Ekaterina Geltser (Geltzer) was born in Moscow in 1876. The daughter of Vasily Geltser, a mime artist and ballet master at the Bolshoi Ballet. She studied at the Bolshoi School from 1884 and joined the Bolshoi Ballet in 1894. In 1896 she went to St Petersburg and studied with Christian Johansson and Marius Petipa. She danced with the Mariinsky Ballet from 1896-98. After returning to the Bolshoi she was promoted to first ballerina in 1901. She had a magnetic stage personality especially suited for dramatic roles. Her roles include Esmeralda (Esmeralda), Odette-Odile (Swan Lake), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Swanilda (Coppelia)and Raymonda (Raymonda). She created the title role in Gorsky's Salammbó in 1910 and Tao-Hoa in The Red Poppy in 1927.
She appeared in the second season of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Paris, 1910, dancing Sylphides. Toured the USA 1910-11 with Mikhail Mordkin and London 1911 with her husband Vasily Tikhomirov. She retired in 1935.
People's Artist of the USSR 1925