Alexandra Dyonysievna Danilova and Adoption

Alexandra Danilova in Pas De Quatre, 1948



Also known as Choura

Russian-American ballerina

Danilova was born near St. Petersburg and both her parents died when she was three. She and her older sister were then brought up either by relatives, her godmother, or foster parents, and Alexandra was then separately adopted by a wealthy St. Petersburg family (sources differ).

In 1911 she began study at the Imperial Ballet School, graduating in 1920. She had a career of over 30 years, dancing with the Kirov, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and guesting with other companies. She defected to the west in 1924 and was naturalized as a US citizen in 1946. After retiring from the stage in 1951 she became a teacher with the School of American Ballet from 1964 to 1989, and played a role based closely on her own life in the film Turning Point (1977). She had a long relationship with George Balanchine and also married twice.


Dever, Maria, and Dever, Aileen. Relative Origins: Famous Foster and Adopted People. (Portland: National Book Company, 1992) Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Danilova, Alexandra. Choura. (London: Dance Books, 1987) Twysden, A.E. Alexandra Danilova. (New York: Kamin Dance Publishers, 1947) Norris, Carol. "Ballet to Honor Legendary Dancer," Cincinnati Enquirer, 20 July 1997. Also available (with portrait) at: Anderson, Jack. "Dancer Alexandra Danilova Dies," Houston Chronicle, 16 July 1997. Also available (with portrait) at: "Alexandra Danilova [Obituary]," The Sunday Times [London], [Includes portrait], 15 July 1997. Also available at: Information Please. "Alexandra Danilova." Available at: [1] "Alexandra Danilova [Obituary]," Electronic Telegraph [London], [Includes portrait], 19 July 1997 (issue 785). Available at: