The Mikhail Berkut Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains commercially produced recordings and publications associated with Mikhail Berkut's research on Historical and Character Dance, and related publicity materials. These include video and audio tapes of demonstrations of the syllabus, dance compositions and accompanying music, all devised by Berkut, entitled Character Dance (1985), Historical Dance: from XI to XIX centuries (1995). Also a series of video tapes containing recordings of ballets choreographed by Berkut including Fairy Doll, Prince Igor and Character Dance Programme, performed by the Kalinka Dance Company (1985). The collection includes a copy of the book, Origin of Mime and Dance: Motion Anthropology by J. Antonio (illustrator), M. Berkut (dancer) and A. Winstone (actor) (2007, Poseidon Books); also copies of the textbook Character Dance: Music for Classes – Barre and Centre Exercises (1986); and promotional leaflets for Origin of Mime and Dance and Character Dance.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mikhail Berkut (b. circa 1935) is a dance teacher, choreographer, stage-producer, author, and musician. He was trained at the Moscow Theatre Institute. He became Ballet Director of Dushambay Opera House, and went on to teach for five years at the Kirov Academy, at the Leningrad Dance Institute and the Moscow Institute. In 1975 he emigrated to Canada, where he founded ‘Les Ballets de Montréal’ and created the Character Dance Company ‘Kalinka’. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1983, and began to teach in England and on the European continent, including at the Schools of the Paris Opera, La Scala, Milan and the National Dance Academy in Rome. He taught his own complete four-year syllabus to students of the Legat Ballet School, Central School of Ballet and The Royal Ballet School (under Dame Merle Park, its Director from 1983-99). Berkut retired from teaching in the early 1990s. He researched both Historical and Character Dance over many years and in many countries, creating his own stage repertoire and study resources based on his broad investigations, and his work as a teacher.

Access Information

This collection is open for consultation and can be viewed by appointment only. Please contact White Lodge Museum via our website at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge Museum

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mikhail Berkut, 24 June 2013