Youskevitch, Igor, 1912-1994

Igor Youskevitch was born on March 13, 1912 near Kiev, Ukraine. In 1920, his family fled the Bolshevik Revolution and resettled in the former Yugoslavia. After graduating from high school in 1930, he studied engineering at Belgrade University. There he became involved in Sokol, the Slavic sports and gymnastics organization. At age 20, ballerina Xenia Grunt spotted Youskevitch at a gymnastics competition and urged him to consider a future in ballet. Youskevitch became Grunt's student shortly thereafter and debuted as her partner on stage in 1932.

Youskevitch went on to dance with Les Ballets de Paris, Woizikowski Ballet, and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. He married Anna Scarpova, a fellow dancer at Ballet Russe, in 1938. After many years of touring in the United States, he volunteered for the U.S. Navy and became an American citizen in 1944. He was discharged from military service two years later and returned to the stage as a member of the American Ballet Theater. In 1952, Gene Kelly recruited Youskevitch to co-star in his film Invitation to the Dance .


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