Vera Karalli was born in Moscow in 1889. She graduated from the Moscow Theatre School in 1906 (class of Gorsky). Her strength was more of dramatic talent and stage presence than classical technique. With the Bolshoi Theatre she was promoted to soloist after two years and to ballerina in 1915. She danced with Diaghilev's company in 1909, as well as in 1919 and 1920. Vera Karalli was Gorsky's favourite ballerina and danced all his classical stagings, frequently with Mordkin as her partner. Her oriental beauty and plastic expressiveness brought her widespread fame. She also became one of Russia's first film stars. She danced and taught in Kaunas, Lithuania, in the 1920's. Between 1930 and 1935 she was ballet mistress of the Romanian Opera in Bucharest. Had her own studio in Paris 1938-41, then taught in Vienna.