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Tamara Geva (1907–1997)

Author of Split Seconds

Includes the names: Tamara Geva

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Tamara Gevergeyeva was born in St. Petersburg to a wealthy merchant family. Her father was a patron of avant-garde artists and as a child, she lived in an enormous 18th-century house that included a miniature theater and a theater museum. She studied ballet privately and then was admitted to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. There she met George Balanchine, the future choreographer, who was then teaching dance. In 1923, they married and the following year they left Russia for the West. Tamara shorted her surname to Geva. She danced with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and then joined a touring revue company that brought her to New York City. By that time, she and George Balanchine had separated. Miss Geva performed in Broadway musicals before joining the American Ballet, Balanchine's first New York company. Later she devoted herself to films and the theater. In 1936, she choreographed the now-famous "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" sequence for the musical "On Your Toes." She also choreographed the dances in the 1946 film "Specter of the Rose," about a ballerina who falls in love with an insane dancer. Her autobiography "Split Seconds'" (1972) described her tumultuous family history and life in St. Petersburg at the time of the Russian Revolution.
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