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Galina Ulanova

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76 years to this day, on the 16th of May 1928, Galina Ulanova graduated from the Mariinsky ballet school in St. Petersburg. Her teacher Agrippina Vaganova called her "out of this world creature".

A concert in commemoration of Ulanova's graduation will take place at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow tonight. See the website:

http://galinaulanova.com/1/fund/index.php?partsId=312

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A synopsis of the article “Forever Juliet: Only great personalities can make history”

by a Russian ballet critic Violetta Mainiece published in the Russian language “Culture” magazine in Moscow on 20.05.04

http://www.kultura-portal.ru/tree/cultpape...9&rubric_id=204

The gala concert “Tribute to Galina Ulanova” organised by the Galina Ulanova Fund (Director Vladimir Vassilyev) has taken place at the Bolshoi Theatre on the 16th of May. 2004. This concert commemorated two memorable events: on the 16th of May 1928 the young Galina Ulanova graduated in St.Petersburg, and in 1944, exactly 60 years ago, she moved from the Mariinsky to the Bolshoi Theatre. Two foremost Russian theatres provided their stage for this dancer who long ago became a ballet legend of the 20th century.

The gala concert was completely sold out although it was a Sunday evening in May. Numerous VIPs and distinguished guests filled the stalls. [John Noimayer rushed from Hamburg for one evening only.] The audience in boxes and tiers was not only sitting but standing and even hanging.

The programme of this concert was exceptionally well thought out. Luckily, there were no pas de deux from “Le Corsaire” or “Don Q”, which by now set people’s teeth on edge. Only two pieces from Ulanova’s repertoire were performed on that night: adagio with the Suitors from “The Sleeping Beauty” and the last act of “Swan Lake”. The rest of the programme consisted of Balanchine’s “Symphony in C”, adagio from “Diamonds” with the long awaited Ulyana Lopatkina, and the latest novelties from Mariinsky which were shown in Moscow for the first time: Lander’s “Etudes” and Forsythe’s “The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude". It wasn't the repertoire that provided a link to Ulanova but the lyrical, romantic and refined atmosphere of that evening. It started with Prokofiev’s overture for “Romeo & Juliet” and concluded with “Ave Eve” by A.Petrov. Throughout the evening photographs and excerpts were shown on three screens, compiled from well-known and absolutely unknown images of the great ballerina. The unhurried, elegiac introduction was filled with reading of letters to Ulanova from ordinary people, celebrities’ views of her art as well as some music – Casta Diva from “Norma” and The Prayer from “Cavaleria Rusticana”. Of course, Ulanova made history as romantic Maria, Juliet, Giselle and Swan but there were other streaks in her art and her character devoid of any sentimentality.

Ulyana Lopatkina appeared in this concert as a real Royal Diamond. Some may adore Lopatkina, others may just respect her but one thing is clear – she is a personality, a ballerina with her own bearing, who is intelligent and understands exactly how to present in the best light herself and all Balanchine’s steps. Her imperial dancing crowned the choreographic part of that evening underscoring the simple truth that only great personalities can make history. The art of Galina Ulanova has proved that.

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The audience in boxes and tiers was not only sitting but standing and even hanging.

Heavens, has the Bolshoi re-embraced Stalinism? I can think of some people they could hang, if that's what they're into! :)

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I would call this "hanging" a journalistic hyperbole. Moreover, juding by the present ticket prices at the Bolshoi, soviet times are far, far away. :)

Thanks for the synopsis, coda.

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Not at all, but it was a construction that nearly asked for satire.

But it did put me in mind of the Bolshoi version of Stalinism, which was: "For God's sake, keep programming Swan Lake! It'll keep you-know-who happy and off our backs!" Further, I was reminded of Ulanova's intellectual power and moral force, which seemed to follow her wherever she went, and invigorated the dancers around her. She was a leader who never claimed leadership for herself, and yet she pushed the envelope of what the dancers of her time were allowed to do. She was an artist of the entire world, not only of the then-Soviet Union.

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