On 24th January 1937, Nicolai Legat passed away in a quiet backwater of Kensington. He occupied a fine house with a spacious studio at 46 Colet Gardens. Today, Colet Gardens is no longer quiet since it became one of the main motorways leading to the west. There is a blue plaque in his memory. His name means very little in the present thriving world of ballet, but in his day, he had his moment of glory, and in the annals of ballet history his fame is recorded.

Legat's ancestry of German and Swedish stock had always been associated with fairgrounds and theatres. They proved themselves very clever as designers and machinists of magical effects, which eventually brought them to Russia.
Nicolai’s parents were both dancers and father Gustave taught in the Bolshoi school. Nicolai has recorded some lively accounts of his childhood in old Moscow, but when the family moved to St. Petersburg, life became harder. From the family of seven children, four were sent to the Imperial Theatre School, to learn ballet.

Nicolai and his brother Sergei, who were inseparable, became pupils of the great master, Chistian Johansson, a Swedish Professor who had a hand in creating a remarkable line of dancers which included Pavlova, Karsavina and Nijinsky.

The Legat brothers were stocky fellows with powerful physiques; they had a great zest for life, revelled in feats of physical strength, and quickly established themselves as leading dancers. Together, they also developed a remarkable gift for caricature, and their album of ballerinas and dancers of the Imperial Ballet became much prized. Today it is very rare.

In the prime of life, the brothers scored a striking success with their first choreographic work, the ballet Fairy Doll. They worked together in perfect harmony until a tragic circumstance severed their lives. In the political uprising in St. Petersburg in 1905 the Imperial Ballet went on strike, and for the first time, Nicolai and Sergei found themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. After a drinking bout, Sergei committed suicide.