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How to make yourself a work of art

She became a vivid example of how you can make a work of art out of yourself. And to give your masterpiece a name – by the right of the artist and creator. After all, this woman with the original Russian name Lyudmila had a rather distant relationship with Russia, and she was not the first eighteen years of her life.

French beauty with Circassian roots

Monique Chemerzin was born in Paris in the family of the Frenchwoman Stefan Finett and the Circassian prince Avenir Chemerzin, who emigrated from Russia after the revolution. Monique’s father was an outstanding man. An engineer, inventor, mathematician, while still a colonel in the tsarist army, he came up with lighting rockets and a prototype of body armor – the “shell”, which has been used by the St. Petersburg police since 1906. Once in France, far from his homeland, Chemerzin did not lose heart, continuing to engage in interesting business for him, in particular, created a catalog of medieval French poetry, which he was also passionate about.

Monique was born on October 10, 1924, “surrounded by muses,” as they will write about it later. In fact, the girl simply took over the lively interest of her parents in art and grew up in an atmosphere of love and creativity. She started dancing early, at the age of three, and already at the age of ten she performed the part of the elf in the ballet Midsummer Night’s Dream. The girl showed excellent success – including thanks to the brilliant masters who taught her dance. One of the first lessons Monik was given by Olga Preobrazhenskaya, who once competed with Matilda Kshesinskaya herself. Then the young ballerina studied at the dance school at the Paris Opera.

At fifteen, Monique danced on the stage of Saint-Saëns’ Dying Swan. But the war came – and after the occupation of Paris by German troops, the Chemerzin family moved south to Monte Carlo.
After the death of the great Sergey Diaghilev in 1929, his ballet troupe broke up; in France, new ones appeared one after another. In one of them – “Russian Ballet in Monte Carlo” and Monique danced when she was noticed by ballet dancer and choreographer Serge Lifar. Soon they were already performing together – in the ballet “Romeo and Juliet”, only the poster already had the name Lyudmila Cherina – such a stage name for the partner Lifar came up with. In those days, thanks to the outstanding success of Russian ballerinas, it was common practice to perform under a Russian name – this gave the dance career a certain advance, and it was simply fashionable.

Cherina performed the main parts in ballets once staged by the Diaghilev troupe – roles in which Anna Pavlova and Tamara Karsavina shone before her.

The spectators, choreographers, and stage partners fell into the power of Cherina’s charm and extraordinary skill of the dancer. For one of them – Edmon Odran – Lyudmila-Monique married, she was then nineteen years old. The marriage was successful, filled not only with love, but also with a general enthusiasm for a favorite thing – ballet. But in 1951 there was a misfortune that broke Lyudmila’s heart – her husband died in a car accident near Lyon.
She left the ballet – to continue dancing without her beloved husband was unbearable. But Cherina could not waste her time, her talent, her ability to feel and create the beautiful: she began to draw. The main character of her works – months, then years – was Edmond.

Then, in the early fifties, Cherina turned to the cinema: she even went to London to tighten her English and then accepted a job offer in Hollywood. Then films follow one after another, where Cherina’s beauty and dramatic talent are revealed from a new perspective: “Tales of Hoffmann”, “A Lady with Camellias”, “Anna Karenina”. At the same time, she is credited with novels with Hollywood celebrities – however, rumors remain rumors. Three years after the death of her first husband, Lyudmila got married a second time – to Raymond Roy. Apparently, it was he who convinced Cherina to return to the stage as a ballerina. Cherina started dancing again, and in 1959 she even created her own troupe – Lyudmila Cherina’s Ballet. She made costumes and sets for performances according to her own sketches. With her second husband, Lyudmila lived and worked for more than thirty years – until the death of Raymond in 1987.

She was one of the first foreign celebrities to visit the USSR, in the same 1959 Cherina danced Giselle at the Bolshoi Theater. Lyudmila went on stage for a long time, and when it came time to complete her ballerina’s career, she switched to other forms of art.
Cherina wrote several books, and also became interested in sculpture, and also continued to act in films. It would seem that this is the classic way of life of a bored star, whose time has passed, and it remains only to enjoy the fruits of its success. But in an amazing way, Lyudmila Cherina has everything that she undertook.

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