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Centenary of Galina Ulanova


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Today is the centenary of Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova’s birth.

This legendary dancer startled audiences across the world with her deeply felt interpretations of leading roles with both the Kirov and Bolshoi Companies.

She attained an elevated position amongst 20th century dancers with her lyricism and the emotional depth she brought to portrayals.

Too young to see her dance, I have watched the available films and I have yet to see another dancer so become a role as Juliet, Giselle and as Maria in Fountains of Bakhchiserai.

I had the great good fortune with a colleague to entertain her for an afternoon at Ivy House, Anna Pavlova’s former home and was dazzled by the extraordinary gentle beauty of her face, her enigmatic expressions and the poetic movement of her hands when she spoke. She made me feel like a small child knowingly being introduced to the Queen of England. I had to keep remembering to breathe.


Ulanova’s parents danced with Pavlova’s company at London’s Palace Theatre in 1910.

The Bolshoi are celebrating her centenary with a series of the gala Performances from the 14th to the 16th January. See a tribute on the Bolshoi website http://www.bolshoi.ru/ru/theatre/people/de...fo&id26=667

See also the programme for a series of Gala performances


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Today is the centenary of Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova’s birth.

Clive Barnes on Ulanova in Dance Magazine http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m108...72/ai_20650604/

Michael Spector Obit: NYTimes http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/on.../bday/0110.html

Film: http://en.rian.ru/video/20100108/157429038.html which shows brief clips of Ulanova followed by a tribute in Russian which has an English translation over the top.

For me it is always interesting to note as in this film, the poetic manner in which Russians speak about artists of the past.

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Thank you Leonid. Ulanova was the first great dancer I knew of. My first teacher Millenoff gave me a tiny paperback book about her when I was 9. She was very beautiful. I no longer have the book but the pictures are etched in my mind. In the book there is a photo of Ulanova taking a reverence efface pose from Les Sylphides and the image of her very turned out ankle and foot is still an inspiration to me. Often during my twenty five years with Joffrey Ballet I heard from Arpino that when the company toured to Russia in 1963 (the first American Ballet Company), Ulanova asked that Joffrey ballerina Lisa Bradley remain behind in the Soviet Union to be coached by her.

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Given her longevity on stage and her stellar status in Soviet Russia, Ulanova was much photographed.

Many of her pictures are familiar; the three scanned here were somewhat less familiar to me when I acquired them.

They are, left to right, with assumptions where the identification is incomplete:

*undated portrait likely as the "Swan" in Vaganova's 1933 production of SWAN LAKE, which eschewed the name Odette and had the role of Odile danced by a separate ballerina, in this case, Olga Jordan.

*undated, unidentified role and work with a young-looking G.S.U.

*1941, Leningrad-produced photocard of G.S.U. as Stalin Prize Laureate and Peoples' Artist of the USSR, which may or may account for the medals she wears.


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