Maya Plisetskaya: Diva of Dance

Bolshoi Theatre, 1945-1977

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Filmed at the Bolshoi at different stages of her art, the prima ballerina assoluta in all her glory.

These filmed excerpts at the Bolshoi Theatre between 1945 and 1977 bear witness to the unique and eternal art of the prima ballerina assoluta Maya Plisetskaya: unique because of the height of her jumps, the incredible fluidity of her arms and the longevity of her career (she was born in 1925 and danced until she was seventy). Unique also because, like Maria Callas, another prima diva assoluta, she was able to reconcile the most amazing technique with the most dramatic expression; her dancing is intelligent.

She entered the Bolshoi in 1943, she immediately became prima ballerina, but she was to pay for the crimes her mother and father did not commit (her father was executed in 1938 and her mother was sent to a gulag). Forbidden from touring in the West, she remained a prisoner behind the iron curtain until 1959. When the West discovered her, it was a triumph which she shared with her husband, the composer Rodion Shchedrin.

We may admire Maya Plisetskaya through a dozen of her greatest roles created by famous choreographers such as Roland Petit and Maurice Béjart, or in ballets like Raymonda, Romeo and Juliet, Swan lake, Carmen and Don Quichotte. We also see her in what has become her visiting card The Dying Swan of which she gives an unforgettable interpretation.

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