Born in Elsinore, Denmark, as Paul Pedersen,
Paul Petroff studied dance in Copenhagen
with Katja Lindhardt before joining the
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo during its
early seasons. With the Ballets Russes
he danced in the original cast of
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme,
Francesca da Rimini (Paolo),
Le Coq d'or,
Les Dieux mendiants and
Paganini (a Florentine Youth).
Petroff came to Australia as a leading
dancer with the Covent Garden Russian
Ballet on their tour of 1938 to 1939.
He was a frequent partner of Irina Baronova
and Tatiana Riabouchinska during this
tour. He returned again for the 1939
to 1940 tour by the Original Ballet Russe
when he partnered Tamara Toumanova on
many occasions, including in
Le Spectre de la rose and
Don Quixote pas de deux.
During this tour he also danced in the
Sylphide and the Scotsman divertissement,
partnering Natasha Sobinova, at the world
premiere of David Lichine's
Graduation Ball in Sydney
After his Australian interlude, Petroff
danced with Ballet Theatre, Ballet for
America and the International Ballet.
In 1942 he married the American dancer
Nana Gollner, who danced under the name
Nina Golovina. In 1948 he established
a company with Gollner and toured Europe
and South America. Petroff and Gollner
taught together in California before
moving to Belgium where they established
a dance school in Antwerp and where Petroff
died in 1981.
Footage of Petroff dancing on an Australian
beach, filmed by Ewan Murray-Will, is
available online at the
Ewan: Ballet Russes in Australia: Home
Movie Clip 2: Dancing on the beach'