Ekaterina Maximova's "Mazurka"


Leonid Zhdanov (1927–2010) took this photograph in 1968. It shows Ekaterina Maximova (1939–2009), a ballerina from the Bolshoi Theater, dancing Mazurka (from the ballet Skryabiniana) created by Kasian Goleizovsky (1892–1970). Choreographed specifically for Maximova, the dance was first performed in 1960 in a concert program. Maximova graduated in 1958 from the Moscow Ballet School at the Bolshoi Theater (now known as Moscow State Academy of Choreography), where she was taught by Elizaveta Gerdt. She was accepted into the Bolshoi Theater. A year later, during a tour in the United States and Canada, she became a favorite of the public and the press, which raved about the dancing and charming smile of this "wonderful elf" and "baby ballerina." Galina Ulanova was for many years Maximova’s instructor at the Bolshoi. She worked with her on the roles of Giselle and Juliet, which at one time were the best roles in her repertoire. The radiant Maximova also shone in the comedic role of Kitri in Don Quixote. She and her partner Vladimir Vasiliev were called the "golden duet of the Bolshoi Theater," and many choreographers created dances specifically for her. Yuri Grigorovich, Tom Schilling, and Maurice Béjart all had high regard for her talent. Maximova fully revealed her gifts in ballets produced for television, including Galatea, Old Tango, Chapliniana (directed by Alexander Belinsky, choreography by Dmitry Bryantsev), and Anyuta (staged and choreographed by Vladimir Vasiliev). She appeared not only as a dancer, but as a great dramatic actress, able to play all kinds of roles, from ironic comedy to high tragedy. 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