His work as
a choreographer

A revisal on his work at Bordeaux

At the Gare du Nord, Paris, September 1979

In 1970 Wladimir Skouratoff was engaged by Bordeaux’s Grand-Théâtre, where he became the choreograph and maître de ballet during the period from 1970 to 1990. When we first wrote his web site several years ago, we didn’t had a complete information about his febrile work during that time, which we have now, a year after his death in 2013.Thanks to Mme. Monique Simonoff’s diligences we obtained all the articles published at the time by Bordeaux’s local journal Sud-Ouest, and we have also obtained an extraordinary graphic and written material from Skouratoff’s friends and colleagues from the past, which we much appreciate, as it’s the fundamental part of this kind of historical revisal on his work at Bordeaux.

In an article published in Bordeaux on July 14th. 1970:

Wladimir Skouratoff, a new maître de ballet
Wladimir Skouratoff, the new maître de ballet replacing Alan Carter, is not unknown in Bordeaux. We owe him a radiant recall over the time he danced with Renée Jeanmaire (“Zizi” afterwards), “La fille mal gardée” circa 1949. They were the dance joyfulness itself.

Time has not altered his nervous race silhouette. It has emphasized his features, so intense under the high forehead. The spirit of dance enlivens him. A French born from Russian ancestors, Wladimir Skouratoff comes from the legendary fresco representing Dance’s golden age. He has figured among the greatest.

(…) “My conception of Dance – he says to us – is that one from the great pedagogues that formed me. Dance is an art where your feet play a great part, but the head is more important yet, as they taught me. As to my projects, they are illustrated by my first program, that is to say that school dance will be there on choreographies with a much more modern expression. Nevertheless, they will be a suite of classic formulas enriched by certain acquisitions, avoiding any exaggeration.”

Our ballet, submitted to many vicissitudes, needs a personality such as Wladimir Skouratoff’s to find a soul.
(F.-A.B., Bordeaux, July 14th. 1970)

On October 30th. 1970, Annie Larraneta on Sud-Ouest:

Wladimir Skouratoff, maître de ballet, made the choreography of “Daphnis et Chlöe” de Ravel: “The score is so beautiful, he says, and the dancers so attentive…Ravel besides wrote it for the ballet and we have a great orchestra at Bordeaux.”

(…) “I have only an immediate project, he says smiling, the success of our Gala. I count on our very good dancers to get unto it.”

Wladimir Skouratoff:
“Dance it’s a victory upon one self”

The “Symphonie en ut” by Bizet it’s an academic ballet without a story, and its choreography it’s very classic. The first movement is on short tutu; the second one, a pas de deux; the third, very vivid, and the final in whole colors.”

Wladimir Skouratoff, maître de ballet, has worked together with Henri Delannoy in the conception of costumes: “I have a good understanding with the decorator.” The diversity of costumes, short and long ones, will express the alternate vivid or slow movements.

“Les danses polovtsiennes” from “Prince Igor” will close Saturday’s gala after “Roméo et Juliette” and the “Pas de deux” by Verdi.

Wladimir Skouratoff admits Serge Lifar, the author of Roméo et Juliette’s choreography, has marked neo-classicisme on his own personality. “He made many forgotten ballets which dancers do not always play faithfully.”

“Prince Igor” ‘s choreography, after Fokine, it’s very well done. It’s a character ballet and we can’t change but a few details of it.”

The maître de ballet had some difficulties to make it. “It’s a very special language, it’s a matter of temperament and all dancers don’t have it. But I’m very satisfied with the corps de ballet. If the classic training it’s indispensable, it’s regretful that modern or character dance classes at this time are not given. The true artistic formation, in fact, comes from oneself. You need indeed a very solid musical formation.”

Skouratoff tries also to transmit on his courses the synthesis of the different techniques his teachers gave him. “Today, he says, we demand much more strength, more energy, more rapidity; briefly, more vitality than ever before. That is why many times it’s so hard to find yourself the courage to dance at ten o’clock in the morning.”

For this ancient dancer of the marquis de Cuevas’ company, dance “is not to wear a beautiful costume and to have a good review, but to get a physical and spiritual victory upon yourself. Dance can exceed you, because this art is above all a spiritual condition…When I didn’t had the same physical strength required, I admit it, to express my feelings, I stopped. And without bitterness. We become reasonable with age. We become a philosopher.” (A.L., Sud-Ouest, December 31st. 1970)


Dinnah Maggie on April 3rd. 1971, on Combat:

(…) Gerard Boireau has chosen Wladimir Skouratoff to be the Grand-Théâtre’s choreograph and maître de ballet. He comes from Strasbourg’s Opera, where he had the same position. His great dancer reputation has never affected his modesty and simplicity. An artist above all, he loves Dance more than he loves himself; the proof is that he makes a constant revival of others choreographs ballets. Thus, just one of the five choreographies he presented on his last spectacle in Bordeaux was his own.

“Water music”(Haëndel) réglé by Skouratoff on a very classic style which allowed to appreciate the troupe’s progress, was followed by the famous “Pas de trois” de Balanchine performed on Minkus’ music by Cyril Atanasoff, Aline Gendre and Jacqueline Portas. (…) “La mort du cygne” (Saint-Saëns) by Fokine with Claire Motte (…) the pas de deux from “Le corsaire” on Perrot’s version upon Drigo’s music, danced by Motte and Atanasoff.

(…) The greatest event of this soirée was “Piège de lumière” with the composer Jean-Michel Damase conducting the orchestra and Skouratoff recreating with unchanged vigor the role he had created almost twenty years before within the marquis de Cuevas’ company. Surely the decors by Pierre Castex and the costumes by Henri Delannoy doesn’t make us forget those by Felix Labisse and the poetry they bring to it. But John Taras must have been very happy to see the way Skouratoff has renewed his ballet.

The intrigues of the Opera having prevented for more than a year the production of “Piège de lumière”, why hasn’t it been asked to Wladimir Skouratoff to come to Paris to produce it? It would surely please so many balletomanes and it would occupy usefully the unavoidable inactivity of our national dancers.

First Ballet spectacle of the season
at the Great-Théâtre

The Great-Théâtre has obtained, with Wladimir Skouratoff, a maître de ballet who knows how to get indisputable results.

The program proposed last night could satisfy all expectations: their numbers went from classic to very modern, passing through romantic and modern.

(…) an impressive “Sonambule”, built upon the Bellini themes. This mysterious adventure is expressed upon a Balanchine choreography, restored by Skouratoff.

(…) We insist on the remarkable class, the elegance, the intelligence of gesture of Wladimir Skouratoff. His Poet was of a great Company.

“Billy the kid” (…) this dramatic episode from Far West’ life even profited from Skouratoff’s presence on Billy’s double rol.
(J.F., October 21st. 1971, Sud-Ouest)

Second Choreographic Gala at the Grand-Théâtre
on November 21st.1971

Wladimir Skouratoff on rehearsal (photo Sud-Ouest)

The program was composed by “Suite en blanc” (Lalo-Lifar), “Pas de trois” (Minkus-Balanchine), “Piège de lumière" (Damase-Taras) and "Billy the kid" by Copland, with an original choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.

A choreographic Gala on December 23rd. 1971 at the Grand-Théâtre produced “Le cygne noir” with Claire Motte and Cyril Atanasoff, from the Paris Opera, “Namouna” (Suit en blanc) and “La sonambule” upon the original choreographies by Petipa, Lifar and Balanchine, on Skouratoff’s revivals.


The choreographic Gala on January 16th. 1972 produced revivals of “Les sylphides” (Chopin-Fokine), “Danses polovtsiennes” (Borodin-Fokine) , “Le combat” (Banfield-Dollar) – with Colette Marchand – and “Lezginska”, over which Jacques Forlacroix wrote on Sud-Ouest: “There was also la “Lezginska”, a ballet of a particular gender, where the orchestra was an accordion and a tam-tam. Wladimir Skouratoff was the soloist. He has shown he is always in full possession of his art and has affirmed his presence.”


Colette Marchand, Pierre Lacour and Michel Ferment in “L’Ombre” (photo Sud-Ouest)

Jacques Forlacroix wrote on January 24th. 1972 (S.O.) upon the wordly creation of “L’Ombre” at the G.T.B.:

(…) The second curtain was lifted over the ballet “L’Ombre”. We can say it was most expected. Because the scenario was due to someone professionally well known beyond Bordeaux’ boundaries, Jean-Claude Dutilh; music by Michel Fusté-Lambezat, conductor for the Grand-Théâtre’s orchestra, written in an homage to his ancient teacher Darius Milhaud; and the choregraphy signed by a dancer with the greatest reputation, Wladimir Skouratoff, maître de ballet at the Grand-Théâtre.

(…) and the choreography, which its utmost was based on the dancers technique, is itself very attractive for the precise expression and the cleanness in gesture required for the feelings comprehension. We think indeed that Skouratoff has wrote there a very beautiful page on the choreographic research.

“L’Ombre”, where music and dance suits perfectly with the subject, appears as the result of an ensemble’s work between the authors.

(…) How this ballet has been danced? To pose the question would be to disregard Colette Marchand’s talent, as she gave her role of Death a very attractive plastic. She danced it with the qualities we remarked on precedent performances: purity of points, clean attitudes, intelligence in gesture expression. Two excellent dancers, Michel Ferment and Pierre Lacour, gave her the replica of qualified dancers.

And we don’t forget, next to the étoiles, the charming troupe of dancers, whose exactitude was indisputable.

“L’Ombre” was warmly received by the public and the authors had to respond to the ovations given to them on the stage.


Florence Mothe wrote on Mars 25th.1972 (S.O.) over this ballet, music by Lucien Mora, original choreography by W.Skouratoff:

(…) As we couldn’t conceive the painful adventure of Archduke Rudolph and Marie Vetsera off a purely Viennese romantic context, at this occasion Lucien Mora has composed a score full of reminiscences where Strauss family rend their tribute under the “Valse du délire” and also a thousand whiffs that restore Francis-Joseph’s court atmosphere.

(…) Even when I find the choreography a little static on the first act, it seems to me the bal scene, also as the one at the Hunting Pavilion, are very well done. Here it’s Tchaikowski insufflating his “Pathetic” to the tragic lovers pas de deux on a wood’s décor full of sortileges where it appears, at the supreme instant, as the commander’s spectre, Francis-Joseph’s image.

Mayerling (program)


Mayerling (cast)

On April 7th.1972, the Grand-Théâtre produced the opera “Hérodiade” by Jules Massenet, mise-en-scène by Claude Milon and choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.

Also, on October 20th.1972 it was “Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi, mise-en-scène by Gerard Boireau and choreography by W.Skouratoff, upon which Jacques Forlacroix remarked on his critique in Sud-Ouest:

(…) the artists intelligent evolution, the management of the crowd to which the graceful dancers were mingled, the richness of color in costumes…


On December 6th.1972, as published on Sud-Ouest:

(…) “La mort rouge”, one act ballet on a scenario by F.A.Boisson based on Edgard Allan Poe, music by Jean Courtioux, is inspired on the classic theme of Death, as no one can fight against.

“Death is a very beautiful woman”, says Skouratoff, “who encounters Prince Prospero during a great feast. While retourning to his home, he had already crossed people attacked with a mysterious illness…A buffoon tries to divert this curious dancers on costumes spattered in gold. Prospero – which I interpret – dances with Death. The buffoon suddenly feels danger and, a few moments later, the beautiful dancer unmasks. Then pestilence attacks again…”
“With their touch of ancient gold, Henri Delannoy’ costumes evoke Hogarth’ s tableaux and Venice appears at the background, slightly devised. We have married elegance and unusual upon this music composed only on percussion.”

The maître de ballet will be entoured by Aline Gendre (Death), Jean-Marie Evin (the buffoon) and the rest of the company.

“La mort rouge”, ballet de W.Skouratoff, music by J.Courtioux, costumes by Henri Delannoy

Florence Mothe wrote on December 9th.1972 (S.O.):
(…) A red sun illumines the strange adventure of Prince Prospero, to whom F.A.Boisson (through the scenario) and Wladimir Skouratoff (through the choreography) have insufflated an intense dramatic art. Out of which the panting beating and the perpetual suffocation rendered by all the percussion arsenal the composers have at their disposal.

H. Delannoy costumes for Prospero (W.Skouratoff), Death (Aline Gendre) and the buffoon (J.-M.Evin)


Aline Gendre and Pierre Lacour in “La mort rouge” (photo H.Delannoy)

On December 16th. 1972, the opera "Les noces de Figaro" (Mozart) and on December 25th.1972, "Les saltimbanques", an opera-comique by Maurice Ordennau, music by Louis Ganne and choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff, were produced at the G.T.B.


On January 11th.1973 (S.O.) Annie Larraneta announced the Grand-Théâtre’s production of a program composed by “L’heure spagnole” and “Boléro” by Maurice Ravel, and “Les Forains” by Henri Sauguet.

“It’s superb” says the maître de ballet. “We can’t say it of so many contemporaries compositions…”Les Forains” are Sauguet’ master-piece. It is a turning point on French ballet’history.” He had danced it himself with the Ballet des Champs-Elysées.

For “Boléro”, Gerard Boireau thought modern elements could be included in the decors, and Wladimir Skouratoff made a new choreography which he will dance with Maryse Dumas and Pierre Lacour around a table. “I gave it certainly an Spanish rhythm which will lead the dancers to a paroxysm when the orchestral mass is unchained just at the end. At that moment, there will be thirty two persons on stage…Ravel had a remarkable intelligence for orchestration, that’s undoubtedly the reason for which we can never stop listening to this musical “refrain” as I call it. The story is that of two lovers and one woman, of love and death.”

Florence Mothe wrote on January 13th.1973 (S.O.):

(…) If “L’heure espagnole” reconciles Ravel with himself, through the maternal Switzerland and dreamed Spain, it isn’t so for the “Boléro” which continues, more than 50 years after its creation, making run the multitudes of the world.

Upon this obsessive theme Wladimir Skouratoff made a precise, rigorous choreography, with a sobriety and an efficiency rarely reached. One enters an interior universe full of contrasts, where dancers, as the quiet infants by Velasquez, compose a suite on black and white, silvery as winter snow, pale golden as hell’s sun, all which seems engraved by Goya’s dark strokes.

Maryse Dumas (specially remarkable), Pierre Lacour and Wladimir Skouratoff create the eternal but unceasingly renewed trio, and one marvels doubly on the scenario’ banality and the technique used to the application of its intelligent virtuosity.

Skouratoff in “Boléro” in 1973

The operettes “Viva Napoli” (Francis Lopez) and “Joli tambour” (Pascal Bastia) were produced by the Grand-Théâtre on Mars 9th. And April 14th. 1973 respectively, both on choreographies signed by Wladimir Skouratoff.

“XXIV Mai Musical – 20 years ballet, Diaghilew at coulisses”.
Annie Larraneta on May 17th.1973 (S.O.):

Program says nothing about, but it’s an homage to Serge de Diaghilew the Grand-Théâtre presented last night, with “Twenty years Ballet 1909-1929”. Even half a century away from the Ballets Russes’ creation we can’t forget the one who, accordingly to Cocteau, opened “with a sorcerer’ soul a magic box…and the red curtain lifted upon the feasts that turned France upside down”.

Today, “Les Sylphides” doesn’t surprise us. (…) Yvette Chauviré and Patrice Bart (…) have find the style which marked so much ballet’s evolution on 20th. Century ‘s first years. Twenty years after “Les Sylphides”, Balanchine created “Le fils prodigue”. This ballet in three tableaux presented last night is a totally renewed work.

Wladimir Skouratoff has broken with academism to better serve Prokofiev’s beautiful, powerful wild music. His choreography is vivid, rapid, precise and everything chains very fast, even before the spectator can retrieve his breathing. This unchaining can only be calmed after the curtain is down.

(…) But the last ballet “Petrouchka” seemed to us the best achieved, both on the scenic and interpretation level. Even when former to “Le fils prodigue” it is surprisingly modern. Wladimir Skouratoff, truly, has modified Fokine’s choreography and made ensemble movements which are intense and warmly vivid.

He is himself a very acrobatic Moor. Yvette Chauviré on her ballerina has automats shattered gestures and a surprised face with a great fixed regard. She is also an actor. Patrice Bart (Petrouchka) knows also pantomime. He is a tender lunar puppet.

(…) From the spectacle’s beginning the mark was made at the presentation, for the first time on a theater, of the scenic curtain designed by Picasso for the ballet “Parade”. Last night, sorcery anticipated the three beats.

Maquette by H. Delannoy for “Le fils prodigue”


Henry Delannoy’ costumes designs for "Le fils prodigue"


Henry Delannoy’ costumes designs for "Le fils prodigue"

On May 20th. 1973, within the frame of the XXIVº Mai Musical de Bordeaux, a ballet soirée was announced at the Grand-Théâtre, where its Ballet Company presented “Le chant de la Morava”, a two acts and eleven tableaux ballet by Jean-Claude Dutilh, music by Anton Dvorak, decors by Pierre Castex, costumes by Henri Delannoy and choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff. With Jacqueline Portas, Pierre Lacour, André Mediavilla, Maryse Dumas, Aline Gendre and Wladimir Skouratoff himself.

Henry Delannoy’ costumes for “Le chant de la Morava”

The Grand-Théâtre produced an homage to Jules Massenet on Juin 24th. 1973 with “Portrait de Manon”, singed and danced upon this composer diverse works, which danced scenes made by Wladimir Skouratoff.

Annie Larraneta wrote on October 3rd. 1973 on Sud-Ouest:

(…) “Dance”, says Wladimir, “has taught us humility. We have to think in the work. Always.

(…) All my life”, tells the G.T.B.’maître de ballet, “I’ve tried to make different ballets, to express myself on diverse styles and languages”.

This self oblivion he probably owes to his Russian origins. “When you belong to an immigrant family, you know about difficulties, you have to fight ever since your childhood. It’s surely a rough school. But a good one too.” Wladimir wanted to be a musician. He couldn’t have the time to do it. “I’m not regretful, I live on music all the time. To have a prodigious technique it’s fine, but without a sensibility…I’m always attentive at the pianist’ choice for the classes.”

(…) “Coppélia”, the famous ballet by Leo Delibes will allow the public to renew with the ballet company. “I believe” says Wladimir, “that a classical work it’s suitable for a season’s debut.

It’s to get back to your sources. For a dancer it’s an occasion to see where he’s at. A classic ballet, we must say, it’s a difficult one. You can’t cheat on it.”

A remarquable Japanese dancer from Tokyo’s Ballet, Mishika Masuda, will be seen on Bordeaux for the first time. “It was Claire Motte who made me know her. We will make her come with plenty of time in advance so she can integrate the troupe.” Her partenaire will be Georges Piletta.

On January Wladimir Skouratoff will make a choreography for “Trois contes russes” over Prokofiev’s Symphonie Classique, “L’oiseau de feu” by Stravinsky and “Masquerade” by Katchaturian. “It will be also a great musical soirée…”

And the modern ballets? “We will surely have them. We are studying several projects. We will talk again soon.”

Maîtres de ballet are very discrete. Still one more quality.

The operette “Méditerrané” (Francis Lopez) was produced for December 1973’ Feasts, with a mise-en-scène by Pierre Pierrick and choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.



On January 14th. 1974 Michèle Pernety wrote on Sud-Ouest:

At the Entrepôts Lainé : a wonderful Juliette in Prokofiev’s ballet
(…) A wonderful Juliette named Wilfride Piollet dazzled her world. She dances far beyond the limits of an irreproachable technique. She goes to the ends of gracefulness, with gestures of an infinite delicacy, of a poetic fineness and a sweet sobriety which turns her performance extraordinarily intelligent and light.

(…) A sumptuous choreography on the ensemble, arranged by Wladimir Skouratoff…

Wilfride Piollet (Juliette) (phto Michel Lidvac)

Henry Delannoy' for “Roméo et Juliette”

On the spectacle presented within the frame of the XXVème. Mai Musical de Bordeaux, Florence Mothe on May 20th. 1974 (S.O.):

(…) finally, it’s certainly Dance itself that under the charming features of Wilfride Piollet and Georges Piletta came to say goodbye. Prokofiev had provided for the occasion the splendorous score of “Roméo et Juliette”. Wladimir Skouratoff had composed the most touching choreography we can imagine. Bal escorts, tenders pas de deux, admirable ensemble movements; the scene was at Verone, in the grandiose and fatal atmosphere of Italian Renaissance.

The Entrepôt walls evoked some unsurmountable burrow, its vaults concealed some undecipherable secret…

And these successive images brought exciting battles where under Mercutio and Tybalt’ features Pierre Lacour and André Mediavilla were glowing. Then, as a caress, Prokofiev’s enchanting call once again. Then, he jumped marvelously and she danced for him voluptuous arabesques, with a kind of dazzling purity…He, Georges Piletta, she, Wilfride Piollet, he Roméo, she Juliette…To whom the Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company offered a sumptuous screen.”

The works produced that year by the G.T.B. with Wladimir Skouratoff’ s choreographies were:

On February 1st. 1974, “No, no, Nanette”, mise-en-scène by Edgar Duvivier. On March 2 and 3, on an homage to Roger Ducasse, “Orphée”, upon this composer’ works.

On March 15th. 1974, “La veuve joyeuse” by Franz Lehar, mise-en-scène by Claude Milon. And on April 14th. 1974, "Le chant du désert" by Sigmund Romberg, mise-en-scène by Claude Milon.

On Juin 14th. 1974 Florence Mothe about a ballet spectacle given at the G.T.B. :

(…) that which stands out the most on (Claude) Bessy and (Georges) Piletta is a higher vision of Dance, which doesn’t stop on gestures or on figures, but recapitulates like an escort of magical legends. The Pas de deux from “Le Corsaire” allows them to display a supreme plasticity.

(…) This faculty that Dance has to give grown-up people an infant soul is exploited by Wladimir Skouratoff. His choreography on the “Symphonie en ut” by Bizet dictates them great effects and charming geometries.

International Summer Stage at the Lycée de Grand-Air in Arcachon.
Wladimir Skouratoff ‘s Cours Classique. (photo Neveu, S.O.) July 23rd. 1974

An announcement on Sud-Ouest on October 3rd. 1974:

CENDRILLON - A starred tale

“Cendrillon”, a three acts ballet by Serge Prokofiev, will open this year’s ballet season at the Grand-Théâtre.

This work has inspired Wladimir Skouratoff an attractive choreography.

Two great stars at the cast, Liliana Cosi, danseuse étoile from the Scala de Milan, and Marinel Stefanescu, danseur étoile from the Rumanian Ballets.

Next to them, André Mediavilla, Jacqueline Portas, Aline Gendre, Maryse Dumas, Evelyne Mangeard and the G.T.B.’Ballet company.

(…) As much for the scenario as for the music, “Cendrillon” it’s a traditional ballet. But tradition in Prokofiev it’s always submitted to his strong personality.

“Cendrillon” in 1974 (program)

A very popular operette by Louis Varney, “Les mousquetaires au couvent”, mise-en-scène by Pierre Pierrick, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff, was produced on October 19th. 1974 at the Grand-Théâtre.

Florence Mothe on December 14th.1974 (S.O.):

Michel Fusté-Lambezat composed last May a very beautiful work for violoncello, saxophone, mixed voice, percussion, pipe organ and a four-hand piano, over a scenario by Jean-Claude Dutilh: “La cathédrale du silence”.

Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreography gave life to this ballet, which will be presented once again by its authors next Saturday at 9 pm. at the Grand Théâtre.

Skouratoff has attached to it for this occasion two ballets by Jean Courtioux over François Boisson’s scenarios: “La mort rouge” and “Lost illusions”.

These three works, apart from their musical interest, will show the Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company – even when it’s conducted by one of the most famous classic dancers of his time – is able to undertake fully contemporary choreographies.

We recall Wladimir Skouratoff is his own interpreter in “La mort rouge”, while Pierre Lacour and André Mediavilla dialogue with the orchestra on stage in “Lost illusions”.

“La cathédrale du silence” (program)

Florence Mothe wrote on December 14th. 1974 (S.O.):

(…) “La mort rouge” takes one to the limits of dream and legend. Under Aline Gendre’s features, she comes to bring Prospero (Wladimir Skouratoff) a last sumptuous feast. From XVIth. century’s representations, François Boisson has draw out light and shade effects. And as we reencounter Skouratoff in all the magnificence of his greatest years – rapid, nervous technique, aristocratic restless grace - Courtioux’s music says to night: “Continue!” And dawn comes to drive night away.

(…) On the ethereal atmosphere where mythical sublime figures evolve, Jean-Claude Dutilh’ s “La cathédrale du silence” is situated.

(…) Contrary to the entrepôt Lainé, where this work was created, soloists and singers who deserve a very special mention, are installed on the pit. Score takes then another very different color, that impulses Jacqueline Portas towards a kind of melodic expressionism that suits very well with the choreography’s exigencies, using on traditional perspectives a space recreated only for the game of bodies proposed on an extreme simplicity’ costumes.

A conversation with Wladimir Skouratoff at the magazine “En scène”,
over 1973-1974 season’s ensemble:

• This year’s season has opened with “Coppélia”. What it’s the reason?
-W.S. : “Coppélia” is for me the very type of ballet everyone knows. It is a part of the repertoire just as “Giselle” or “Lac des cygnes”. I thought it was good to give “Coppélia” to attract balletomanes, that love great classic ballets.

• The main roles were danced by Georges Piletta and Mishiko Masuda.
-W.S. : Yes, I choose Piletta because I find him to be one of the Opera’s best dancers. Also, he has all the needed qualities for Franz’ role: his youthfulness, his dash, his physique, without oversight his fantastic technique. As to Mishiko, it has been almost by chance. I looked for an Opera’s dancer, but no one was free. It was my friend Claire Motte that pointed Mishiko to me, I didn’t knew her. The idea of working with the première danseuse étoile from Tokyo’s Opera seemed original to me, and I thought also that she will fit perfectly to the puppet’s personage. So it was accorded and she danced Swanilda’s role. And I think the corps de ballet, as myself, were fascinated by her line’s purity, her discretion, her Japanese courtesy, her gentility and her dancer qualities.

• On January you will show “Trois contes russes”.
-W.S. : Yes, I wanted to give “Trois contes russes” within the frame of the Grand-Théâtre, but at the same time they will have “Tristan et Isolde”, a very important work that needs a great number of reherseals and the stage will be constantly taken. So, it showed to be impossible to mount this spectacle at the G.T.B., for I wanted to rehearse also on the stage. Thus, it happened that Gerard Boireau suggested me to go and see the Entrepôts Lainé, where J.-L. Barrault had produced “Octobre à Bordeaux”. I was dazzled by the frame, but it would not fit to “Trois contes russes” on the folkloric and pictorial aspect. On the contrary, a “renaissance” spectacle would fit perfectly and with Boireau we choose “Roméo et Juliette”. I make clear that the music is by Prokofiev and it is a ballet that occupies all the soirée. We decided to make a spectacular mise-en-scène. Thus, there will be true fencers that will mingle to dancers. We will build three scenes where all drama will develop in order to have a quasi cinematographic vision with an incredible perspective. Our sight will be taken from one place to the other on the stage, being it the street, the balcony, the grave…The choreographies will be made by Maria Santestevan and myself, according to our own inspiration.

• You wish to return to the Entrepôts Lainé on February.
-W.S. : Yes, we’ll make a homage to Tchaikowski, who has made so much for choreographic art. It’s just to make justice for him, I think. We will give the “Symphonie Ukrainienne”, “Manfred” and “Francesca de Rimini”. It was a young man from the Cercle d’Etudes Lyriques, fervent to Tchaikowski, that proposed this three works – mostly unkown in France- to us.

• I’ve heard the “Symphonie Ukrainienne” will be a modern ballet.
-W.S. : Indeed, if you want it so, in the way that there will not have the decors or the costumes you used to see in “Lac des cygnes” or “La belle au bois dormant”. For this spectacle, the Entrepôts Lainé will be fine.

• That makes three spectacles off the usual frame. But at the G.T.B.?
-W.S. : On Mars, we’ll present “Orphée”, a mimic-drama over Roger Ducasse’s music. It’s on the occasion of the 20th. anniversary of this composer’s death, he was a disciple of Fauré, Saint-Saëns and Debussy. “Orphée” it’s a lyric drama where ballet has a fundamental place; however, we must point out the presence of singing artists. This three act ballet tales the story, after the ancient legend, of the musician Orphée, where the essential themes are fatality, joy, anguish and hope.

• Are you considering the making of revivals?
-W.S. : We will most likely recreate, on a different stage than the G.T.B.’s “La mort rouge” and “Lost illusions”, this one with Maria Santestevan’s choreography.

• Talking of revivals, which are the means for a choreographer to note a choreography?
-W.S. : I’ve personally tried to write, but without a result. The best mean, at any case the most efficient one, would be to film the ballet, what it’s certainly not possible. If I remember Lifar’s choreographies it’s because we danced every day and thus we didn’t had the time to forget.


“Piège de lumière” was presented on January 3rd. 1975 at the G.T.B. Florence Mothe on Sud-Ouest:

An equatorial fairytale where vegetal and animal celebrate wild betrothals, that’s the subject of “Piège de lumière” by Jean-Michel Damase. Strange insects and exquisite butterflies appear from the accomplice darkness, fluttering around inaccessible flowers. Suddenly, a fugitive convict comes out of the darkness. Between man and forest they establish tender and strong reports that cast on Damase’s music a kind of savage poetry.

Wladimir Skouratoff was, long time ago, one of the fugitives trapped on this touching fresco’s piège. He made the revival on Taras’ choreography, and insufflated his troupe the necessary inspiration for the mise-en-scène of this wild adventure.

April 3rd. 1975 “Don Juan” at the Grand-Théâtre. Florence Mothe wrote:

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff composed a new variation over “Don Juan” theme. Duel and serenade enlightens this ballet where one discovers a fantastic dancer, Christian Taulelle, fascinating and gracile, vigorous and rapid, who has also a true personality.

On Sud-Ouest, Mars 9th. 1975 :

Marriage Bordeaux-Toulouse for Eugène Oneguin
What do we know about Eugène Oneguin? That a letter is read and that a polonnaïse is danced.

And even if someone from Bordeaux would next Friday at the G.T.B.’s ticket-office confound pianist Eugene Istomin with Tchaikowski’s opera, it’s an extra reason to approve this second production’s realization (after the superb “Turandot” from the Grand-Théâtre and Toulouse’s Capitol.)

Sacha Pitoieff, Georges Whakevitch and Wladimir Skouratoff have retrieved their infant soul to paint the eternal Russia, lyric, violent and excessive.

(…) And then, there is Tchaikowski’s music, tragic, vibrant and desperate. A music that rubs you, caresses you, slaps you; briefly, it doesn’t lets you insensible.

The operette “Mam’zelle Nitouche” by Meilhac and Millaud (new version) mise-en-scène by Roland Léonar, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff, is announced by the Grand-Théâtre on April 12th. 1975.

First Dance Gala for the 1975-76’s season at the G.T.B.

(…) Among the proposed works we first note “Oiseau de feu” given on its integral version. Michel Fusté-Lambezat will conduct the great orchestra Stravinsky wanted.

Wladimir Skouratoff knows this ballet perfectly well, he danced it frequently (particularly at the Scala de Milan with Yvette Chauviré and under Margarita Wallmann’ s choreographic direction) and he has also realized it himself. His choreography searches for a more contemporary approach of an oriental fairy vision – with a much more free spirit – much more pure, much more lineal; without the exclusion of an exalted lyricism, of love’s violence and the very dramatic aspect of this garden ever enchanted and enchanting by the grace of illumination and decors. These last belongs to Pierre Castex, even when Henri Delannoy created the costumes.

According to Skouratoff, Francesca Zumbo “is the Oiseau; she has the personage’s delicate physique, animated by a fire more interior than exterior.” Taulelle will be her partenaire.
(S.O., September 23rd. 1975)

Skouratoff rehearsing “L’oiseau de feu” with E.Mangeard and O.Pardina
(photo H.Delannoy)

The operette “La fille du tambour-major” by Jacques Offenbach, mise-en-scène by Claude Milon, choreography by W.Skouratoff, is announced at the Grand-Théâtre on November 6th, 1975.


On January 31st. 1976, Jacques de Rancourt wrote:

A great ballet spectacle
(…) A new triumph was achieved last weekend at the Grand-Théâtre.(…) beautiful decors by Pierre Castex, costumes by Henri Delannoy, qualified stars at the cast. But it’s thanks to our remarquable maîtres de ballet, Wladimir Skouratoff and Maria Santestevan that the success it’s owed to. These two artists have admirably reconstituted “Giselle” and “Le bal des cadets”. They’ve obtained above all a discipline on the ensemble that makes Bordeaux’s ballet one of the best great classic ballets in Europe. Let’s hope we’ll be able to profit it.

(…) Once more, I’ve been dazzled by this admirable “Giselle” that a hundred and thirty five years after its creation keeps the master works’ freshness.

(…) “Le bal des cadets” is a charming ballet (hors-d’oeuvre or desert) that seems to have gained a lot in passing through the hands of Mme. Santestevan and M. Skouratoff.

(…) at the general’s role, Skouratoff showed that wonderful presence that made his reputation.

“Giselle” y “Bal des cadets” (program)


Skouratoff and the corps de ballet in « Bal des cadets » (photo V.Olivar)

On April 8th. 1976 (S.O.) Annie Larraneta wrote:

“La belle au bois dormant” – Before the fairy tale
It’s to a great dance gala we are invited to next weekend at the Grand-Théâtre.
“La belle au bois dormant” as we know, has all the qualities of a true ballet and it’s a very promising proposal it offers us.

Let’s talk before of the ballet. Or better let’s Wladimir Skouratoff, who made the choreography, expresses himself: “Tchaikowski’s music it’s beautiful and this work it’s an authentic ballet-spectacle with a fairytale and a fantastic side that touches all wonderfully, without oversight the academic side that will allow each dancer to show what he’s able to do.”

“The most difficult thing to do is the mise-en-scène, that it’s to say, when dance stops but the game continues you need to have all set up, you can’t improvise. Dancers can’t disengage when they’re not moving. They must keep intense to give the needed elegance of that time’s ballet.”

“La belle au bois dormant” (program)

Florence Mothe on May 17th. 1976 (S.O.):

(…) This soirée included also the creation of Jean-Michel Damase’ “Othello”, to the choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff and Maria Santestevan.

From Venise Moor’s huge fatal figure Ion Tugearu expressed more its rage than its devouring tragic passion. The best moment in the work rests I think the pas de deux for Cassio and Desdemone, danced much gracefully by Diana Cawley.

For the Operette Biennial from July 4th. to 11th. 1976 the Grand-Théâtre announced the works: “La vie parisienne” by Offenbach; “La chauve-souris” by Strauss; “Boccace” by von Suppé; “Véronique” by Messager and “La veuve joyeuse” by Lehar, choreographied all by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On “Boccace”, mise-en-scène by Claude Milon, Florence Mothe wrote on Juin 26th (S.O.):

(…) All the spectacle has the rhythm from Skouratoff’s ballets. They enlighten action as engraved vignettes upon an ancient book.

The operette “Vienne chante et danse” by Ledru-Strauss is announced for September 29th. 1976.

On October 19th. 1976 on Sud-Ouest :

LA GIOCONDA – A forgotten romanticism
(…) “La Gioconda” (Ponchielli’s opera) has a famous ballet “La danse des heures” for which Wladimir Skouratoff made a choreography for Pierre Lacour, Jacqueline Portas, Maryse Dumas, Aline Gendre and Evelyne Mangeard.


On February 11th. 1977 Sud-Ouest announces the opera “Aida” by Verdi, mise-en-scène by Gerard Boireau, choreography by W.Skouratoff.

On March 27th. 1977 the Great-Théâtre announced a ballet spectacle composed by “Serenade” , Pas de deux from “La belle au bois dormant” and second act from “Lac des cygnes” by Tchaikowski; “Chout” by Prokofiev; and “Dances polovtsiennes” from Prince Igor by Borodin.

Ghislaine Thesmar, Jean-Pierre Franchetti and Attilio Labis, danseurs-étoiles from Paris’ Opera, were guest artists. (*)
(*) this spectacle was given on November 1976 at Toulouse, with the same cast.

On “Chout” Florence Mothe (S.O.) wrote:

(…) Bordeaux marked a turning point with this ballet imagined by Wladimir Skouratoff upon Prokofiev’s music.

“Chout” it’s a story full of humor and fantasy where, with admirable costumes by Henri Delannoy, grace and frivolity, life and tenderness are jointed. Pierre Lacour was the travesty buffoon, with an extraordinary mastery while Evelyne Mangeard, absolutely graceful and sweet made also an adorable buffoon.

Evelyne Mangeard and G.T.B.’ ballet company in “Chout” (photo H.Delannoy)


Costume by Henri Delannoy for the Woman in “Chout”

On October 3rd. 1977 on Sud-Ouest:

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff has carefully chosen all his guests and has composed also a varied eclectic program offering all the best way to express its virtuosity and technique.

With this aim and to present his ballet company with all the soloists he proposes “Enigma” by an English composer almost unknown in France, Edward Elgar. It’s composed by twelve very different variations which ends with a solemn march. It’s certainly a very academic ballet. “Aubade” by Francis Poulenc (with Jean Guizérix and Aline Gendre), a Pas de deux by Tchaikowski and the one from “Le corsaire” by Drigo (with Patrice Bart) as the famous “Bal des cadets” by Strauss – which evokes all the Viennese charm viewed and resented by the Ballets Russes – are successively inscribed at the program.

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff has created or renewed the choreography for each one of this works.

Florence Mothe on October 5th. 1977 on S.O.:

(…) The Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company has shown to be in a very good form. Michel Fusté-Lambezat profited it to make us discover “Enigma” by sir Edward Elgar, a very unjustly unknown composer in France. Pierre Lacour expresses with a great sensibility all the mystery contained on Wladimir Skouratoff’s set in space. Pure, gracious, a bit strange, this ballet needs a company with a high technique level.

(…) Finally, “Bal des cadets” ended this first ballets soirée. It’s a joyous light work the team from the Grand-Théâtre has well assimilated after its inscription to the repertoire. Wladimir Skouratoff reveals himself on it as one of the last representatives of that school improperly called a character one, that makes precisely through gesture its privileged form of expression.

Over “La fille mal gardée” resurrection on November 11th. 1977 Florence Mothe on Sud-Ouest:

(…) This first ballet-pantomime has an sketch’s freshness. Wladimir Skouratoff has emphasized its harmonies as a cameo.

“Quadrille Impériale”, a musical comedy as an homage to Jacques Offenbach, mise-en-scène by J.J.Echeverry, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff, is announced for December 1977’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve.


On April 10th. 1978 André Maubé wrote on the spectacle given at the Théâtre Femina by the G.T.B. ‘ ballet company:

(…) “Metamorphoses”, where on a successful decorative conception by Delannoy and Gassian, a very solid quartet (Lacour, Dumas, Manière, Gendre) has shown its talent on Wladimir Skouratoff ‘s choreography upon Francis Poulenc’s music.

Previously, Evelyne Mangeard affirmed her expressive choreographic talent in “Sonate” by Bela Bartok, through which Skouratoff showed the modern dance’s ways are not unknown to him.

The operette “Le pays du sourire” by Lehar, mise-en-scène by Claude Milon, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff, is announced for April 14th. and 15th. 1977.

“If Dance were told to me”
At the Grand-Théâtre’s foyers on May 11th. 1978

To evoke dance’s history on an animated spectacle it’s a bet attempted under the title “When Dance is told to me”, by Gerard Boireau and Wladimir Skouratoff, today at 15pm. at the Grand-Théâtre’s foyers.

(…) From a text by Florence Mothe, Wladimir Skouratoff arranged several ballets that go from the Antiquity’ sacred dances to the French can-can from the Parisian gaieté, through the great moments represented by Lully’s Menuet, “La fille mal gardée” by Dauverbal, “Lac des cygnes”, “Giselle”, “Schehérezade”, “Prelude à l’après-midi d’un faune”, “L’oiseau de feu”, “Aubade” by Poulenc and Lifar and “Le sacre du printemps” by Béjart.

The operette “L’auberge au cheval blanc” by Benatzky-Bonneau was represented on May 27th. 1978. Florence Mothe wrote on Sud-Ouest:

(…) Robert Kopp’ Tyrolian dancers and the Grand-Théâtre’s ballet troupe gave rhythm to this spectacle on a highly train velocity. This danced interventions arranged by Wladimir Skouratoff are like a ballet on the operette: a kind of theater on theater.

"L’auberge du cheval blanc", O.Pardina and E.Mangeard at rehearsal (photo H.Delannoy)

On the Vichy Théâtre Casino’s catalogue (2008) :

(1978) The Grand-Théâtre’ artists are installed in Vichy with the orchestra and the troupe. The dancers troupe, conducted by Wladimir Skouratoff, intervenes on the lyric works and gives an spectacle on July 10th. under the veranda: Le bal des cadets (Strauss), Le Boléro (Ravel).

On October 12th. 1978 Florence Mothe on Sud-Ouest:

Agen: a season on paradise
(…) “L’histoire du soldat” by Stravinsky and the “Sonate pour deux pianos et percussion” by Bartok will be danced by the G.T.B.’s company upon Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreographies, while « Rêve de valse” will incite Agen’s people to divertissement.
(*) this program was dedicated to Russian composers.

On October 24th. 1978 (S.O.) a choreographic soirée is announced at the Théâtre Femina, with guest artists Cyril Atanasoff and Noëlla Pontois, from the Paris Opera, and the presentation of the “Concerto nº 2” by Prokofiev, “Une nuit sur le Mont- Chauve” by Moussorgski and “La source écarlate” by Tchaikowski, poem by Jean-Claude Dutilh. All three choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

Musique Russe (program)


“La source écarlate” (program)


"Une nuit sur le Mont-Chauve" (program)

On November 2nd. 1978 Florence Mothe wrote :

An evolved classicism
(…) the war’s theme has served Jean-Claude Dutilh to elaborate a dense work upon Tchaikowski’s music (*), “La source écarlate”. War’s rejuvenation keeps something indefinitely historical. Masks traversing the scene evoke a charnel house of heroes dead at the honor’s field. With this hallucinated scene Wladimir Skouratoff creates a new premonitory anguish.

(…) As for Skouratoff’s choreographies, they keep a discipline that places them on an evolved classicism’s frame. The level on which the company situates at this moment enables it to create its own way in the middle of divergent contemporary dance’s alphabets. It would be regretful this ballet to rest on a relative shadow while the only fact of being danced seems to sink it on retirement.
(*) Symphonie Pathétique nº 6

On December 12th. 1978, Florence Mothe wrote:

To try a choreography upon Saint-Saëns “Concerto nº 2” with an exact respect for the tempi and the music accentuations, spattering this brilliant work with a humor’s zest, such has been Wladimir Skouratoff’s will, inspiring himself freely on his teacher Lifar for this spectacle, which is dedicated to French music.

Skouratoff’s art has been to make music and dance dialogue very closely. A few choreographers are as musical as he is, feeling with such a sensibility melody’s interior calling. The correspondence he searches to express is rendered through magic alchemical gestures that seem to unchain underground forces.

(*) this spectacle given at the Théâtre Femina, was also composed by “L’apprenti sorcier” and “La Péri” by Dukas and the “Pas de deux” from Sylvia by Delibes, on a program which was dedicated to French composers.

Musique française (program)


"L’apprenti sorcier” (program)


“La Péri” (program)


“Roméo et Juliette” revival at the Entrepôt Lainé on February 24th. 1979 with Wilfride Piolette and Jean Guizérix:

“Roméo et Juliette” (program)

On March 17th. 1979 (S.O.) Florence Mothe announces the wordly creation of “La solitude” by Henri Sauguet, and also “Sortie interdite” by Michel Fusté-Lambezat, both on choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On March 21st. 1979 the opera “La Basoche” by Messager is presented on W.Skouratoff’s choreography.

Florence Mothe on October 19th. 1979:

Serge Lifar is at Paris. The “Chevallier et la demoiselle”s choreographic author assisted, on the frame of an homage to Diaghilew (*) offered by the Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company, to the representation of two of his works, “Le fils prodigue” and “L’après-midi d’un faune”.
He goes fifty years back and evokes for us his “pal” Diaghilew.

“Diaguilew is the cultural revolution’s apostol. He’s Robespierre plus Bakounine, if they would have previewed 20th. century’s evolution. France, asleep under its academic laurels, didn’t understand she gave birth to expressionism. Diaghilew was the one who taught her.”

Did he know how to make money?

“He guided business men that didn’t understand a thing, but who had monstrous capitals, to achieve the best tableaux: Picasso, Derain, Vlaminck. Thus the greatest painters from Paris school are guarded at the Russian Museums.”

He wasn’t interested on anything but Dance?

“He was the pole of attention for the whole occidental culture. He discovered Stravinsky and Prokofiev but also Ravel and, mostly, Strauss and Falla. If I’d have to define him on one word, I would chose an “ism” one, for he made coincide surrealism, impressionism, constructivism and Dadaism. Diaghilew is an archipelago.”

Ballet Russes weren’t only Russian?

“They’ve opened the door to Picasso, Roualt, Matisse. Russia was nothing but a poster to them. Their subject was the whole world.”

You will reencounter yourself in the “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” that you’ve created. Is it the other side of the mirror?

“Im’ very anxious to see the spectacle mounted by my ancient student Wladimir Skouratoff. I like my students to became masters.”

Upon this spectacle, given at the Théâtre Femina on October 19th. 1979, Florence Mothe wrote:

Even when given upon registered music, the spectacle offered as an homage to Diaghilew by Bordeaux Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company forced our attention and admiration. Wladimir Skouratoff, as a respectful disciple, had invited his master Serge Lifar, focusing somehow the mirror on the one who was the greatest choreographer for the 20th. century’s first half. Lifar gave him friendship and complicity. He testified the intention’s exactitude. A temporary resident for life, but at Paris, Lifar has not an exile’s soul. Even when he expresses in Russian with his friend “Wolodia”, it’s eternal Dance they’re talking about, the one that has not a time or a country.

(*) this homage to Diaghilew was composed by “Le fils prodigue”, “L’après-midi d’un faune”, “Tricorne” and “Le spectre de la rose”, and the pas de deux from “La belle au bois dormant”.

Hommage à Diaghilew (program 1)


Hommage à Diaghilew (program 2)


Skouratoff with Lifar, E.Mangeard, A.Gendre and J.Portas
on Diaghilew’s homage in 1979 (photo H.Delannoy)

On November 16th. 1979 the opera “Marouf sauvetier du Caire” by Henri Rabaud, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff, was presented at the G.T.B.

Evelyne Mangeard in “Marouf sauvetier du Caire" (photo H.Delannoy)

Florence Mothe on December 22nd. 1979 on Sud-Ouest:

Making Camus’formula his own, after which “classicism is not but a tamed romantism” Wladimir Skouratoff has elaborated a brilliant variation upon the eternal theme of dance’s variation. (…) Between Haëndel, Albinoni, Vivaldi, Bach and Xenakis, Skouratoff has searched for the same respiration, the same rhytm. Just as if dance’ seasons would celebrate the eternal summer of Greek islands.

(*) at the program: “Troisième suite” by Bach, “Water music” by Haëndel and “La leçon” by Vivaldi, all three choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

“Water music” in 1979 (photo F.Mineau)

At rehearsal with Evelyne Mangeard (photo H.Delannoy)

At rehearsing at Grand-Théâtre (photo C.Leconte)


At Vichy with Gerard Boireau and the G.T.B.’s ballet company (photo H.Delannoy)


“Cendrillon” at Avignon (program)


On April 8th. 1980 Florence Mothe on Sud-Ouest:

“I know indeed the force of words” wrote Maiakovski. “Words are a toxin, nevertheless they’re but a rose under a dancer’s heel.” Nevertheless, Wladimir Skouratoff appealed at Maiakovski’s words to exorcise some of his own demons.

The spectacle to be shown next Saturday at the Grand-Théâtre, upon a text by Michel Baranoff, it’s a dramatic evocation in two acts of the famous Russian Sunday in January 22nd. 1905, which 75th. anniversary will soon be celebrated. So it’s the case for this ballet which uses important electro-acoustic means and has three comedians, Paul Renard, Anyl Floriane and Claude Milon composing somehow a dramatic double for the dancing personages on October’s revolution.

Wladimir Skouratoff in mounting this ballet will speak about freedom and oppression, telling a love story that unites Tatiana with Alexandre Alexeievitch. A noble young girl and a young officer from the imperial gard will share out of generosity and enthusiasm the revolutionaries faith.

The ballet will be taken from an orthodox church to St.Peterbourg’s court, from a lascivious magician’s office to the frigid clearings where the partisans hide.

Cyril Atanasoff and Liliane Belfiore, danseuse étoile from London’s Festival Ballet, will dance the main roles. Wladimir Skouratoff will be on the stage also. He will be the magician Lief Karougine and the Tzar’s officer Serge Donskoi.

“Un dimanche à l’aube” (program)

"Un dimanche à l’aube" (cast)

Cyril Atanasoff and Evelyne Mangeard (photo V.Olivar)

The corps de ballet (photo V.Olivar)


On March 8th. 1980, on Sud-Ouest:

“Casse-Noisette”, a fairy tale in two acts and three tableaux, is based on a narration of Alexandre Dumas, inspired also in a Hoffmann’s tale. Exalted by the sublime score by Tchaikowski, the Grand-Théâtre’s choreograph will let his imagination serve this marvelous story full of sylphs, dryads and fairies.

On March 15th. 1980 (S.O.) Florence Mothe wrote:

To resuscitate the green paradise of childhood’s dreams is not an easy thing for a choreograph, always tempted to ally tradition to innovation. This equilibrium is sometimes difficult to achieve in works where the sensibilities of several authors are superposed. Thus “Casse-Noisette”, which through Hoffmann seduced Petipa and Tchaikowski, before inspiring Roland Petit a brilliant variation.

This recall has perhaps troubled Wladimir Skouratoff a little. If the decors by Jean Gassian and the very beautiful costumes by Henri Delannoy don’t recall at all those by Enzio Frigerio, Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreography seems to have the aim to be far away from Roland Petit’s, without however totally achieving it.

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff is attached to recreate different atmospheres depending if Maria’s dream takes her to Spain or Asia.

J.Portas, A.Mediavilla, A.Gendre, P.Lacour,E.Mangeard y M.Dumas in “Casse-Noisette”
(photo H.Delannoy)

“Casse-noisette” in 1980 (photo C.Leconte)

The corps of ballet of "Casse-Noisette" (photo P.Delorme)

F.Mineau in “Casse-Noisette” (photo P.Delorme)


“La fille mal gardée” by Hérold was represented on August 2nd. 1980 at the Vichy’s Théâtre Casino. Line Debordes wrote:

(…) Bordeaux company it’s an important troupe with excellent qualified dancers, and Wladimir Skouratoff ‘s realization was superb.

(…) The choreography and mise-en-scène by Skouratoff keeping this ballet’s buffooneries and rustic character lead much elegance to the different figures. (…) The peasant dance on sabots testifies the choreograph’s talent for an excellent rhythm’s exploitation.

The operettes “La vie parisienne” and « La belle Hélène » by Offenbach were represented at Vichy on August 4th. and 12th. both with a mise-en-scène by Gerard Boireau and choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

Skouratoff with the Company of “La vie parisienne” in Vichy, in 1980

“Casse-Noisette” by Tchaikowski was recreated at Vichy’s Théâtre Casino on August 14th. 1980:

“Casse-Noisette” on Vichy (program)

On August 18th. 1980 "Le bal des cadets" and "Boléro" are announced at Vichy’s Festival. On a local journal from the time:

(…) everything has contributed to make this dance’s soirée an exquisite interlude, without a great claim but with very good taste, through a couple of melodic themes such as “Bal des cadets” by Strauss and “Boléro” by Ravel.

To celebrate Vienna and its “three-timed feasts” Wladimir Skouratoff choose humor and pantomime, disregarding the convention that sometimes privileges the aesthetic expression with detriment to temperament. Out of where the disorder’s sparkle that burst from part of the public on the face of his very spontaneous choreography that sacrifices to the burlesque and the ludicrous effect. Briefly,a very personal approach to Strauss, not without pertinence, breaking Vienna’s splendor myth and considering the frivolous clumsy character of this flamboyant period.

Skouratoff hasn’t taken himself very seriously on this evocation, sparkling as wine from Danube’s hills. His company followed and understood him perfectly: Maryse Dumas and Pascal Manière in first place, Pierre Lacour, Evelyne Mangeard, André Renard, Michel Valprémy, Aline Gendre, Jacqueline Portas, Régine Mauran, Carole Grifflé and Paloma Paloméra on the pas glissé of their étoiles, not disregarding Wladimir Skouratoff himself, as a chaperon of his cadets bataillon. They have tourned and danced with a gayety from the Viennese spirit itself. But let’s recognize however they have been more convincing on Ravel’s “Boléro”, a more hieratic choreography, more classic also, with very elaborated figures. Spain with her passion fire, with the black shade of the “muerte” was expressed with an astonishing power through the pricking theme from the famous “Boléro”. Wladimir Skouratoff has a potential value which worth his apprenticeship; that’s what seems to be the best stimulant to this ancient dancer of the Cuevas’ ballets.

At Vichy with Pierre Lacour and Evelyne Mangeard (photo H.Delannoy)

On October 24th. 1980 Verdi’s opera “Nabucco” was presented on the Grand-Théâtre, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On October 27th. 1980 (S.O.) Florence Mothe on a spectacle at the Entrepôt Lainé:

(…) Stravinsky ("L’Oiseau de feu", "Apollon Musagète"), Skouratoff knows. They are, if I dare to say, on country’s connivance. Singing on the same genealogic tree the always nostalgic and radiant air from the lost country, they celebrate their own way a reconciled family.

(…) a “Mandarin merveilleux” by Bartok’s new version that fits with a diabolic precision Bartok’ score and thought. (…) On this tale which is a minute-opera Wladimir Skouratoff has drawn a magnificent pantomime.

On November 25th. 1980 Sud-Ouest announces:

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff will mount “Don Juan” choreography on music by Strauss, and will imagine upon a very beautiful scenario byJean-Claude Dutilh a new ballet under the title “La nymphe aux yeux de nuit”. It tales about several personages’ encounter, violent and romantic at a time, which rhymes, as Ronsard said, love and death at the same ecstasy.

(…) Bordeaux Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company will show also “Aubade” by Francis Poulenc through which Wladimir Skouratoff will render an homage to his teacher Serge Lifar.

On December 3rd. 1980 Florence Mothe on Sud-Ouest:

G.T.B.’s company on points
How to give a Company a style? How to make a group of dancers get at a time a common feverish soul, making creations and offering a true relief to ballets she proposes?

Wladimir Skouratoff has found probably a way to answer these questions. The program he proposed last Saturday at the Grand-Théâtre testifies at any case a unity on inspiration which has guided choreographs through Tchaikowski, Poulenc, Strauss and Prokofiev.

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff doesn’t lack imagination on his last ballet “La nymphe aux yeux de nuit” (*) composed upon a scenario by Jean-Claude Dutilh. His academic attachment allows him to invent structures and cultures, letting the dancers bodies show movement’s free expression; disregarding the anecdote that replaces personages on their expression’s truth.
(*) upon Strauss’ “Mort et transfiguration”

“La nymphe aux yeux de nuit” (program)

(…) Finally, the Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company offered a brillant variation upon “Don Juan” theme.(…) The version Skouratoff gives of the eternal seducer is at a time a clear and ambiguous one. Don Juan amuses himself and amuses us, but there’s something always anguish and escaping at the choreography that remarks this personage despite his conquers remains to be without peace and joy.

“Don Juan” (program)

Rudy Bryans and Fabienne Delorme in “Don Juan” (photo F.Mineau)

Rudy Bryans in “Don Juan” (photo H.Delannoy)

Skouratoff at rehearsal with R.Bryans


On January 23rd. 1981 the operette “La belle Hélène” by Offenbach is presented with a choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On February 27th. 1981 Florence Mothe (S.O.) about “Casse-Noisette” revival at the G.T.B.:

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff’s version is freely inspired on the first version Tchaikowski made at the request of the Imperial Theaters’ director, so imperative that the composer himself soon loose his enthusiasm making his composition to be a febrile nightmare at the end.

On this version, already presented in 1980, Skouratoff renews with Russian tradition and tries to resuscitate the green paradise from childhood’s dreams. Fitting tradition to innovation.

On March 1st. 1981 André Maubé over this revival:

Since the curtain’s lift (…) Wladimir Skouratoff announces color. His “Casse-Noisette” will be a pink tale and the intrusion on the imaginary will not be on Hoffmann’s dark palette but on a suite of Tchaikowski’s musical variations, spouting as mountain brooks in spring.

On March 26th. 1981 the opera “Adrienne Lecouvreur” by Cilea, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff, was presented at the G.T.B.

On May 26th. 1981 Florence Mothe on the wordly creation of “L’arbre” by Henri Sauguet, an homage to this composer presented within the frame of the 1981’s Bordeaux’s Mai Musical:

“L’arbre” is inspired through Raphael Cluzel’ scenario, on surrealism conquers. We have to believe in trees, in flowers, in plants that unite mineral and animal. We have to believe in the power of words and in the power of dreams. We have to believe poetry created dance because she’s dance herself. Phrases respond to dancers’ swiftness. A same gesture draws on space, and sounds, and words, and forms.

Carole Grifflé expresses Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreography with fragile lightly grace. The Grand-Théâtre’s company appears to be the privileged vector of these shared emotions.

“L’arbre” (program)

Sud-Ouest announces for 1981-82’s season:

On November 6th. 1981 the operette “Véronique” by André Messager; on November 27th. 1981 “Greens” or “Golf, love and harmony”, a lyric divertissement by Henri Bordes, mise-en-scène by Gerard Boireau, and on January 27th. 1982 “Daphnis et Chloé” by Ravel at the Entrepôt Lainé. All three choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On August 1981 Vichy’s Théâtre Casino presents:
On August 1st. “De Paris sur Seine à Vienne sur Danube” and on August 9th. "Les forains" (Sauguet) and "Parade" (Satie).

On October 16th. 1981 (S.O.) Florence Mothe on Hommage à Lifar:

Lifar, the great, the unique, will be at Bordeaux on Saturday to talk about his life and his art. His disciple Wladimir Skouratoff, who after World War II was a star of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, has reserved him an homage that we owe to his talent, his courage, his work.

(…) The four ballets chosen for this homage will be recreated upon the choreographies by Louis Orlandi, Françoise Adrett and Wladimir Skouratoff. (*)
(*) Les sylphides (Chopin), Mephisto valse (Lizst), Suite en blanc (Lalo) and Roméo and Juliette’s pas de deux (Tchaikowski).

On December 2nd. 1981 André Maubé on "Cendrillon"’s revival :

(…) The choreograph, after a little slow beginning, burst out at the end of first act, leading his efforts to the second, a true visual feast that much owes to Gassian’s decors and Delannoy’s costumes.

Skouratoff at rehearsal of “Cendrillon” (photo P.Delorme)

Bayard and Bryans in “Cendrillon” (photo P.Delorme)

André Mediavilla and the corps de ballet (photo P.Delorme)

Bayard, Bryans and the corps de ballet (photo P.Delorme)

Soloists and the corps de ballet (photo P.Delorme)

Cendrillon's sisters (photo H.Delannoy)


On January 22nd.1982 Florence Mothe on Sud-Ouest:

Listening to Wladimir Skouratoff we think decidedly he has regrets over his dancer’s career. The maître de ballet for the Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company regrets indeed evidently for not being a circus man. He talks about it with those satisfaction tremors that assaulted sometimes Darius Milhaud and that also uses Henri Sauguet to explain his inspiration of “Les forains” comes from the feasts he used to assist to in his childhood. The ecuyère is not so far from the dancer.

That’s why the spectacle proposed next Saturday at 21pm. at the Center André-Malraux will cover all with a nostalgic atmosphere, for ambulant artists, clowns, relaxation.

“Satie is not more gay than his disciple Henri Sauguet”, he tells us. “Circus’ first expression is sadness. Even under paillettes, strass and make-up, spectacle must go on.

“Les forains” that we present in Bordeaux will be those from the version created by Roland Petit.”

“Christian Berard imagined the decors and costumes upon Boris Kochno’s scenario. The open air theater, the exercises, the rout’s imminence are present at the spectacle with Sauguet’s taste for foreign feasts, nomad representations and his compassion for the ambulant artists which hold dream and fantasy under opaque tanned tinsels which keep still on them gold and purple.”

(…) As that which concerns “Parade”, Wladimir Skouratoff on the contrary has withdraw from Massine’s choreography, to approach the décor and costumes Picasso wanted in its creation. It’s almost a cubist choreography he proposes. Each person becomes a silhouette, spoliation is exceptional, brutality almost intransigent.

On February 1st. 1982 Florence Mothe announced the creation at the Entrepôt Lainé of “Hécube” by Jean Courtioux, choregraphy by Janine Charrat:

(…) On “Hécube” dance will do more than to express through gesture. For example, Wladimir Skouratoff, who is the King whose eyes Hecube will burst out, expresses through verb.

(*) at the same program, “La mort rouge” by Courtioux, choreography by Skouratoff.

Janine Charrat rehearsing with W.Skouratoff in “Hécube”
(photo Sud-Ouest)

On July 28th. 1982 the G.T.B.’s ballet company presented at the Casino Theater at Vichy “D’Offenbach à Strauss” and on August 7th. “Cendrillon” by Prokofiev, both choreographies by W.Skouratoff.

Stage at Dinard’s International Academy on August 1982 (program)

On December 4th. 1982 upon the “Hommage au Marquis de Cuevas”, Florence Mothe wrote :

Georges de Cuevas, marquis by royal decree, was at the center of the spectacle given at the Centre André-Malraux by the Grand-Théâtre’s company.

Wladimir Skouratoff, who created for Cuevas “Piège de lumière”, “Tertulia” and “Boléro”, owed him this posthumous serenade.

It was expressed first through a delicious ballet “Constantia” that upon Chopin’s second concerto in F minor tales about the composer’s passion for Constantia Gladruska, a young polonaise singer he never knew personally.

(…) the two following ballets, both on Georges Skibine’s choreographies, “Concerto” by Jolivet and “Le prisionnier du Caucase” by Katchaturian.

Homenaje al marqués de Cuevas (programa)


E.Mangeard, R.Mauran and F.Mineau in “Le prisionnier du Caucase”
(photo H.Delannoy)

On January 18th.1983, Florence Mothe on the G.T.B.’s production of the opera “Le jongleur de Notre-Dame” by Massenet:

With the aim to replace Massenet on his frame, Gerard Boireau has played the game to its end. He composed a soirée like those made on last century and attached to the opera, played without an interval, a ballet “Le jeu du miroir du bois” (*) on a choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.

(…) this beautiful strange adventure tells us about the Earth’s vibration symbol to the new forces of spirit.
(*) upon “Scènes dramatiques” by Massenet

“Le jeu du miroir du bois” (program)

"Le jongleur de Notre-Dame" (program)

On February 27th. 1983 André Maubé on the “Lac des cygnes” production :

(…) Always at ease with classic ballet’s swans, sylphides and feeries, master lead his troupe at the beating of the drum unto victory.

“Lac des cygnes” (program)


Griflé, Mangeard and Pardina in « Lac des cygnes » (photo V.Olivar)


"Lac des cygnes" Act IV : Mangeard, Portas, Daverat, Mauran
(photo H.Delannoy)

On March 25th. 1983 a “Gershwin revival” was produced at the Entrepôt Lainé, composed by this author’s works, the choreography of “Préludes et promenades” by Wladimir Skouratoff. André Maubé wrote:

(…) “Préludes et promenades”, trough which Wladimir Skouratoff made us remember his brilliant technique and his choreography’s elegance.

On April 3rd. 1983 the operette “Paganini” by Franz Léhar, mise-en-scène by Gerard Boireau and choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff was presented at the Grand-Théâtre.

On July 27th. 1983 Gershwin revival was presented at the Vichy’s Théâtre Casino. It was composed by Gershwin works “Ouverture cubaine”, “Concerto en Fa”, “Medley” and “Promenades et preludes” with Réjane Vérité, Olivier Pardina, Claudette Souarnec, Alain Vaspar and Bordeaux’s ballet company.

“Lac des cygnes” was presented on August 3rd. 1983 at Vichy, with Ghislaine Thesmar, Michel Denard, Olivier Pardina and the corps de ballet from G.T.B. On a Vichy’s local journal:

(…) I found Wladimir Skouratoff singing alone on the street almost jumping. La-la-la-sol sharp la-si-la-sol sharp…I rapidly complimented the master, encouraging him to the bel canto. However, I allowed myself to tell him that an opera’s air will suit him best than the famous passage from Lac des cygnes he was humming – the one mostly known and that one the amateur waits for. “Ah!, he said, “Tchaikowski is marvelous! And this passage, the “Pas de quatre” of little swans, sublime! Oh you’ll see my little swans: Martine Magnon, Fabienne Delorme, Sylvie Daverat and Nadine Maillet. Same technique, same height, same grace and same enthusiasm. It’s one of the soirée’s mainly attractions…It’s as important as the tenor’s aria in “Rigoletto”.

And with two pas glissés en avant, he left me, singing “Like a feather on the air women are volatile…”

Skouratoff rehearsing “Lac des cygnes” with Mangeard and Griflé


Soirée at Dinard’s Palais des Congrès on August 25th.1983 (program)


On December 2nd. 1983 the Grand-Théâtre presented the integral version of “Lac des cygnes” by Tchaikowski, the choreography being a reprisal by Wladimir Skouratoff upon Petipa-Ivanov. Guest stars were Ghislaine Thesmar and Cyril Atanasoff, the ballet being danced on December 4th. and 6th. by Elisabeth Platel and December 9th. and 11th. by Claude de Vulpian.

“Lac des cygnes” (program 1)

"Lac des cygnes" (program 2)

On December 3rd. 1983 André Maubé wrote:

The Grand-Théâtre’s Ballet seems to be awaken under the sign of a fabulous work, one of the most famous in the classic repertory, “Le lac des cygnes”.

Considerably rejuvenated, rich on rivalry which favors emulation, showing a real joy in dancing, Wladimir Skouratoff’s Company proposes with this Tchaikowski ballet, which is composed upon a very romantic scenario specially written by Begitchev and Geltzer, a very good spectacle.

Skouratoff is much respectful of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s tradition, who in a certain night of 1894 at the St.Petesbourg’s Marie Theater leaded to triumph a choreography rejected by Moscow seventeen years before. But this respectful admiration gives its fruits when on stage enthusiastic talented artists are produced.

Ghislaine Thesmar and Michel Renard (photo P.Delorme)

Pas de quatre (photo P.Delorme)


F.Mineau (The bufoon) (photo P.Delorme)

The corps de ballet (photo P.Delorme)

F.Mineau and the corps de ballet (photo P.Delorme)


“Lac des cygnes” 3rd Act, Denard, Mangeard, Dumas, Mineau (photo H.Delannoy)



Upon Gershwin’s "Concerto en Fa" revival at the Entrepôt Lainé on January 14th. 1984, Florence Mothe (S.O.):

(…) a ballet by Wladimir Skouratoff will have a revival by the Grand-Théâtre’s Ballet Company. The Concerto in Fa by George Gershwin it’s a simple work where the choreography is the motor and the lines and bodies rejoice with the rapture’s imagination and inspiration that issues from the inventive music of an American who wasn’t – alas! - at Paris.

On January 16th. 1984, Florence Mothe referring to this spectacle at the sale Jacques-Thibaud:

(…) The best thing on the soirée was undoubtedly Gershwin’s Concerto en Fa mounted by Wladimir Skouratoff. He wanted to make a great wink to white ballet and a new emblem for him could be “Skouratoff dances whiter than Petipa”. It’s skillful, somehow balanchinian through the diagonals and groupes’ work. It’s a sensible winking choreography that enlights every dancer through his own personality.

Hommage à Balanchine on July 14th. 1984 at the Grand-Théâtre. André Maubé wrote:

(…) “Constantia” upon Chopin’s music (*) allows to appreciate the dancers qualities. For this homage to Balanchine by Wladimir Skouratoff doesn’t make any concession on the classic evolutions: charm, spontaneity and talent were present in this appointment.

(…) “Angora”, scenario by Jean-Claude Dutilh, brilliant and elevated, rich on humor and joy, illustrates with a talented sprightliness Paganini and Rachmaninoff’s themes.
(*) Superb costumes by Henri Delannoy.

It’s at a time a malicious wink to Disney’s “Aristochats” and to “West side story”. Out of a balanchinian inspiration, this ballet proposes an amorous encounter over London’s roofs.

(…) It’s then to the authentic source Skouratoff was initiated at the “Boléro”. As far from Béjart that from Gades, Skouratoff’s Boléro has the nobility moderation mark. It’s a wise choreography.
(*) the Concerto nº 2
(**) the Raphsody upon a Paganini’s theme

The same spectacle was presented on August 14th. 1984 at the Casino Theater on Vichy, with Wilfride Piollet, Denys Ganio, Olivier Pardina, Pierre Lacour, Réjane Vérité, Aline Gendre, Evelyne Mangeard, Carole Griffie, Maryse Dumas and Patrick Giraudon.

The operettes “Le chanteur de Mexico” on October 6th., “Trois valses” on November 17th. and “Le baron tzigane” on December 23rd. 1984 were produced at the G.T.B., all three choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

Also on November 11th. 1984 the opera “La traviata” by Verdi.

Evelyne Mangeard and Olivier Pardina in “La traviata” on a choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff
(photo V.Olivar)


On November 29th. 1984, Florence Mothe wrote on Sud-Ouest:

A century after Coppélia’s creation Wladimir Skouratoff mounts at Bordeaux a new version of Leo Delibes’ ballet. With Elisabeth Platel (Swanilda) and Cyril Atanasoff (Coppélius).

(…) Skouratoff says “Elisabeth Platel dances Swanilda’s role for the first time, which is an amusing thing.” (…) Charming Elisabeth Platel will meet in Coppélius an Atanasoff discovering himself his personage on the same way. “I wanted him to be handsome, seducer and exciting”, tells Skouratoff. “I gave him a little zest of humor as for me, for an immense dancer like Atanasoff boarding a composition role for the first time, we must make Coppélius an actor’s affaire more than a dancer’s one.”

(…) According to Skouratoff, within this ballet there’s “a whole protocol of gesture, impulses, mutations and irony, isolated from the picturesque. The oddity on Coppelius, Swanilda and Franz’s relationship defines it’s eternity, upon which all occidental theater is built. Like Pierrot, Arlequin and Colombine, this three personages deliver themselves to love’s cruel game. Coppélius dreams about loving the doll and to make her his passion’s object. It’s less innocent than it appears to be at first.”

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff choose for this new production to give the three acts on its entirety. This choreographic abundance will not surprise from a man who always renders himself to engrave modern versions on the traditional canvas. “At the first act I’ve rendered the beautiful part to Delibes”, he tells us, “I’ve accentuated music’s folkloric character through boots. Second act it’s turned more towards Hoffmann, thanks to fantastic light’s games. Finally the third act divertissement, differently from the first and the second, entirely danced on points, appears as an apotheosis, like a great operette’s final.”

(…) For Skouratoff, “you mustn’t be descriptive nor anecdotic, but to give each personage its dramatic context, disconnecting the third act which is considered like a variation on dance for dance.”

“Coppélia” 1984 (program)

Platel and Pardina (photo P.Delorme)

Atanasoff and Pardina (photo P.Delorme)

Platel, Atanasoff and the corps de ballet (photo V.Olivar)

“Coppélia” at W.Skouratoff's reprise in 1984 (photo P.Delorme)


On January 26th. and 27th. 1985 at the Nantes’ Opera:

Ballet de l'Opéra de Nantes (program 1)

Gershwin' works (program 2)

Mangeard, Pardina and Skouratoff (program 3)

The operettes “Pas sur la bouche” on February 2nd. , "Valses de Vienne" on March 23rd. and the operas “La dame blanche” on March 1st. and “Les pêcheurs de perles” on April 18th. 1985 were produced at the G.T.B., all four choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On August 3rd. 1985 on a choreographic Gala at Vichy’s Théâtre Casino “Coppelia” was presented, with Elisabeth Platel, Cyril Atanasoff and Olivier Pardina.

The operette "Le pays du sourire" (Lehar) is announced on March, “Rose de Noël” (Lehar) on October and “Balalaika” (Posford-Stolz) on December 1985, also the ballet “Giselle” (Adam) on April 1985. At the Grand-Théâtre, with choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

Evelyne Mangeard and Pierre Lacour in “Rose de Noël” phfoto H.Delannoy)


“Le pays du sourire”, Evelyne Mangeard and the corps de ballet (photo H.Delannoy)

On November 25th. 1985 André Maubé wrote:

A Dance Gala without pretention but not a charmless one, this last week-end at the Grand-Théâtre. On the program “Feu d’artifices” by Haëndel and “Les deux pigeons” by Messager, danced by the corps de ballet.

“Feu d’artifice” is an elegant choreography with long pink tutus and a delicate rosiness on the corps de ballet’s demoiselles, with Evelyne Mangeard at her utmost musical fluids forms conducting them.

“Les deux pigeons” is rich on a score elegant and emotional at a time.

(…) This spectacle is reached with local means proving how much master Skouratoff’s company is progressing and gaining enthusiasm.

“Les deux pigeons” (program)


On January 10th. and 11th. 1986 “Hommage aux Ballets Russes” at Nantes:

Hommage aux Ballets Russes (program 1)

Hommage aux Ballets Russes (program 2)

Hommage aux Ballets Russes (program 3)

The artists of the Opera of Nantes (program 4)

On February 13th. 1986 the opera “Lakmé” (Delibes) was presented; also on March 20th. 1986 “Les noces de Figaro” (Mozart), both on choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

The operettes announced (*) for the 1986-87’s season were:
Rose Marie on October 86
Ciboulette on November 86
La vie parisienne on December 86
La belle Helène on February 87
Mam’Zelle Nitouche on April 87
Méditérrané on Juin 87
(*) All with Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreographies.


On March 15th. 1986 upon the revival at the Grand-Théâtre Florence Mothe wrote:

“La fille mal gardée” is a work anterior to this period. It was created on 1786. Wladimir Skouratoff restitued it on an atmosphere from its time. That’s why we mustn’t be surprised at the fact, for example, that Sylviane Bayard from Zuritch’s Opera who incarnates Lise, doesn’t dance on points. Points, we know, weren’t invented yet at the 18th. Century.

(…) We know this ballet, one of the last from 18th. Century which still figures at the repertory, has the particularity of being created at Bordeaux, where Jacques Dauverbal and his wife were respectively maître de ballet and danseuse étoile during the Grand-Théâtre’s creation.

“La fille mal gardée” (program)

"La fille mal gardée" (cast)

On March 17th. 1986 (S.O.) Florence Mothe wrote:

(…) “La fille mal gardée” employments aren’t easy to ensure. Like on “The village’s deviner” all personages turn swiftly to a mini-serial. Amongst them all the Bufoon is the most frightful one. This role played before by André Mediavilla allowed us to discover a remarkable Fabrice Mineau. Mineau full of humor, audacity and clownery. (…) Wladimir Skouratoff imagined at the marriage scene to make M.Milon the notary dance. It’s the most amusing ministerial act ever made.

The coreograph with F.Mineau and F.Delorme (photo P.Delorme)


Fabrice Mineau and Sylviane Bayard (photo P.Delorme)


“La fille mal gardée”, the corps de ballet (photo P.Delorme)


Maryse Dumas (the mother) (photo P.Delorme)

On April 12th.1986 upon “Pierre et le loup”'s creation at the Entrepôt Lainé (S.O.):
(…) At the same program Wladimir Skouratoff gave a new version of “Pierre et le loup” by Prokofiev, costumes by Henri Delannoy, decors by Jean Gassian.

(…) This new conception of “Pierre et le loup” was entirely made to the superb decors of the Entrepôt Lainé.

“Pierre et le loup” (program)

On July 15th. 1986 an exceptional Gala was presented at Vichy, “La danse d’hier et d’aujourd’hui”, composed by the ballet “Passion” by Dumont, and the Divertissements from the third act of “La belle au bois dormant” by Tchaikowski. The dancers: Wilfride Piollet, Yannick Stéphant, Bernard Boucher, Cyril Atanasoff, Jean-Pierre Franchetti, Caroline Mouflette, Jean-Philippe Alonso, Fabrice Lemire.

Bordeaux's troupe at Vichy in 1986

On July 29th. 1986 “Casse-Noisette” at Vichy with Sylviane Bayard, Cyril Atanasoff and Bordeaux’s ballet company.

Bayard, Atanasoff and the corps de ballet of “Casse-Noisette” (photo F.Mineau)

On August 12th. 1986 at Vichy’s Théâtre Casino, “Giselle” by Adam, with Noëlla Pontois, Jean-Charles Gil, Pierre Lacour, Maryse Dumas, Christian Lemasson and Bordeaux’s troupe.

The operettes “Rose Marie” (Friml-Stohart) and “Ciboulette” (Hahn) are announced on October 4th. and November 22nd. 1986.


On October 25th. 1986 on Sud-Ouest:

With “Cendrillon” the Grand-Théâtre’s ballet company is going to reassume next week-end a production made five years ago. Wladimir Skouratoff admits a particular tenderness towards this three act ballet by Sergei Prokofiev whose lyricism and humor he loves. Is as a Ballets Russes’s heir the G.T.B.’s choreographer has mounted this “Cendrillon”.

The score is buffoon, almost burlesque. Prokofiev is amused at the pastiche: be it that from classic bal, where he imitates Tchaikowski; be it that on the personages design or of Prince Charmant when he goes towards Romeo. Accordingly to Skouratoff pastiche it’s indissoluble from Russian soul and much more from Prokofiev’s inspiration. He remembers he wrote the “Symphonie Classique” to gently mock Mozart and Haydn.

“Cendrillon” is inscribed at this same perspective, with a very particular appetite Russian have kept for fairytales. Wladimir Skouratoff is attached to define the personages even more precisely.

“Cendrillon” (program)

On October 27th. 1986 Florence Mothe on Sud-Ouest:

The heroine at Perrault’s tale decidedly inspires choreographs. Present at the Paris Opera’s stage, she was also on two wonderful spectacles on Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreography at the Grand-Théâtre. This version owed to Skouratoff comes from Moscow as that one by Prokofiev in 1945.

(…) The most remarkable thing on this Prokofiev’s ballet version it’s undoubtedly that it has something to say from every one of the troupe’s members.

(…) We couldn’t mention all those who, even composing very minor roles, give to Cendrillon this remarkable presence and this authenticity Jean Gassian decors and Henri Delannoy exquisite costumes make but emphasize.

Truly a fairytale, simply because it respects Perrault’s wonder, his hide-and-seek, his trompe l’oeil, his dream and above all this ballet’s classic conception that makes tu-tu a choreographic expression undoubtedly contemporary.

“Cendrillon's" final bow (photo H.Delannoy)


On March 2nd. 1987 Florence Mothe (S.O.):

Wladimir Skouratoff choose ten male and ten female dancers, a very lightly team for four ballets that will be created jointly with Jean-Marie Londeix’s Saxophone Instrumental Ensemble on March 5th. at Saint Médard-en-Jalles. (…) Londeix has found a new version from “L’Arlesienne” suite. Skouratoff profited it to present the “famous one” on stage. (…) The fact that “L’Arlesienne” has disappeared long time ago doesn’t trouble him at all, and through pas de trios, pas de quatre and pas de six mounted an academic ballet where Alphonse Daudet’s heroine recalls her loves, her adventures and her suffering. “For me”, explains Skouratoff, “she is between Giselle and La fille mal gardée”.

On March 6th. 1987 (S.O.) Catherine Débray wrote:

The four little ballets presented last night at the C.A.C. of Saint Médard by Bordeaux Grand-Théâtre’s company leave on your lips a little caramel taste. Not too sweet, pleasantly cracking.

To please his commensals with an irreproachable composition, Skouratoff mixed many ingredients wisely proportioned: lightness, seriousness, disarming sobriety, all spattered with a zest of well seasoned humor. What else to say but the maître de ballet and his dancers cultivate love for work well done, beating dust off with a slipper hit from a sometimes too heavy academism.

The opera “Les noces de Figaro” (Mozart) is announced on March 22nd. And 29th. 1987, mise-en-scène by Gerard Boireau, choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On March 26th. 1987 (S.O.) Florence Mothe on the Théâtre Femina’s Gala:

(…) Aquitania’s Young Ballet participates on the soirée with the Grand-Théâtre’s dancers and those from the Toulouse Capitol. The great Wladimir Skouratoff has arranged a “Pas de six” upon Verdi’s music. The Toulouse Capitol has inspired on the composer Astor Piazzola.


On April 3rd. 1987 (S.O.) Florence Mothe wrote:

Verone at a super production
Prokofiev’s version of the tragic idyl, on Wladimir Skouratoff’s sight, will be reprised next week-end at the Entrepôt Lainé.

(…) Verone lovers’ tragedy has inspired many choreographs. However it’s Prokofiev’s version, febrile and savage, which has prevailed on Wladimir Skouratoff’s eyes. A somehow fetiche version since it was at the Entrepôt Lainé baptism, where the choreograph reprises it now with a most happy feeling. One understands also he has attached himself to a precise resurrection, considering the place dictates itself the work’s mise-en-scène.

(…) According to Skouratoff, “Prokofiev renders it more vivid and more touching than the other musicians, even Berlioz and Tchaikowski. But on the condition that personages are true and credible.”

(…) this “Romeo et Juliette” represents a heavy production. Skouratoff hasn’t lessened on the figurants nor the fencers. The Lainé gallery is used for the duels and the balcony scene. From the roof descends the Christ symbolizing brother Laurent’s cell. Thanks to the 13 meters over 10’s plateau, Skouratoff has been able to treat the bal on a large scale. It’s even the spectacle’s most imposing scene, with its pompous Renaissance’s costumes, specially borrowed from the Paris Opera, whence this whole production comes. “On the score Prokofiev baptizes this sequence “Bal des chevaliers”. That means it must be treated with style, noblesse and grandiosity, as opposed to the scenes at very rude streets”, says Skouratoff.

“It is to be considered also tableaux chain one to another. It’s then a spectacle without an interval and its only décor will be the enlightened chamber the spectators will discover. They mustn’t be distracted by the irony sustaining the ballet.”

Wladimir Skouratoff explains “irony is always present in Prokofiev and he doesn’t hesitate on typing his personages through a musical instrument. Thus Mercutio and the nurse, represented by a bassoon and on which incarnation Maryse Dumas will find one of those character personages on which she excels.”

“Roméo et Juliette” (program) (photo V.Olivar)

Yannick Stéphant (Juliette) and Frédéric Olivieri (Roméo) at entrepôts Lainé (photos V.Olivar)

Romeo and Tybalt' duel (photo V.Olivar)

The corps de ballet (photo V.Olivar)

“Roméo et Juliette” rehearsal: Skouratoff, Stéphant, Olivieri and the corps de ballet (photos V.Olivar)

Yannick Stéphant (Juliette),Fredéric Olivieri (Roméo), Thierry Véziès (Tybalt),
Frédéric Fernandès (Mercutio) and the corps de baller (photos V.Olivar)

On April 6th. 1987 (S.O.) Florence Mothe wrote:

(…) The merit on Skouratoff’s version is to avoid verbosity. Efficacious, direct, the ballet responds to Prokofiev’s sometimes rude music, and bears sometimes the same quasi-military language.

Its best moments seems to me the double duels Romeo-Tybalt and Tybalt- Mercutio. (…) Conceived for the Entrepôt Lainé, the choreography suits entirely the Italianizing architecture. Skouratoff renounced, during the rehearsals, to the muscular intrusion of professional daredevils who would ruin the ensemble’s lyrical character by the crudity of their gestures.

The operettes “Mediterrané” by Francis Lopez was presented on Juin 6th. and “La fille du tambour major” by Jacques Offenbach on October 17th. 1987.

On November 6th. 1987 the opera “Nabucco” by Giuseppe Verdi was also presented at the G.T.B. with Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreography.

On December 5th. 1987 “Lac des cygnes” (Tchaikowski) was presented with the stars Isabelle Guérin and Laurent Hilaire:

“Lac des cygnes” 1987 (program)


The operettes announced for 1988’s first semester :
"Le pays du sourire" (Lehar) on January 8th.1988
"Les cloches de Corneville" (Planquette) on February 6th. 1988
"Les 28 jours de Clairette" (Roger) on March 18th.1988
"La belle de Cadiz" (Lopez) on Juin 4th.1988

On January 16th. 1988, Ballets Spectacle at the Salle Jacques Thibaud :

Spectacle Ballets 1988 (program)


On January 21st. 1988 in a Ballet spectacle at the Ermitage, with guest artists Noëlla Pontois and Cyril Atanasoff, two choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff were presented: “Dessins pour les six” (a creation upon fragments from Mozart’s 29th. symphony); and “La Valse” by Maurice Ravel, which was created by Skouratoff on 1987 at Bergerac for Ravel’s homage in Aquitaine.

Noëlla Pontois and Cyril Atanasoff (photo Sud-Ouest)

On February 20th. 1988 "Les creatures de Prométhée" (Beethoven) and "Songe d’une nuit d’été" (Mendelsohn) were presented at the G.T.B.

Spectacle de ballets (program 1)

Spectacle de ballets (program 2)

Florence Mothe (S.O.) wrote :

(…) Wladimir Skouratoff tells upon Beethoven’s music the mythological story about the hero that stole light from the Gods to love his Creatures. He gives them life but remains impotent to give them spirit. He needs to ask for Apollo’s help, but since the Creatures have choosen the human status, they discover death and inevitable ending.

Skouratoff has also made a choreography upon “A midsummer night's dream”, a great classic divertissement.

Patrick Giraudon in “Prométhée” (photo P.Delorme)

Les creatures de Prométhée (photo P.Delorme)

Th final bow after “Prométhée” (photo P.Delorme)

On May 19th. 1988, Florence Mothe (S.O.) upon the Third international classic dance concurs at Bordeaux:

(…) the stage will be closed on Saturday May 21st., with a Gala that will present a creation by Wladimir Skouratoff upon the “Suite de Carmen” by Bizet, with guests Florence Clerc and Charles Jude, both stars from the Paris Opera.

Florence Clerc and Charles Jude in “Giselle”


“La fille mal gardée” (program)

On November 26th. 1988 “La fille mal gardée” reprise at the G.T.B.:

(…) a charming master piece, “La fille mal gardée”, is reprised by Wladimir Skouratoff for the bicentennial and on two representations at the Grand-Théâtre, that it’s to say at the very same place of its creation in 1789.

(…) Skouratoff preferred also the light adaptation to the scrupulous historic reconstitution. The mid-points, the non remarked gestures, give it the stylistic touch from 18th. century. The choreography’s grace and lightness – particularly at the ensembles treatment – remark the company’s ability and coherence. The ribbons dance is a particularly happy moment.

(…) evading mime and demi-character, he makes live and evolve a little choreographic people, which triumphs around Maryse Dumas in the famous sabots dance.(…) Briefly, everything, including Fabrice Mineau’s charming clumsyness contribute this ballet to be a large bowl of fresh water.

On December 4th. 1988 Lehar’s operette “La veuve joyeuse” is presented at the Grand-Théâtre with a choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.


On January 19th. 1989 the Grand-Théâtre presented Wladimir Skouratoff’s choreographies upon Bizet’s “Symphonie en ut” and the “Divertissements” by Adam.

On February 17th. 1989 “La belle au bois dormant” reprisal:

“La belle au bois dormant” (program)

Over which Florence Mothe wrote on Sud-Ouest : « Wladimir Skouratoff’s art has been to unite on his choreography French lyrism to Ballet Russes’ ardor. He knew how to impose this double exigency to the Grand-Théâtre’s company…”

Pontois and Derevianko (photo P.Delorme)

Skouratoff at rehearsal (photo F.Mineau)

Noëlla Pontois (Aurore) (photo P.Delorme)

« La belle au bois dormant »’s personages on Henri Delannoy costumes:

Princesse Aurora

Prince Charmant

Princesse Florine

Cat on boots

Autumn's Fairy


The operas "Don Giovanni" by Mozart, “Don Quichotte” and “Manon” by Massenet were presented on March 3rd., April 7th. (at Lyon) and March 23rd. 1989 all three choreographies by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On March 17th. the Grand-Théâtre produced “Coups de Roulis” by Messager, choreography by W.Skouratoff.

On Juin 29th.1989 the Grand-Théâtre announces the revival of “La fille mal gardée” on July 1st. and 14th. for the Revolution’s bicentennial:

“La fille mal gardée” (program)

The operettes "Le chanteur de Mexico", "Trois valses" and "Les saltimbanques" are announced on October, November and December 1989.

On a double homage to Henri Sauguet and Serge Lifar on December 1989 at the Théâtre Femina Wladimir Skouratoff presented his reprises of “Les forains” and “Aubade” with Paris Opera’s stars Elisabeth Maurin and Manuel Legris.


At rehearsal at Biarritz (photo Atomic-Biarritz)

On April 6th. 1990, at Bouscat’s Ermitage-Compostelle a musical work by Claude Milon “Quand la vie parisienne mène la ronde” was presented, its final can-can choreography by Wladimir Skouratoff.

On April 7th. 1990, on Sud-Ouest:

Skouratoff’s florilegium
The Grand-Théâtre proposes a ballet spectacle in homage to Wladimir Skouratoff, by Dance’s great names.

(…) Noëlla Pontois, which elegance and grace we couldn’t praise enough, and swift Wladimir Derevianko will perform the Pas de deux from “La belle au bois dormant” by Tchaikowski and also that one from “Don Quichotte” by Minkus. It’s Tchaikowski’s score for “Roméo et Juliette” that inspired Wladimir Skouratoff, to reassume his master Serge Lifar’s choreography, which will be performed by Sophie Marquet and Philippe Anota.

(…) “La valse” by Ravel, a Haydn Symphony and “Waterfront” by Bernstein will testify the Grand-Théâtre Ballet Company’s multiple talents.

This spectacle, the last presented by Skouratoff, must be seen as a florilegium of his style, and as a natural homage to his creations.

On April 13th. 1990 Florence Mothe (S.O.):

Volodia’s last waltz
To the public, he was Skouratoff. To his friends, he remained Volodia.
Wladimir Skouratoff presented at the Grand-Théâtre his last spectacle composed by a ballet bouquet replacing “La belle au bois dormant” initially previewed and which the choreograph wanted to perform with a full effective Company. However, six ballerines being ill, it’s a florilegium form this kind of farewell has taken.

Bordeaux probably has never understood who Wladimir Skouratoff was. Launched by Serge Lifar on 1946 in Monte-Carlo, he was the official partenaire to Renée Jeanmaire, who wasn’t still baptized “Zizi”. On 1952 he joined the marquis de Cuevas’ Company on which he created “Piège de lumière” among others.

After incarnating the romantic cavalier’s perfect example he established at Bordeaux, his family being his mother – who remained fabulously Russian – and his ballet company.

From Lifar he inherited many choreographies. He jealously kept the master’s tradition without ever forgetting ballet passes this way from generation on generation and that you don’t ever learn to dance on books.

Lifar taught him dance can be a mystic and a men affair, not a divertissement for fastidious children.

On Saturday, Volodia has offered somehow his imaginery ballet. He showed on “Symphonie” his troupe’s technique rigor he transmits now to Paolo Bortoluzzi. (To make an international company obtaining more dancers and rehearsal technicians.) He rendered himself to gaiety programming Slave Dances very beautifully embroidered upon Dvorak and to a nostalgic moment mounting “Romeo et Juliette”.

“It’s regretful I haven’t been able to rehearse largely with Sophie Marquet and Philippe Anota, for I could have showed them Lifar’s version at its leatest detail”, explains Skouratoff.
(*) at the same spectacle Noëlla Pontois and Wladimir Derevianko, “coming as friends to homage Volodia”, danced the pas de deux from “Raymonda”.

On August 9th. 1990 it was announced at the Lac de la Magdeleine in Gujan-Mestras the opera “Faust” by Gounod. “Faust” ballet will be danced by Wladimir Skouratoff’s company, he has trained with his local dancers troupe and with Philippe Anota and Sophie Marquet from Stuttgart’s Opera.

At Mérignac Conservatory

On December 3rd. 1990 on Sud-Ouest:

“A class to the stage’s preparation” at the Merignac Conservatory”

(…) Twice at month, maître de ballet Wladimir Skouratoff transmits his knowledge, his ideas, preparing his students on a “cultural baggage” for the stage.

(…) We find also classic dance is at a researching period, as to artistic influences. “Public expects today from ballet anything wherever it is”, explains Skouratoff.

(…) A French of a Russian origin, Wladimir Skouratoff comes from legendary fresco representing dance’s golden age. He was between the greatest and has been Janine Charrat, Zizi Jeanmaire, Ludmilla Tcherina, Yvette Chauviré’ partenaire. He began piano studios and was a musician before becoming a dancer. He learned dance isn’t just a technique affaire but needs also a great culture.

On 1947 Serge Lifar engaged him at Monte-Carlo to prestigious ballets. Then comes London before in 1950 becoming a member of the Ballets de Paris by Roland Petit. On this same year he was invited to the Scala de Milan, to Florence’s Musical May and to Venice’s Fenice.

In 1952 he joins the marquis de Cuevas, making tournées during 8 years at the greatest theaters in the world.

Ever since 1962 he began his career as maître de ballet at Geneva’s Grand-Théâtre. On 1966 he’s at Strasbourg and after 1970 at Bordeaux.

A high level experience for the students of Merignac’s Municipal Conservatory – young girls certainly, but also a number of boys that is still a very restrained one.

At a rehearsal of “Roméo et Juliette” (photo P.Delorme)

Thus, Skouratoff’s magnificent period as a choreograph and maître de ballet during 20 years, came to an end.

To paraphrase Florence Mothe on her article on April 13th. 1990, “Bordeaux probably has never understood who Wladimir Skouratoff was”. This words’s wisdom avoid us to make any further commentary on this matter, which is neither our purpose on these pages.

We want to thank once more the invaluable collaboration from Monique Simonoff, Evelyne Mangeard, Fabienne Delorme, Fabrice Mineau, Patrice Delorme, Christèle Leconte and Henri Delannoy for the extraordinary graphic and written material sent to us, and above all for their devotion to Wladimir Skouratoff’s memory, which we also share.

Amalia Contursi