Marina Semionova


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(orig. Semyonova; b St Petersburg, 12 Jun. 1908; d Moscow, 9 June 2010)

Russian dancer. She studied under Vaganova (the latter's first great pupil) at the Petrograd (later Leningrad) Ballet School (1919–25) and graduated into GATOB (later Kirov) before moving to the Bolshoi in 1930 as prima ballerina. In both companies she was renowned for her virtuosity and regal bearing. She also guested with the Kirov and in Paris (1935) where she performed Giselle with Lifar. She created or danced the leading roles in many new ballets by Zakharov (The Prisoner of the Caucasus, 1938, and Taras Bulba, 1941) and Vainonen (Flames of Paris, Moscow version, 1933), as well as excelling in classic roles like Nikiya in Bayadère and Odette-Odile in Swan Lake. Her career as well as her personal life suffered when her second husband was detained in 1936 during a Stalin purge but she continued to dance and teach with the Bolshoi until 1952. In 1953 she was appointed teacher at the Moscow Ballet School and repetiteur at the Bolshoi, continuing in that role for over four decades. Her pupils included Plisetskaya and Bessmertnova. She was married to dancer and teacher Victor Semonov and made People's Artist of the USSR, 1975.

Subjects: Dance.

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