Galina Samsova

(b. 1937)

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(orig. Samtsova; b Stalingrad, 17 Mar. 1937)

Soviet-Canadian dancer and ballet director. She studied at the Kiev Ballet School and in 1956 graduated into the Kiev Ballet where she became a soloist. In 1960 she married the Canadian Alexander Ursuliak and moved to Canada where she joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1961. She was soon appointed principal and in 1963 she created the title role in Orlikowsky's Cinderella at the Paris International Festival of Dance where she won a gold medal. From 1964 to 1973 she was ballerina with London Festival Ballet. Though she shone in virtuoso roles like the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, she was essentially a lyrical, romantic ballerina, and a renowned Giselle. Her combined dramatic and technical gifts made her popular with choreographers and she created roles in many ballets, including Hynd's Dvořák Variations (1970) and Valses nobles et sentimentales (1975); Darrell's Othello (1971), La Péri (1971), and Chéri (1980), and Prokovsky's Vespri (1973) and The Seven Deadly Sins (1975). She married Prokovsky in 1972 (they divorced in 1981) and a year later founded the New London Ballet with him, with which she toured extensively until 1977. She performed as an international guest artist (1977–9) and was then principal dancer and teacher with Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (1979–90), where she staged the Grand Pas from Paquita (1980) and also assisted Peter Wright on his 1981 production of Swan Lake. In 1990 she was appointed guest artistic director of Scottish Ballet, becoming artistic director (1991–7) and staging Raymonda Act III (1990) and Swan Lake (1995). She continues to coach, and to stage productions of the classics.

Subjects: Dance.

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