Damn Giselle. How the famous ballerina Olga Spesivtseva ended up in a psychiatric hospital24.08.2022
Spesivtseva was called a genius, compared to Anna Pavlova, her numerous novels were discussed, suspected of espionage and connections with the Bolsheviks, and simply idolized, and then she was locked up in a psychiatric hospital in the United States for two decades.
Olga was born in Rostov-on-Don in July 1895 in the family of a provincial theater actor. When the baby was six years old, her father died of tuberculosis. The girl’s mother, Ustinya Markovna, unable to feed five children, was forced to send the three older children to an orphanage at the House of Stage Veterans. Olga was one of them. Later, the chairman of the Russian Theater Society, Maria Savina, helped get Olga into the Imperial Theater School.
Spesivtseva did not miss her chance. She studied in the ballet class of Claudia Mikhailovna Kulichevskaya and already at the graduation performance showed herself to be a talented classical ballerina. In 1913 she graduated from college – and was immediately accepted into the Mariinsky Theater.
In the first year of service, Olga met the literary and ballet critic Akim Volynsky, who later became her common-law husband. The art historian first saw the girl on stage – and immediately fell in love with her. Akim had a great influence on Spesivtseva. When ballet dancer and choreographer Mikhail Fokin invited Olga to work with him in America, she refused, because Volynsky was an adherent of classical ballet and opposed innovations and reforms.