Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo ballerina

Mia Slavenska, a leading ballerina of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and a respected former teacher at UCLA and Cal Arts, died Saturday Oct. 5 of natural causes in L.A.. She was 86.

Croatia native began her studies at Zagreb Opera Ballet School, where she became prima ballerina at 17. She was one of three dancer-choreographer winners at the Berlin Dance Olympics, held concurrently with the 1936 Olympic Games. She went on to dance in London and Paris. Her role in the 1938 prize-winning French film “La Mort du Cygne” (released in the United States as “Ballerina”) brought her further acclaim.

Among the companies she danced with were the Ruth Page Chicago Opera ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York and the Ballet Theater and London Festival Ballet.

During 1944-45, she directed her own touring companies. Slavenska and Frederic Franklin formed a series of touring companies beginning in 1948. The last of the companies was dissolved in 1954.

Slavenska then taught at UCLA from 1969 to 1983 and at Cal Arts from 1970 to 1983.

She is survived by a daughter.

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