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Violetta Bovt


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I have read about Violetta Bovt and a number of my friends saw her dance with Moscow's Stanislavsky Ballet in the 1960's and told me she was extraordinary.

I have always felt a disappointment that I never saw her dance and today whilst researching dramballet, I found these clips and could not help thinking that Kenneth MacMillan might have seen these films.

See: http://www.nme.com/awards/video/id/A4qgvdTD4-8/search/bovt

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Can you tell us more about her? Here she is dancing in

Not being a member of either the Bolshoi or Kirov ballet, books on Russian ballet history do not give much information about Bovt’s career

Curiously the Russian Ballet Encyclopaedia overseen by Yuri Nikolaevich Grigorovich states Violetta Trofimovna Bovt was born on the 9th May 1927 in Los Angeles.

Bovt graduated from the Moscow Choreographic School where she was a pupil of the distinguished teacher Maria Alexseevna Kozhukhova who was in turn a pupil of the distinguished St.Petersburg teacher Klavdia Mikhailovna Kulichevskaya.

Bovt became a member of the Stanislavsky Ballet where among others she was partnered by Maris Liepa during his four years with this company. With this company, her roles included, Odette/Odile, Esmeralda, Medora, Cinderella and a number of ballets choreographed by Vladimir Pavlovich Bourmeister including the creation of the leading role in “Joan of Arc” in 1957.

She was by all accounts, an extraordinary dance actress with a fully integrated academic technique.

Mme Bovt died in 1995.

NYPL Digital Library has the following Roger Wood photographs of

Violetta Bovt.


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Here is some further information from an obituary:

1927 - Violetta Bovt [boft] was born in Los Angeles of Russian parents

1930’s - Moved to the Soviet Union with her family

Studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow

Prima Ballerina for 32 years -- The Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Lyric Theatre in Moscow.

1970 - People's Artist of the U.S.S.R.

1986 - Left Moscow and moved to Columbus, Ohio where she was hired by BalletMet as ballet mistress

“Born in Los Angeles in 1927, Boft was uprooted when her father, a communist sympathizer, moved the family to the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Ultimately betrayed by the government he so admired, her father disappeared early in World War II while fighting the Nazis outside Leningrad.

Boft never gave up her U.S. citizenship. She once said that she felt punished for her decision: She was not allowed to become a member of either the Bolshoi or the Kirov ballets, though she was frequently their starring guest artist; nor was she allowed to tour the United States. When she performed outside the Soviet Union, she was under surveillance.”

"For Violetta Boft, to live was to dance" by Barbara Zuck, 30 April 1995,
The Columbus Dispatch

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