Miguel Terekhov; dancer built U. of Oklahoma school

University of Oklahoma
When Mr. Terekhov arrived, the school had only one dance course for physical education.

NEW YORK - Miguel Terekhov, a dancer with the two leading Ballets Russes troupes of the 1940s and ’50s and a cofounder, with his wife, of the School of Dance at the University of Oklahoma, one of America’s leading university dance programs, died Jan. 3 at the home of a daughter in Richardson, Texas. He was 83 and lived in Oklahoma City.

The cause was complications of fibrosis of the lungs, said Camille Hardy, associate professor in the School of Dance.

When Mr. Terekhov arrived at the university in 1963, it had only one dance course, a modern-dance class taught in the department of physical education. At his retirement in 1991, the School of Dance offered a wide range of courses in ballet, modern, and other dance forms.


Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, to Mikhail Terekhov, an emigrant from Ukraine, and Antonia Rodriguez, a Charraua Indian, Mr. Terekhov became enamored of ballet at 7 when an aunt took him to a performance. He soon entered ballet school.

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But when he told his parents that he wished to become a professional dancer, his father objected, arguing that a dancer’s life was one of constant hardship. He grew so vehement that Miguel asked how he could know anything about a dancer’s life. His father pulled out old scrapbooks and, for the first time, Mr. Terekhov learned that his father had been a dancer in Ukraine.

Mr. Terekhov danced with Colonel W. de Basil’s Ballets Russes from 1942 to 1947, and with the rival Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1954 to 1958.

While with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, he met and married Yvonne Chouteau, one of the five “American Indian ballerinas’’ of Oklahoma.

When the couple visited Chouteau’s parents in Oklahoma City in 1961, her father, C.E. Chouteau, a prominent Indian figure in the state, declared that the university should offer ballet, as well as modern dance.


He persuaded university officials to allow Chouteau and Mr. Terekhov to teach ballet there, and the University of Oklahoma School of Dance was born.