg, Russian Federation, 59n55, 30e15
Timezone MMT h2e30 (is standard time)
Data source
Rectified from approx. time
Rodden Rating C
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 21°46' s_mo.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 26°19 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 03°34'

Irina Baronova (c. 1937)


Russian ballerina and actress who was one of the Baby Ballerinas of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, discovered by George Balanchine in Paris in the 1930s. She created roles in Léonide Massine's Le Beau Danube (1924), Jeux d'enfants (1932), and Les Présages (1933); and in Bronislava Nijinska's Les Cent Baisers (1935).

Baronova was the daughter of a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, Mikhail Baronov, and his wife Lidia (née Vishniakova). When she was less than two years old, her family moved to Romania. Ballet lessons with a local teacher convinced Baronova's mother that her daughter was exceptionally talented, so the family moved to Paris in 1928 to provide Irina with professional training, where she was taught by Olga Preobrajenska. She also studied with fellow ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska. Baronova made her debut aged 11 at the Paris Opera in 1930.

The crucial point in Baronova's career came in 1932, just a few months short of her thirteenth birthday. She, along with two other girls, Tamara Toumanova, 12, and Tatiana Riabouchinska, 14, were hired by George Balanchine to become ballerinas in the newly formed Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Their extreme youth and technical perfection won them fame around the world and the writer Arnold Haskell dubbed the trio of Baronova, Toumanova and Riabouchinska the "Baby Ballerinas".

Baronova's first principal role was Odette in Swan Lake, partnered by Anton Dolin, which she performed at just 14 years old. At age 17 she eloped with an older Russian, German (Jerry or Gerry) Sevastianov. They had a church wedding in Sydney, Australia, two years later, when she was on tour. In Britain in 1946 she met the agent Cecil Tennant, who asked her to marry him if she would give up ballet. Aged only 27, she agreed, and retired.

Between 1940 and 1951, Baronova appeared in several films, including Ealing Studios Train of Events (1949) and worked as ballet mistress for the 1980 film Nijinsky.

Baronova and Tennant had three children, Victoria, Irina and Robert. Through Victoria, she became the mother-in-law of American actor-comedian Steve Martin. In 1967, Cecil Tennant was killed in a car accident, and Baronova moved to Switzerland. She returned to teaching master classes in the United States and United Kingdom in 1976. Margot Fonteyn asked her to conduct a training course for teachers. In 1986 she staged Fokine's Les Sylphides for The Australian Ballet.

Baronova's daughter Irina moved to Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, and, after visiting her in 2000, Baronova decided to settle there as well. She died in Byron Bay on June 28, 2008, aged 89.


  • has other family relationship with Martin, Steve (born 14 August 1945)


Source Notes

Time of birth suggested by Sy Scholfield based on info in Baranova's autobiography, "Irina: Ballet, Life and Love" (Viking/Penguin, 2005), which states that she was born in Petrograd "early in the morning, on 13 March 1919" (p. 7); and her statement that she was born "on a freezing March night in 1919," as reported in the article, "GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES," Interview by Anne Lim, The Australian Magazine, 3 December 2005, p. 14.


  • Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Dancer/ Teacher (ballerina)