A Russian choreographer, one of the major figures in ballet. He was Serge Diaghilev's chief choreographer from 1909, and created The Firebird in 1910 and Petrushka in 1911 to music of Stravinsky, as well as Daphnis and Chloe, Les Sylphides, Scheherazade, Spectre de la Rose, Chopiniana, and Bluebeard, as well as Anna Pavlova's Dying Swan piece and the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor.

He was born in St Petersburg in 1880, his Russian name being Mikhail Mikhailovich Fokin. A great dancer, he became first soloist at the Maryinsky Theatre in 1904.

Fokine left Russia after the Revolution and settled in America in 1923, becoming naturalized nine years later; he died in New York in 1942.