Nijinsky, Vaslav

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Nijinsky, Vaslav Gender: M
Vaslav Fomich Nijinski
born on 11 March 1888 at 22:30 (= 10:30 PM )
Place Kiev, Ukraine, 50n26, 30e31
Timezone LST m30e31 (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 21°44' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 12°23 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 10°49'

Vaslav Nijinsky


Russian dancer, noted for being one of the greatest male ballet dancers of all time, his style being one of spectacular high leaps. His supreme virtuosity and a combination of featherweight lightness with steel-like strength made Nijinski a genius of the ballet.

The second son of celebrated dancers, Thomas Laurentivevich Nijinski and Eleonora Bereda, his childhood was primarily spent in the Caucasus, where he began dancing as a small child together with his brother, Stanislav and his little sister, Bronislawa. His parents had their own dance company and gave performances throughout the Russian Empire. His father, in particular, was celebrated for his enormous leaps. As a child, Nijinski showed a prodigious talent and gift for dancing, prompting his father to give him lessons. By the end of August 1898, at only nine years old, Nijinski entered the Imperial

School of Dancing in St. Petersburg; the instructors of the school, among the finest for the time, soon discovered his extraordinary abilities. At age 16, he was encouraged to graduate early and enter the Mariinsky Theatre; however, he declined, wanting to complete his course of study first. Nijinski was already being heralded as the "eighth wonder of the world" and the "Vestris of the North," a reference to Auguste Vestris, the 18th century famous French dancer.

His school career completed, the brilliant dancer graduated in the spring of 1907, and on 7/14/1907, he joined the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg as a soloist. His first appearance in the ballet, "La Source," with his partner, Russian ballerina Julia Sedova, created great excitement among the public, and ballet critics were highly enthusiastic. With his exotic Slavic features, feline movement and amazing jumps, Nijinski burst upon the international stage. The Ballets Russes was a showcase for Russian ballet created by the impresario Serge Diaghilev. Ballet in the West during the last half of the 19th century had degenerated into a mediocre and predictable diversion for the upper classes. Diaghilev's gift of creating vibrant collaborative efforts of the best in music, painting and dance not only captured the attention of western audiences, it continued to captivate them

As danseur noble, Nijinski danced the leading parts in many classical ballets during the years between 1907 and 1911, including "Swan Lake," "The Sleeping Beauty," "Ivanotschka" and "Giselle," and was partnered with three great ballerinas of the time, Mathilde Kschessinskaya, Anna Pavlovna Pavlova and Tamara Platonovna Karsavina. As a guest performer at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, he achieved phenomenal success. In 1909, he was a member of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, where ballets such as "Le Spectre de la rose" and Petrushka" were created expressly for him by the company’s choreographer, Michel Fokine.

In 1909 a ballet company, consisting of dancers from both the Mariinsky and Bolshoi Theatres, was organized under the order of the Grand Duke Vladimir. Nijinski was asked to join as the principal dancer, and their first performance was in Paris on 5/17/1909, at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Nijinski’s beauty, the expression which poured from his body during performances and his extraordinary gift of rising high into the air and seemingly being able to stay elevated took the world by storm. Along with his dramatic acting ability, he expressed a phenomenal talent for characterization.

From 1907 to 1912 he worked with the company’s choreographer, and in 1912 Nijinski began his own career in choreography. His work in the field was described as "daringly original," although his choreographic portfolio is slim. His later ballets included "The Minstrel," "Mephisto Valse" and "Les Papillons de nuit." Nijinski appeared throughout Europe, in South America and in the United States until 1917 and was called "le dieu de la danse."

Soon after joining the Diaghilev Company, he had began a love affair with the forceful Diaghilev who told his protégé that the love of a woman was a terrible thing. Although Nijinski had a strong stage presence, he was somewhat shy and reserved off-stage and believed his mentor. In 1913, while on a South American tour without Diaghilev’s watchful presence, he met a Hungarian dancer, Romola, Countess de Pulszky-Lubocy-Cselfalva, and on 09/10/1913, they were married, later having a daughter. When he married, he reportedly was sincerely in love. However, the Svengali-like Diaghilev dictated every move in his life, both personal and professional. He and Romola’s marriage lasted for five years before its inevitable conclusion.

In 1914, when WWI broke out, Nijinski was sent to prison camp for two years as a result of being Russian. Although he was fired from the company immediately after his marriage to Romola, upon his release, he returned to Diaghilev who was touring New York. The turbulent years with Diaghilev coupled with the separation from his mother and wife caused Nijinski to fall into a deep depression. Signs of dementia were becoming obvious to those around him, and over the next few years, he became increasing unstable, even becoming afraid of the other dancers. As part of his treatment, he began to draw, but as his disease progressed, his drawings began to change, and the primarily abstract images became a series of kaleidoscopic curves within curves. He became obsessed with the bodily functions of eating, digestion and elimination of waste and became celibate, believing that sex would poison his body. Eventually it was publicly announced that he had suffered a nervous breakdown, and in 1919, he retired from the stage. Later diagnosed as schizophrenic, he spent the remainder of his life in Switzerland, France and England. Alternating rages and catatonic withdrawals resulted in his confinement in an asylum. He underwent shock treatments but increasingly deranged, he was finally diagnosed with hopeless schizophrenia. He died on 4/08/1950, London, England and is buried in the cemetery of Montmartre in Paris, next to the dancer, Auguste Vestris, to whom he had often been compared.

His wife wrote two biographies about her legendary spouse, "Nijinski," 1933, and "The Last Years of Nijinski," 1952. His personal diary was published as "The Diary of Vaslav Nijinski" in 1936, and a collection of reminiscences by prominent performers such as Marcel Proust, Paul Claudel and Auguste Rodin was published in 1972 under the title, "Nijinski As We Knew Him."

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • role played of/by Jacobi, Derek (born 22 October 1938). Notes: 2001 film "The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky"


  • Relationship : Marriage 10 September 1913 (To another dancer, Romala)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Mental Health : Depressive episode 1919 (Nervous breakdown, dementia)

Source Notes

Filipe Ferreira sends clippings of the biography "Nijinski" by Richard Buckle, Penguin Books 1980. (February 28, 1888 OS, plus 12 days, taking into account that it was a leap year.) Nijinsky was not baptized until two years four months after his birth as his mother post-dated his birth for reasons connected with military service.

In the biography written by Nijinski's wife Romala, she states he was born in the evening after his mom danced at the theater. Chronicle Nativities makes the same quote, "He was born an hour after his mother performed at the theater, approximately 10:30 PM LMT."

Sabian Symbols No.723 has 2:45 PM LMT, February 28, 1890 OS.)

Biography: Peter F. Ostwald, "Vaslav Nijinsky: A Leap into Madness," Hardcover, 1990

"The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky: Unexpurgated Edition." Vaslav Nijinsky, Joan Acocella (Editor), Kyril FitzLyon (Translator) Paperback, May 2000


  • Traits : Personality : Unique (Remarkable figure in dance)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Institutionalized (Hospitalized for schizophrenia from 1919)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Psychotic Episode (Hopeless schizophrenia)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Schizophrenia
  • Family : Childhood : Family noted (Parents both ballet stars)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, five years)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Bi-Sexual
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Dancer/ Teacher (Ballet)
  • Notable : Famous : Historic figure (Famed ballet dancer)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book