Princess Seraphine Astafieva

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The Pheasantry on King’s Road
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Details

Name:Princess Seraphine Astafieva

Dates:1876 - 1934

Profession:Performing Arts

Address: 152 King’s Road, SW3

Dates at address:1916 - 1934

Biography

Astafieva was a member of the Russian aristocracy and a relation of Tolstoy. A gifted dancer trained at the St Petersburg Imperial Ballet School she danced and taught across Europe. Amongst her friends were such ballet legends as Diaghilev and Dame Margot Fonteyn.

She joined the Diaghilev Ballet in Paris in 1909, performing in France and England. Then in 1914 she settled in England, establishing a Russian Dancing Academy. This moved to The Pheasantry in Chelsea in 1916, rapidly becoming one of the most successful dance schools of its time. Pupils include Dame Alicia Markova, Anton Dolin and Dame Margot Fonteyn. It was also used by her mentor Diaghilev as a rehearsal rooms when he was in London.

After moving to Chelsea Astafieva became a very well known and popular resident. Originally used for pheasant breeding in 1865 The Pheasantry was also home to a famous restaurant to Chelsea’s stars between 1932 and 1966, with guests including Augustus John, Francis Bacon, Dylan Thomas and Gregory Peck. The plaque was organised by the studio’s 1968 resident, Timothy Whidborne. Unveiled by Fonteyn, many of her other students attended the event.

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