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Father of Nutcracker celebrates birthday

Published time: January 02, 2012 10:45
Edited time: January 02, 2012 14:45
Yury Grigorovich at the Bolshoi Theater (RIA Novosti/Alexey Kudenko)

Yury Grigorovich at the Bolshoi Theater (RIA Novosti/Alexey Kudenko)

The man who turned a children's fairytale into an adult drama, The Nutcracker, the leading light of the Bolshoi Theater, Yury Grigorovich, is celebrating his 85th birthday.

­On the maestro's birthday, one of his most famous signature ballets, The Nutcracker, will be performed at the Bolshoi Theater.

One of the towering choreographers of the 20th Century, Grigorovich graduated from the Leningrad Choreography School and danced as a soloist of the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky Theater) until the early 1960s. Staging Sergey Prokofiev’s The Stone Flower and The Legend of Love brought him acclaim as a promising choreographer.

In 1964, Grigorovich moved to Moscow, to the Bolshoi Theater, where he worked as an artistic director for three decades.

His most famous productions at the Bolshoi were The Nutcracker, Spartacus and Ivan the Terrible. Grigorovich has also reworked the legendary Swan Lake to create a happy ending for the story.

In 1997, however he left the Bolshoi over disagreement with the policies of the then theater mangers. Working as a choreographer with several companies, he finally set up his own company in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.

Grigorovich has been heading the juries of numerous international competitions in classical ballet.

After the death of his wife, the great ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova, he was offered the opportunity to return to the Bolshoi again.

At 85 his ballet mission has not yet been fully accomplished. He plans to rework Sergey Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible. Later this month the award-winning choreographer is set to go on a tour to Japan tour with the Bolshoi Theater, after which he will be heading to America for a three-month tour with his Krasnodar Ballet company.