Alexei Yermolayev


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(b St Petersburg, 23 Feb. 1910; d Moscow, 12 Dec. 1975)

Soviet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. He studied at the Leningrad Ballet School with Vladimir Ponomarev, graduating in 1926 after just five years. He joined GATOB (later the Kirov) as a soloist where his exceptional virtuosity did much to expand the boundaries of male technique. He particularly excelled in the modern repertory, creating roles in Lopukhov's The Ice Maiden (1927) and in Lopukhov, Ponomarev, and Leontiev's The Red Poppy (1929). In 1930 he moved to the Bolshoi Ballet as principal, creating lead roles in Vainonen's Moscow version of The Flames of Paris (1933), Mirandolina (1949), also Tybalt in Lavrovsky's Moscow version of Romeo and Juliet (1946), Severyan in Lavrovsky's The Stone Flower (1954), and Yevgeny in Zakharov's The Bronze Horseman (1949). He danced the role of Tybalt in the Soviet film of Romeo and Juliet (1954). He retired from dancing in 1958 but from 1960 until his death he remained at the Bolshoi as teacher and coach. From 1968 to 1972 he was also artistic director of its school. He made his first major ballet in 1939, Nightingale (with Lopukhov, mus. M. Kroshner), for the Byelorussian Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Minsk, where he also made his last ballet, Burning Hearts or Fiery Hearts (mus. V. Zolotarev), in 1955.

Subjects: Dance.

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