Irina Nijinska, who made a career of preserving the ballets designed by her mother, Bronislava Nijinska, has died. She was 77.
Miss Nijinska, of Pacific Palisades, died Tuesday at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in Inglewood of cardiac arrest, according to her husband, Gibbs S. Raetz.
Believing that her mother was one of history’s greatest choreographers, she created revivals around the world of the elder Madame Nijinska’s ballets, which were first popularized in the 1920s. The younger Miss Nijinska worked with such diverse companies as the Joffrey Ballet of New York and Los Angeles, the Oakland Ballet, the Dance Theater of Harlem, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, the National Ballet of Holland and the Tulsa Ballet Theater.
Her most frequent revivals were her mother’s 1923 “Les Noces,” about a peasant wedding and 1924 “Les Biches,” a satire on the French Riviera.
Born in St. Petersburg on Oct. 20, 1913, Miss Nijinska was trained by her mother in Paris and made her dance debut in 1930 with the Olga Spessivtzeva Ballet. She was from a distinguished ballet family, which included her father, Alexander Kotchetovsky, and her uncle, the legendary dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky.
Miss Nijinska turned to teaching after a 1936 automobile accident cut short her dancing career. First working as her mother’s rehearsal assistant, she taught from 1941 to 1950 in the ballet school her mother founded in Hollywood.
Married in 1946, Miss Nijinska devoted the next two decades to her family. After her mother’s death in 1972, she began reviving her mother’s work around the world.
In addition to her husband, Miss Nijinska is survived by a daughter, Natalie Raetz of Long Beach, and a son, George Raetz of Denver.