People of dance

Leon Wójcikowski

  • choreographer
  • dancer
Zdjęcie: Leon Wójcikowski

Leon Wójcikowski, Tarantella La Butique Fantasque

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Leon Wójcikowski – dancer, choreographer, ballet director, born on 20 February 1899 in Warsaw, died on 23 February 1975 in Warsaw.He was a son of shoemaker Marcin Wójcikowski and corps de ballet dancer of the Grand Theatre, Janina of Łączyńscy, and a husband of Russian dancer Helena Antenova, and later Maria Krzyszkowska and Anita Mandowska. In 1907–1914 he studied at the ballet school in Warsaw, where he was a student of Aleksander Gillert and Jan Walczak. In 1914 he became corps de ballet member of the Grand Theatre and in 1915 he was engaged by Sergei Diagilev’s Ballets Russes and went abroad, where he performed as Woizikovsky.

He danced in Diagilev group until 1929, with a break in 1922–23, when he danced with Leonid Miasin ballet group. He was a soloist in Ballets Russes from the season 1921/22. In 1928 in London, he started teaching, which he continued with various groups and schools until the end of his life. After Diagolev’s death, in 1929–31 he performed as a soloist in Anna Pavlova’s group, where he started his work in the field of choreography. In season 1931–32 he collaborated with Ballet Club Maria Rambert. In 1932–25 he worked as a soloist, choreographer and ballet director at Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. In 1935–36 he ran his own group Les Ballets de Woizikovsky. In 1937 he merged his group with Ballets Russes de Basila. In season 1938/39 he was art director of Polish Representative Ballet. During the 2nd World War, first he danced in Warsaw cafes, later in open theatres Nowości and Jar, and as a guest dancer in Powszechny Theatre in Cracow. In 1940–44 he headed legal City Ballet School in Warsaw; he also ran his own dance school and gave classes in other private schools. In season 1946/47 he was a choreographer at Music and Opera Scene of Warsaw Drama Theatres. In 1947–50 he performed the same function and was a first dancer of Nowy Theatre. In 1947-49 he gave dance classes at the State Drama School in Warsaw. In 1950–52 he was the head of ballet and choreographer of the Moniuszko Opera in Poznań. From 1952 to 1959 he worked as a choreographer in the Warsaw Opera, and in 1953–55 he was the head of ballet there. From 1951 he collaborated with the Warsaw Choreographic School (later: Ballet School); in 1952–60 he was the art director there. In 1956–58 he was a professor of the Faculty of Choreography at the Warsaw State Drama School.

In April 1960 he moved to Italy; he was invited by Miasino to take part in La Commedia umana performance, presented at ballet festival in Nervi. In 1960–61 he was the first dancer and choreographer of London’s Festival Ballet, he also collaborated with Edinburgh theatre. In 1962–65 he was a choreographer in Cologne; there, in 1963 he played for the last time as a dancer Corregidor (The Three-Cornered Hat). In 1972 he went back to Poland. He worked as a teacher in theWarsaw Operetta. From 1974 till the end of his life, he was a choreographer and teacher in the Warsaw Grand Theatre.

Most important parts: Pietrushka (Pietrushka), Corregidor (The Three-Cornered Hat), Chief of Cuman People (Polovtsian Dances), Faun (The Afternoon of a Faun), Prince (The Firebird), title roles in Pulcinelli and Lisa, Florestan (Le Carnival), Dorante (Pests), Clown (Triumph of Neptun), Master of Ceremonies (Cotillon), Athlete (Children’s Games), Ragman (Competition), Ballet Master (Scuola di ballo).

Most important choreographies: Csardas for the music by Grossman, dance with cards from Doll’s Oracle, Eine kleine Nachtmusik and El Amor Brujo

Biographies: Jan Stanisław Witkiewicz,Leon Wójcikowski – Master of Dance, Iskry 2007 ISBN 978-83-244-0051-5;

Irena TurskaLife of Dance. On Leon Wójcikowski, Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne 2007, ISBN 83-224-0863-3

Leon Wójcikowski, fot. Dorys
Leon Wójcikowski, Tarantella La Butique Fantasque
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