Discovery begins by finding the discoverer

Kira BousloffI am fascinated by everything related to ballet and a reference on internet to a Russian ballerina, who stayed in Australia, is no exception. My investigation about Australian ballet reveals that there were few Russian ballerinas and dancers, who significantly contributed to the Australian ballet over the last century.

Between 1936 and 1940 three Ballets Russes (formed after the death of Serge Diaghilev in 1929) visited Australia in tours orchestrated by the entrepreneur Colonel Wassily de Basil – (Colonel W. de Basil’s) Monte Carlo Russian Ballet in 1936-1937, Covent Garden Russian Ballet in 1938-1939 and Original Ballet Russe in 1939-1940.

The impact on Australian ballet resulted in a number of dancers, who stayed in Australia.  They were Edouard Borovansky, who later founded Borovansky Ballet, Helene Kirsova, who founded the Kirsova Ballet, Kira and Serge Bousloff, who founded the West Australian Ballet, Tamara Tchinarova.

My attention is drawn to Kira Bousloff, since her maiden name is Abrikosova. The first question I have -was she from the famous clan of Abrikosov in Moscow? My research on various Australian websites proves that I am right.  She was “the thirteenth child of Anna and Alexei Abricossoff, fine confectionary manufacturers”.

I want to learn more. Now I type in Russian “genealogy of Abrikosov” and without any further complications I am directed to the website on genealogical research of this family.  It is rare (more like, not popular) but it does happen, when someone in Russia creates a family genealogy website.  The family is big.  I can see the necessity to recreate the family tree and find all living descendants, who can be living today anywhere around the globe. To be found, you have to make yourself visible – create a website or post a message on a forum (Russian preferably).

 “Discovery begins by finding the discoverer”, by George Iles, from chapter ‘Jottings from a Note-book’, in Canadian Stories (1918)

I am starting to read and there is a lot to read.  This was an extraordinary family.

The founder of the clan – Aleksey Ivanovich Abrikosov (1824 – 1904) was a Commercial Counselor, hereditary honorary citizen (read here on how to research), member of many societies and committees including Moscow Merchant Society and a member of Moscow City Duma.  He was a founder of the Moscow Bank (MUB), Moscow Merchants Mutual Credit Society, Insurance company “Anchor” and the owner of many beet-sugar producing factories in the south of Russia. In addition to above positions he was a State Councillor and a recipient of many imperial state orders.

The most important achievement of Aleksey Ivanovich, for which he was well-known in pre-revolutionary Russia as “King of chocolate”, was the production of chocolate.  In the second half of the XIX century he founded the chocolate factory “Partnership of A. I. Abrikosov &Sons”, which became a Supplier to the Imperial Household in 1899.

And Kira Bousloff was his granddaughter.

Aleksey Ivanovich (the grandfather) and his wife Agrippina had 22 children together -10 boys and 12 girls, 17 kids lived a very long life, which was very unusual in Imperial Russia back then. Those interested to find out Agrippina’s “pregnancy” years will be surprised to learn that she gave birth to her first child at 18 and her last one was at 46 years of age, 22 kids in 28 years.

I started to read the family history on the website (which you can do easily by right-clicking “translate to English” on each page, when using Google Chrome) and learn the life story of each Abrikosov child.  Some kids with families stayed in Russia, some migrated after the Revolution. The fortunes of the family were lost during the Soviet times and the family disconnected, but as Aleksey Ivanovich Abrikosov said,

“Our riches were not our factories, but our education”.

The most interesting part for me was the collection of photographs posted on this site.  Each person’s name (where researched) is accompanied with the photograph and short life story.  I learned that one son was married to daughter of Petr Arsenyevich Smirnoff (producer of Smirnoff vodka, I wrote about him previously), one person was married to two Abrikosov’s sisters (married after one sister died) and there are many Abrikosov descendants leaving today in Australia. Apparently Kira was not the only one from Abrikosov clan, who migrated to Australia.

Kira’s father Aleksey (1856-1931), was 7th child of Aleksey Ivanovich and his wife Agrippina. He was educated in Dresden and together with his brother Nicolai was a director of a sugar factory in Crimea. Aleksey (father of Kira) was married to Nadezda Khludova, with whom he had 4 kids.  After the divorce in 1900 his common-law wife was Anna Alexandrovna Dokudovskaya, with whom he had 6 children and Kira was the youngest.

More descendants, who live in Australia today, were from 13th child, daughter Agrippina (1864 – about 1942).

If you are interested to learn more about Kira’s dancing achievement, read

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