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Stellar ballerina's birthday

Published time: November 20, 2010 10:37
Edited time: November 21, 2010 11:27
Maya Plisetskaya (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkn)

Maya Plisetskaya (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkn)

One of Russia’s towering artists, ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, is celebrating a milestone birthday. At 85 years old, she has preserved her ability to mesmerize and marvel loyal admirers worldwide.

A series of concerts and performances dedicated to the enchanting and indefatigable artist will take place in Russia and overseas.

The redheaded star of the Bolshoi Theater has been a stunner from the very first “pas” she took on stage. Her technical excellence, plus enthusiasm and intelligence were encouraging, her feminine charisma undeniable. No wonder she has never been in a corps de ballet of the Bolshoi.

Taking the vibes off the audience, she shared her feeling of strength and confidence with the public, letting no emotion escape unnoticed in her portrayal of Odette-Odile, Sleeping Beauty or Raymonda.

The award-winning ballerina's worked with the leading light of top-class world choreography – Maurice Béjart, Roland Petit, Alberto Alonso, and Yury Grigorovich, performing all over the world.

Plisetskaya once said that one of the secrets of her success was moderation. Unlike many young ballerinas who tortured themselves with endless rehearsals to gain sought-after excellence, Plisetskaya confessed she never burned the midnight oil, allowing herself to enjoy exercise instead of hating it.

Dancing like a queen, she could be recognized by the height of her flight of fancy and height of her jumps on stage, as well as trademark emotional eloquence. She could say so much with just a wave of her hand or a turn of her head.

The Dying Swan was her breakthrough role which she delivered with unprecedented tour de force.

Ballet carried her away from the tragedies of her past. Born into a Jewish family in 1925, Plisetskaya's father was killed during the Stalinist purges; her mother arrested and sent to a labor camp with her baby son.

It was Plisetskaya's aunt, Sulamith Messerer – a ballerina and choreographer – who fostered the love of ballet in the little Maya, after her parents were brutally taken from her, with a slim hope for survival.

However, Plisetskaya's life and career can hardly be imagined without Rodion Shchedrin. Her partnership with the outstanding composer has stood the test of time – they have been together for more than half a century; a living example of a genuinely happy, magnificent creative marriage.

­Valeria Paikova, RT