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Nikita Dolgushin - RIP

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Nikita Dolgushin, the great star of the Kirov (1960s), then the Maly Ballet (1970s/80s), passed away today, according to the Mikhahilovsky Theater's press office. He continued dancing leading classical roles (such as Albrecht in Giselle) into the 1990s, when he led the Ballet of the St-Petersburg Conservatory, including reconstructions of forgotten ballets from the Mariinsky's 'Silver Age,' such as Pavillon d'Armide. He recently returned to the Maly (now Mikhailovsky) to coach but had suffered ill health and was undergoing treatments in Paris until very recently.

Small note on the main page of the MIkhailovsky reads:

Nikita Dolgushin, an outstanding dancer, choreographer and teacher, has died at the age of 74. He will be greatly missed.

Also, there's a full obituary on the Russian-language Mikhailovsky site:


I'm sure that full obituaries in English will follow.

Rest in peace, Nikita Dolgushin. A true prince of classical dance.

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Thanks, Paul. This is Dolgushin's own choreography. He was one of the Leningrad dancers who greatly admired Balanchine and the NYCB after their first visit to the USSR in the early 60s. Dolgushin danced quite a bit with the lady seen here, Svetlana Efremova ('66-'93 Kirov soloist), even on tour to the USA in the early 90s with the St-P Conservatory Ballet. (Many NYC ballet fans may remember that tour's Brooklyn engagement.)

Another one of his Balanchinesque "imitation-as-flattery" pieces was an all-Gershwin answer to Mr B's Who Cares? Dolgushin titled it We Do Care! Will try to upload if I find it.

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If I remember right it was DOlgushin who came with a group from ST Petersburg to San Francisco with a program of Jakobson miniatures -- a show I will never forget for the impact it had on me, though I've lost most of the detail. I remember it was highly detailed but that none of the details was the point -- the point was that this was a highly inflected idiom, but it was the phrasing and character that mattered. best I remember hte blind girl and hte Jewish scene. I took Remy Charlip to see it. Remy was blown away -- those values were very close to his [every little movement has a meaning all its own).

Dolgushin -- if it WAS Dolgushin's group, whoever they were the was the senior person and hte director -- danced something noble -- Icarus? -- in a unitard and was a stunningly beautiful man still. Whatever, he was playing a youth who came to a tragic end, and his own youthful figure, combined with hte maturity of his experience, gave it weight and majesty, and a kind of Housmanesque/Wilfred Owen melancholy that was totally appropriate.

This pas is a wonderful homage to Balanchine -- close in spirit, without ever getting too literal in its admiration.. It DID seem very knowing -- echappes in the same musical place, arabesques voyages in the same place, failli assemble in the same place -- but always with a difference -- and with enough virtuosity to jazz the folks who want tricks, but with plenty of connection between hte stars and wonderful accuracy of placement and imagery to please the cognoscenti -- and the good taste to know that piques with the retire very low can be just as beautiful as those with a high retire. The steps he gives the ballerina she makes very very beautiful.

The butterfly jumps -- I don't know what to call them, it's like a quarter tour jete to attitude, or jete passe with a quarter-turn, or Vaganova pas de chat with a quarter turn -- have a wonderful lightness for both boy and girl are Kinda Bournonville-esque, and also remind me of those Villella did in Rubies - -so the connection there may be Villella. Anyway, the register of steps he's working with has a harmony to it that makes it like a "missing link" between Flower Festival and Tchai pas.

Edited by Paul Parish
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Paul, I saw that tour in Towson, MD. Checking my documents of that concert, his solo in the green see-through-mesh unitard and long silky green scarves -- a Poseidon-like character -- was Mahler Adagietto (his own choreography). He had to encore it at Towson, the audience went crazy!

This was before my first long sojourn in Russia. Let's just say that Dolgushin was a huge inspiration in my life. smile.png

Edited by Natalia
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Thanks for loading that clip, Paul! How interesting...Miss Efremova executes those arabesque sautes voyages on pointe that define so much the Cuban Black Swan coda. I think that this used to be a very popular step back in the days and now is being neglected. Fonteyn also does them in her Sleeping Beauty PDD coda, Katya Maximova in the ballroom sequence of Aniuta and Mia Slavenska in the Kitri variation shown in the BRdMC documentary. I would be curious to know if that's a rather difficult step to execute by a ballerina, being that the reason for its current absence in choreographies-(Obratzsova in Aniuta does the hops in flat foot instead...)

RIP Mr. Dolgushin.

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Thank you for posting! This was great!

I am sorry I never got to see Mr. Dolgushin dance live. He was quite something! :)

The "Butterfly jumps" - what a good name! - we did in school, way-back-when, but I do not remember them being called anything in particular. -sigh- (yes, pas de chat-like, or temps de fleche derriere-like.... anyone know for sure? They are charming and fun.)


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This is very, very sad news. Dolgushin was an iconooclastic treasure. In his heyday he was Natalia Makarova's main partner at the Kirov before her defection. He was an exemplary Albrecht, and one of the greatest danseur nobles the Kirov-Mariinsky ever produced. In retrospect, he may even be considered the most intellectual, or the 'greatest thinker' of Soviet Russia's "thinking" danseur nobles. Today's Mikhailovsky, (which was the Maly when he came on board there, then the Mussorgsky), and classical ballet have sustained an irretrievable loss. Nikita Dolgushin was a great performer, an excellent and intuitive pedagogue and ballet master, but most of all, he was kind person, and a gentleman. He will be sorely missed.

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