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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 09:03 GMT
French ballet star Tcherina dies
Ludmilla Tcherina
Tcherina was the first western dancer to star at the Bolshoi
French dancer and actress Ludmilla Tcherina has died in Paris at the age of 79, a family friend has announced.

Tcherina, one of the leading ballet dancers of her generation, appeared in several films including The Red Shoes and The Tales Of Hoffmann.

In 1960 she became the first western dancer to appear at the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow - where she performed in Adolphe Adams' ballet Giselle.

She was also known for her paintings, sculptures and novels.

Born Monika Tchemerzine in Paris during October 1924, she was the daughter of an exiled Russian prince and a French mother.


She began performing publicly as a dancer at the age of 10, and went on to perform around the world in many of the major roles in the classical repertory.

Her famous performances included Romeo and Juliet in Paris in 1942 , alongside Serge Lifar.

After World War Two, she also gave recitals with her first husband Edmond Audran - who died in an accident in 1951.

Tcherina married Raymond Roi in 1953, and three years later she sponsored Maurice Bejart's first ballet company at the Theatre de l'Etoile in Paris.

Her later performances included television productions of Salome and The Passion of Anna Karenina during the 1970s.

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