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Tatiana Bechenova

Identifier: BRSCA-TB-063
The Tatiana Bechenova Collection contains materials from her time with the Original Ballet Russe company. She travelled with the company from 1939 to 1947. This period in the company included the final trip to Australia and New Zealand, the company's only time in Cuba, and the extended sojourn throughout South and Central America, including an extended stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The collection contains the largest and most complete set of performance programs from the Original Ballet Russe's years through Central and South America, including performers not listed in the general company records. The collection also includes a wide variety of snapshots from the various countries visited by Bechenova and the company as well as performance and backstage photos.


  • Majority of material found within undated

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The Collections are available to researchers by appointment. Please email

Conditions Governing Use

The Ballets Russes Special Collections and Archive holds the physical rights only to most materials. Researchers must secure written permission from the Archive to publish archival material. Researchers assume all responsibility for conforming to copyright laws and for correctly citing the source of the archival material.


11 Linear Feet


Tatiana Bechenova, a Bulgarian and American dancer, was a member of de Basil's Original Ballet Russe from 1939-1947. Her collection contains important historical records concerning the company's years in Central and South America. Her collection consists primarily of programs, travel documents, scrapbooks, and photographs.

Biographical / Historical

Tatiana Bechenova (c.1925-2012) was born in Sophia, Bulgaria, daughter of Paulina Belka of Odessa and George Bechenoff of Siberia. She was raised in Paris and joined de Basil’s Original Ballet Russe at the age of fourteen. Bechenova performed as a soloist from 1939 to 1947, traveling with the company around the world, including a tour in Australia and a longer sojourn throughout Central and South America. After leaving Original Ballet Russe, she was a principal dancer for Agnes de Mille in the Broadway production of Carousel. Following her marriage to Thomas O’Rourke, the couple moved to Dubuque, Iowa. She taught ballet at Clarke College and opened the Academy of Ballet in 1958. Bechenova founded the Dubuque City Youth Ballet in 1969 and, with her daughter Marina, established the Heartland Ballet in 1983.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Jessie Hopper, Sierra Codalata and Michelle Merriman, spring 2013.
Tatiana Bechenova Collection
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Repository Details

Part of the Ballets Russes Special Collections and Archive Repository


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