Born in St Petersburg, Russia, to an artistic family: father worked as an attendant at the Alexandrinsky Theatre and four siblings became ballet dancers.
Joins the Imperial Ballet School.
After graduating, leaves Russia for good and joins Diaghilev’s Ballet company tour around Western Europe.
In July goes to the US and performs as a dancer, cabaret artist, mode, vaudeville performer and dramatic actress: “I do not wish to go back to Russia…I want to live in New York always”
Joins Diaghilev and tour with them around the US for two years.
Although engaged to journalist Heywood Brown, Lydia becomes attached to Diaghilev’s Ballet manager Rodolfo Barocchi and marries him in March.
Meets painter Pablo Picasso who would become a close friend.
Reaches London for the first time with Diaghilev, now known as Ballets Russes (Russian Ballet).
On 10 October meets Keynes for the first time at a party after the performance of Scheherazade
Marriage with Barocchi breaks up. On July 10 she leaves him a note: “It is very hard for me to continue the life I led lately…”
After a few years out of the limelight, she appears in New York at the musical play The Rose Girl
. However, she leaves it before the end of the season to join Diaghilev again in London.
At the performances of Sleeping Princess
, Keynes was there almost night after night. The romance gets more serious.
Meets Keynes’s mother for the first time: “Your mother is a nice woman. You have her eyes and searching mind. I like to look at her.”
On 15 January, is awarded a decree nisi of nullity of her marriage to Barocchi. She marries Keynes in August.
Features in Dark Red Roses
, a British film directed by Sinclair Hill which includes a sequence of the Ballets Russes choreographed by George Balanchine.
Dances her last ballet role, as Swanilda in Coppélia
, for the new Vic-Wells Ballet.
Acts in The Master Builder
, first play of the newly established Cambridge Arts Theatre.
Spends most of her time and energy caring for Keynes as he begins suffering a series of heart attacks: “When Maynard is well I am well. When he is ill, I am ill.”
Plays the Woman Narrator at War and Peace
. This was her last appearance in a dramatic production.
Keynes dies: “it will take me ten years to recover from it”. And it did. She largely disappeared from public view and lived in their country home in Tilton.
Moves to a nursing home: “Every day a little bit of me flies away, like a bird.”