- Ulanova, Galina Sergeyevna
▪ 1999Russian ballet dancer (b. Jan. 8, 1910, St. Petersburg, Russia—d. March 21, 1998, Moscow, Russia), was considered one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. She possessed an excellent technique, a lyrical grace, and the ability to submerge herself in the characters she portrayed and communicate their humanity to audiences. Ulanova, the daughter of dancers, was taught first by her mother and then at the Leningrad State School of Choreography, under Agrippina Vaganova. Graduating in 1928, she joined the Mariinsky Ballet (called the Kirov Ballet from 1935 to 1991) and soon began dancing the leading roles in such classic ballets as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. In 1934 Ulanova created the role that sparked her rise to fame—the tragic Maria in The Fountain of Bakhchisaray. In 1940 she starred as Juliet in Leonid Lavrovsky's Romeo and Juliet. It featured specially commissioned music by Sergey Prokofiev, who later wrote the score for Cinderella especially for her. Ulanova was transferred to Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet in 1944 and thereafter was associated with that company. Her first notable appearance outside the Soviet Union was in concert in Florence in 1951, but it was at London's Covent Garden in 1956, at the Bolshoi's first appearance in the West, that she sealed her status as an international legend. Her American debut came three years later. After Ulanova retired from the stage in 1961, she became a popular teacher and coach at the Bolshoi.
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