Natalia Bessmertnova


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(b Moscow, 19 Jul. 1941; d Moscow, 19 Feb. 2008)

Russian dancer. Star of the Bolshoi Ballet for three decades. She trained at the Moscow Bolshoi School from 1953 to 1961, and graduated into the company as one of the highest achievers in the school's history. Her repertoire included all the leading roles in the classical Russian repertoire (Swan Lake, The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Don Quixote, and Romeo and Juliet in particular), and created the title role in Lavrovksy's production of Giselle at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1963. A dancer who uniquely combined Romantic delicacy and lyricism with extraordinary physical strength, she was equally well-suited to the robust theatrical works choreographed by her husband Yuri Grigorovich. She frequently danced in his Legend of Love (creating the role of Shirin in his Moscow version in 1965) and Spartacus, and created lead roles in many of his ballets including Anastasia in Ivan the Terrible (1975), the female lead in Angara (1976), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (1979), Rita in The Golden Age (1982), and the title role in his staging of Raymonda (1984). She was recipient of numerous awards and honours including Gold Medal, Varna (1965), Anna Pavlova Prize (1970), People's Artist of the USSR (1976). In 1989 she was put on pension at the Bolshoi, and finally left the company in 1995.

Subjects: Dance.

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