Nina Novak (b. Janina Novak) was born March 23, 1923 in Warsaw. She graduated from the Warsaw Grand Theater ballet school, and studied with Bronislava Nijinska and Leon Wójcikowski. A soloist with the Polish National Ballet between 1937 and 1939, after the end of World War II she became a soloist with the Feliks Parnell Polish Ballet and subsequently with Mikołaj Kopiński’s ballet company. In 1946, Novak moved to the United States, where she soon became a prima ballerina, ballet dancer and teacher with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She performed leading parts in Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, as well as in George Balanchine’s ballets, dancing alongside Alicia Alonso and Maria Talchieff. Her spectacular career in the U.S. was crowned with honorary citizenships from five American cities. After her performing career ended (1962), Novak married Venezuelan diplomat Roman Rojas Cabot and moved to Caracas, where she opened her own ballet school. From 1991 onwards, she also served as the director of the Ballet Classico Nina Novak de Caracas.
Novak made guest appearances in Poland in 1961, performing as Giselle in Poznań and as Odetta in Swan Lake, as well as in 1978, dancing the role of Coppelia at the Grand Theater in Warsaw.
In 2017, she was awarded the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta.