Stanislas Idzikowski, the Forgotten Dancer

Born Warsaw. Studied under Gilbert, Vilzak and Cecchetti.

Formerly with Anna Pavlova’s Company, Itzkowski joined Diaghileff’s Company in 1914, remaining until 1926, dancing many leading roles, including Harlequin in Carnaval, Petrouchka, the snob in La Boutique Fantasque, the Spark in The Three Cornered Hat, and many others. He rejoined Diaghileff in London in 1928 and toured Great Britain, then danced in every European capital. He also danced with the Vic Wells Ballet in 1933

Creating one of the leading roles in Les Rendezvous, and dancing Harlequin in Carnaval, Blue Bird and Grand pas from Aurora’s Wedding, etc.

For a number of years he was a well know teacher in London and many famous British dancers were numbered among his pupils. I first made contact with Idzi as I shall now call him, in 1947. I had recently been made a Member of the Junior Sadler’s Wells Ballet company at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre on Rosebery Avenue in London England.

The occasion was 12th night. It was customary to have a special celebration in the London theatres on this night. It was also customary to invite a celebrity to these occasions. Idzikowski was the celebrity for that night in 1947.

I was introduced to him at the beginning of the evening, backstage. I am six feet tall. As I approached Idzi, he smiled, because I was a dancer in the company, but also because he came up to my shoulders in height. I reached down, to shake his hand.

My next encounter was with the Metropolitan Ballet Company, on tour in the British Isles. Idzi had been brought in to teach Spectre de la Rose to the company. I was not cast to dance that role, but I managed to observe the process from the back of the front of house.

He began by opening a bottle of Rose perfume for the cast to smell.

Spectre is for two dancers, but six were learning it. He said that he wanted them to feel the aroma. This was a daily process.

Later in my time with the Metropolitan Ballet, I asked to dance that role. One of the dancers was sick, and I subsequently made that role part of my repertoire.

Study with Idzi in London was another matter. The word amongst the dancers was, “if you want to learn how to move quickly, do class with Idzi”. I tried, but I could not keep up with him, I gave up eventually and went back to Vera Volkova.

He taught class in a suit, with the stiff collar, the vest, and spats and street shoes. With all of this on, he could still do a double tour en l’air and land in a perfect,fifth. I did not get to know this man, I knew his reputation from books and from other dancers.

Why Idzi? That was what his pianist, and as I understand, his lady friend, called him. He was in most cases, the understudy to Nijinsky, but was as good, in every way, as the great man himself.

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