Maya Plisetskaya life and biography

Maya Plisetskaya picture, image, poster

Maya Plisetskaya biography

Date of birth : 1925-11-20
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Moscow, Russia
Nationality : Russian
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-10-29
Credited as : ballet dancer, Galina Ulanova, Bolshoi Theater

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Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya a native from Moscow, Russia become a famous ballet dancer, and is frequently cited as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Maya danced during the Soviet era at the same time as the great Galina Ulanova, and took over from her as principal of the Bolshoi in 1960. Maya Plisetskaya is a naturalized Spanish and Lithuanian citizen.

Niece of both Asaf Messerer and the Bolshoi ballerina Sulamith Messerer, and cousin of the designer Boris Messerer. She studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School (from 1932), with Elisaveta Gerdt, graduating in 1943 and joining the Bolshoi Ballet as a soloist. Later trained with Asaf Messerer. Her exceptional technique ensured immediate success and she enjoyed early promotion at the Bolshoi, becoming a ballerina in 1945. A powerful dancer with remarkable fluidity to her physical phrasing, she brought a robust theatricality and passion to her roles, the antithesis of the ethereal Romantic ballerina. She danced all the leading ballerina roles, foremost among them Odette-Odile and Kitri. She went on her first US tour with the Bolshoi in 1959; in 1962, when Galina Ulanova retired, she became prima ballerina of the Bolshoi.

Her long career with the Moscow company was frequently marked by her open rebellion against the management and she sought new challenges abroad as an international guest artist, most notably with the Paris Opera Ballet, Ballet National de Marseilles, and Ballet of the 20th Century in Brussels. She created leading roles in Lavrovsky's Stone Flower (1954), Moiseyev's Spartacus (1958), Grigorovich's Moscow version of The Stone Flower (1959), Aurora in Grigorovich's staging of The Sleeping Beauty (1963), Grigorovich's Moscow version of The Legend of Love (1965), the title role in Alberto Alonso's Carmen Suite (1967), Petit's La Rose malade (Paris, 1973), Béjart's Isadora (Monte Carlo, 1976) and his Moscow staging of Leda (1979), Granero's Maria Estuardo (Madrid, 1988), and Lopez's El Renedero (Buenos Aires, 1990). She started choreographing in 1972; her first ballet was Anna Karenina (with N. Ryzhenko and V. Smirnov-Golovanov), set to a score by her husband, Rodion Shchedrin, and starring herself in the title role, which was staged at the Bolshoi.

She also created The Seagull (mus. Shchedrin, Bolshoi Ballet, 1980) and Lady with a Lapdog (mus. Shchedrin, Bolshoi Ballet, 1985). She starred in the 1961 film of The Humpbacked Horse, and also appeared as a straight actress in several films, including the Soviet version of Anna Karenina (1968). Her own ballet of the same name was filmed in 1974. She was ballet director of the Rome Opera (1983-4), and artistic director of Ballet del Teatro Lirico Nacional in Madrid (1987-90). In 1988 an Hommage à Plisetskaya was staged in Boston. In 1996 she danced The Dying Swan, her signature role, at a gala in her honour in St Petersburg. Lenin Prize, 1964.

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