Ida's Early Life & Salomé 1908
1885-1908; Lydiia Lvovna Rubinstein is raised among the extraordinarily wealthy Russian aristocracy in St. Petersburg by relatives of her deceased parents, Lvov and Ernestine. She always uses the name Ida. Lofty social connections protect this particular Jewish family from the deadly anti-semitism of the Tsarist Empire.
After an inspirational trip to Greece, she arranges a meeting with theatrical designer and artist
Lev Rosenberg (Léon Baskt) who helps her stage a shortened version of Antigone before a private audience, which coincidentally includes Serge Diaghilev, who later founds the Ballet Russes.
She and Baskt become lifelong friends.
Ida Rubinstein meets Mikhail Fokine and literally follows the choreographer to Switzerland, where he's on holiday with his wife and family, to work with him on the legendary Dance of the Seven Veils.

On a subsequent trip to France, she is institutionalized by the husband of her sister Irene Lewinsohn, in order to stop her from arranging a public theatrical performance for herself in Paris. After she returns to her family in Russia, she legally marries her cousin Vladmir Horwitz, gaining control of her inheritance and social independence.

Léon Baskt's design of Ida as Salomé
Jpeg by M. Evans from scan of P.D. image

Ida Rubinstein as Salomé
Jpeg by M. Evans from scan of P.D. image*

Translated into Russian from the verse drama by Oscar Wilde
Music by Alexander Gazunov, Director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory
Choreography by Mikhail Fokine
Costumes and Production designed by Léon Baskt

Ida presented her second private production in St. Petersburg after her wedding, and an intervening journey to Syria without her new husband. Vicki Woolf claims that her performance was fordidden by censors after the dress rehearsal. Michael de Cossart states that it went on anyway. Toni Bentley agrees, and gives a detailed account of the performance and it's context.

* Both Michael de Cossart and Toni Bentley say this is an image of 'Cleopatra' -- I respectfully disagree. The design for 'Salome' by Baskt at the left is too similar to the costume on the right -- besides Ida's hair is not dark enough to be the blue-black color described for Baskt's 'Cleopatra.' (See next page.)

View Ida in 1909