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London to celebrate legend of Russian ballet


A ballet extravaganza will take over London as the London Coliseum will host a gala celebrating the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th Century - Galina Ulanova.

ґLondon fell in love with the Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the Bolshoi ballet back in 1956 during the Bolshoi`s performances in the Royal Opera House. She wowed the critics and the public with her unique talent combining exceptional dancing with excellent acting, which resulted in her inimitable performances as Juliet and Giselle.

On May 15 these parts, among others, will be performed by the principal dancers of the two heavyweights of Russian ballet - the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theaters. Both names are associated with Ulanova, who starred there in the main roles during her prolific career.

Russian ballet stars will be joined by dancers from major world ballet troupes.

The classical masterpieces, such as Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, The Dying Swan will be performed along with works by the big names in contemporary choreography, such as Maurice Bejart, Angelin Preljocal and Vladimir Vasiliev, to name just a few.

To fully display the art of the muse of Russian ballet, rare video clips of her performance will be played during the gala, and an exhibition dedicated to Galina Ulanova will be held at the Coliseum on the day of the show.

The unique series of Russian Ballet Icons galas have been organized annually for the last six years. Every gala is built around a legendary name from the Russian ballet world and is a multimedia experience, combining performances by the best living masters of ballet with the history of the genre through one of the great icons of the Russian ballet stage.

Previous galas have paid tribute to Maya Plisetskaya (2006), Yury Grigorovich (2007), Maris Liepa (2008), Sergey Diaghilev (2009) and Rudolf Nureyev (2010).

Galina Ulanova, was not only an outstanding and world famous ballerina, she is the whole epoch of the history of Russian ballet, its national pride, its golden page.

Genius, great, unrepeatable, Ulanova was compared to Venus by Bottichelli and to The Madonna by Raphael.

All of Ulanova`s life was dedicated to the ballet: born into a family of Mariinsky Theater dancers, she studied at the famous Vaganova Academy and after graduation was invited to the Mariinsky where she performed the leading ballet roles.

Mastering her art over the next 16 years she was then invited to perform at the Bolshoi Theater where she received the title Prima Ballerina Assoluta.

She danced there until 1960, leaving only to become a great ballet teacher to the next generation. Ulanova touched the hearts of the people, the critics and the world`s powerful elite. Her talent was the symbiosis of virtuoso dance performance and brilliant acting: when the greatest of dancers also achieved total unity with her characters.

During the `90s she attended the unveiling of a monument to her in Stockholm, the only one of a living Russian outside of Russia at that time. She avoided the cameras and stubbornly repeated: "This monument is not to me, it is to the ballet."

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