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Mathilde Kschessinska, the "glory and adornment" of the Russian Imperial Ballet, was the first prima ballerina assoluta. She had a brief affair with Nicholas II before he became tsar. During the Revolution, her house in St. Petersburg was sacked and she fled to France, where she married one of the tsar's cousins, Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich. They had a son, Prince Vladimir Romanovsky-Krasinsky. Kschessinska lived until shortly before her 100th birthday, teaching and performing ballet. In 1929, she opened her own school, where she mentored many students including Margot Fonteyn, Alicia Markova, Andre Eglevsky, and Tamara Toumanova. In 1960, she published her autobiography Souvenirs de la Kschessinska (published in English as Dancing in St. Petersburg: The Memoirs of Kschessinska).
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