Grigorovich Dancing


This picture, taken in 1973 by photographer Leonid Zhdanov (1927−2010), shows the choreographer Yuri Grigorovich (born 1927) during a rehearsal of the ballet Legend of Love at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Grigorovich did not simply go through the movements; he performed them, showing the dancers their parts. Grigorovich was born in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg), graduated from the Leningrad Choreographic School, and joined the ballet company of the Kirov State Opera and Ballet Theater (now the Mariinsky Theater). He performed solo, character, and grotesque roles. He began working as a choreographer in the 1950s. His first ballets, The Stone Flower (1957), to music by Sergei Prokofiev, and Legend of Love (1961), to music by Arif Melikov, were very successful. From 1964 to 1995 Grigorovich was the artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater. His work for this company spans a whole epoch that has been called "the golden age of Moscow ballet." His best ballets are characterized by drama, refined understanding of music, skilled stage directions, bright images, and abundance of technical elements in dance. Grigorovich's ballets helped launch many artistic talents. They include Irina Kolpakova, Alla Osipenko, Yuri Soloviev, Vladimir Vasiliev, Maris Liepa, Ekaterina Maximova, Natalia Bessmertnova, Yuri Vladimirov, Mikhail Lavrovsky, Nina Sorokina, Nina Timofeeva, Alexander Godunov, Mikhail Tsivin, Ludmila Semenyaka, Vladimir Derevyanko, and Nikolai Tsiskaridze. Zhdanov, a Bolshoi dancer and then a professor of choreography for 50 years, was also a professional ballet photographer for most of his career. His pictures are spontaneous and capture on film the movements, moods, and emotions of the unposed dancers. The Reborn Art Foundation in Moscow holds this image and the rest of the Zhdanov archive.

Last updated: February 3, 2015