Socrates Ivan Birsky-Okuntsoff

Jan 24, 1931 – Jan 21, 2021

Lt Socrates Ivan Birsky-Okunstoff, SN, was born in Arcadia, FL, son of Ivan Kuzmich Okuntsoff of Siberia and Nadejda Birsky-Okuntsoff of Poland. He was educated in New York City at the Music Settlement School and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. Socrated started playing the violin and the piano at the age of 3. He first played for an audience of over 200 at the age of 3. By the time he was 8 he had started dance lessons. He became a student at the Fokine Ballet Studio in Carnegie Hall. Classical Ballet and Russian Ballet became his life and in 1948 he left home to tour in South America and Cuba. In 1951 Socrates was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC as the leader in the Corps-de-ballet. He also was under contract with the CBS TV Network for the “USA Canteen Show” and Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town”. After an injury that ended his dance career he opened his own dance school in NYC. He was fluent in 4 languages and eventually retired to Sarasota, FL. -Barbara C Wolfe

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