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Maya Plisetskaya : biography

November 20, 1925 -

Maya Mikhaylovna Plisetskaya (), born is a Russian ballet dancer, frequently cited as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Plisetskaya danced during the Soviet era at the same time as the great Galina Ulanova, and took over from her as prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi in 1960.

Awards and honors

Maya Plisetskaya has been honored on numerous occasions for her skills:

  • First prize, Budapest International Competition (1949)
  • Anna Pavlova Prize, Paris Academy of Dance (1962)
  • Lenin Prize (1964)
  • Hero of Socialist Labour (1985)
  • Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (France, 1986)
  • Triumph Prize, 2000.
  • Praemium Imperiale (Japan, 2006)
  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland;
    • 1st class (20 November 2005) - for outstanding contribution to the development of domestic and international choreographic art, many years of creative activity
    • 2nd class (18 November 2000) - for outstanding contribution to the development of choreographic art
    • 3rd class (21 November 1995) - for outstanding contributions to national culture and a significant contribution to contemporary choreographic art
    • 4th class (9 November 2010) - for outstanding contribution to the development of national culture and choreography, many years of creative activity
  • Three Orders of Lenin (1967, 1976, 1985)
  • Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1951)
  • People's Artist of RSFSR (1956)
  • People's Artist of USSR (1959)
  • Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France, 1984)
  • Great Commander's Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania (2003)
  • Commander of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain)
  • Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas
  • Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd class (Japan, 2011)
  • Premium "Russian National Olympus" (2000)
  • Prince of Asturias Award (2005, Spain)

Career

From the beginning, Maya Plisetskaya was a different kind of ballerina. She spent very short time in the corps de ballet after graduation and was quickly named a soloist. Her bright red hair and striking looks made her a glamorous figure on and off the stage. Her long arms had a fluidity that to this day remains unmatched; her interpretation of The Dying Swan, a short showcase piece made famous by Anna Pavlova, became her calling card. Plisetskaya was known for the height of her jumps, her extremely flexible back, the technical strength of her dancing, and her charisma. She excelled both in adagio and allegro, which is very unusual in dancers.

Despite her acclaim, she was not treated well by the Bolshoi management. She was Jewish in an climate of Soviet anti-Zionist campaigns, her family had been purged during the Stalinist era and her personality was defiant, so she was not allowed to tour outside the country for six years after joining the Bolshoi. It was not until 1959 that Nikita Khrushchev permitted her to travel abroad. Her ability changed the world of ballet, setting a higher standard for ballerinas both in terms of technical brilliance and dramatic presence.

Plisetskaya's most acclaimed roles included Odette-Odile in Swan Lake (1947) and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (1961). In 1958, she was honoured with the title of the People's Artist of the USSR and married the young composer Rodion Shchedrin, in whose subsequent fame she shared.

After Galina Ulanova left the stage in 1960, Maya Plisetskaya was proclaimed the prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi Theatre. In the Soviet screen version of Anna Karenina, she played Princess Tverskaya. In 1971, her husband Shchedrin wrote a ballet on the same subject, where she would play the leading role. Anna Karenina was also her first attempt at choreography. Other choreographers who created ballets for her include Yury Grigorovich, Roland Petit, Alberto Alonso, and Maurice Béjart with "Isadora".

Living octopus

Living octopus

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