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Kolpakova, Makarova and the Cold War.

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As I saw Mme. Kolpakova go pass me last night at the MET, I started ruminating. The thought of her and Makarova both at ABT, but having made it out of Russia in such two different moments of history. And I had lots of questions...

Given than Kolpakova was such an influencing ballerina at the Kirov...how much politically compromised was she back then...? And just looking at the level of ostracism that the Panov endured from their own ex colleagues after they decided to leave Russia, I wonder how Kolpakova took Makarova's defection...and more than everything...how must have been the re encounter many years after and under such different circumstances, politically wise, and to end up working together in the heart city of the system they were both supposed to despise.

 

 

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Kolpakova was known to have strong political convictions, Panov's book To Dance makes that abundantly clear.

Shortly after Markarova's defection, a play about a Russian ballerina was shown on UK TV that caused a bit of a stir as it suggested this fictional dancer had defected for financial gain rather than for artistic freedom.

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Posted (edited)

Kolpakova & her husband, Semenov, were leaders of the Communist Party within the Kirov organization. If Makarova was a member, she was not among the vocal leaders, as were the Semenovs. Of course, time can heal wounds but I still cannot help but chuckle when I think about Kolpakova being A-OK with capitalism in the Good Ol’ USA for 20+ years. That said, she’s been a wonderful coach to Herrera and so many other ABT ballerinas. We can’t take that away from her.

Edited by CharlieH

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The Panovs didn't defect: they applied for exit visas to Israel, which was an entirely different political ball of wax.

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Some interesting biography about Kolpakova here: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/arts/dance/irina-kolpakova-trains-dancers-at-american-ballet-theater.html

For some reason, I thought the Helen Mirren character in White Nights was modelled after her.

Here is the story about Kolpakova guaranteeing Baryshnikov would return from that Canada trip when he defected:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/11/03/newcomer-dance-dept-joan-acocella

Edited by California

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According to the NYT article, she came to the US at Baryshnikov's invitation.  It was the late '90's '80's.

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Kolpakova & her husband were already in the USA-NY by summer 1993 because they attended the famous Dinner with Balanchine gala. At the time, both were already were working in some coaching capacity in NY, even if they returned to Russia periodically. They were here way before the late ‘90s.

Edited by CharlieH

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Sorry, my mistake.  It was the late '80's.  I'll correct that.

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