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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 19 July 1941Moscow, USSR [now Russia]
Date of Death 19 February 2008Moscow, Russia  (kidney failure)
Birth NameNatalia Igorevna Bessmertnova

Mini Bio (1)

Natalia Bessmertnova was a legendary ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet company at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. She was known for regality on stage, and remarkable modesty off-stage.

She was born Natalia Igorevna Bessmertnova on July 19, 1941, in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union. Her father, Igor Bessmertnov, was a medical doctor, her mother, Antonina Peshkova, was a homemaker. Young Bessmertnova was fond of music and dance. From 1952 to 1961 she studied classical ballet under M. Kozhukhova and S. Golovkina, and later under M. Semyonova at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, graduating in 1961 as ballerina.

From 1961 to 1995, Bessmertnova was prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet. Her first stage partner was Mikhail Lavrovsky. In 1961 she made her Bolshoi debut in "Chopeniana" - a remake of Les Sylphides - the classic ballet by Mikhail Fokin, set to the music of 'Frederic Chopin'. Bessmertnova shone as Giselle in the 1963 Bolshoi production staged by Lavrovsky. Her beauty and innate lyricism made her especially notable as Giselle. In 1974 the ballet was adapted to film Giselle (1974) starring Bessmertnova in the title role.

During the 60s, 70s, and 80s Bessmertnova starred in several Bolshoi productions choreographed by Grigorovich. She gave memorable performances as Masha in the 1968 staging of the Nutcracker ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. That same year she shone as Frigia in Spartacus by Aram Khachaturyan.

Bessmertnova shot to international fame with her stellar performances in the Paris Opera productions of two ballets by Sergei Prokofiev, Ivan the Terrible (1976), and Romeo and Juliet (1978). Bessmertnova gave memorable performances as Rita in the 1982 production of "The Golden Age" ballet by Dmitri Shostakovich, and as Raymonda in Grigorovich's 1984 version of Raymonda by Aleksandr Glazunov.

In the course of her stage career lasting 35 years, Natalia Bessmertnova gave over three thousand stage performances, and won critical acclaim for her great sense of style and authority. In 1970 she was awarded Anna Pavlova Prize in Paris. She was designated Peoples Actress of the USSR (1976), and also received numerous decorations and awards from the Soviet State including State Prize of the USSR (1977), and Lenin Prize (1986).

Natalia Bessmertnova was married to choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, and the couple served on the juries of international ballet competitions. In 1995 the couple left the Bolshoi Theatre after a strike, and formed Grigorovich Ballet troupe based in Krasnodar, Russia. From 1995 to 2005 she was touring with Grigorovich Ballet, and also taught a ballet class. Bessmertnova died of cancer on February 19, 2008, in a Moscow clinic, and was laid to rest in Moscow, Russia.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (1)

Yuri Grigorovich (? - 19 February 2008) (her death)

Trivia (6)

Prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet.
Graduated from the Bolshoi Moscow Ballet School in 1961, being the first student in the school's history to receive A+ in the final exams. Studied under Maria Kozhukhova and Sofia Golovkina, and Marina Semyonova.
People's Artist of Russia and the USSR.
Had the highest leap among ballerinas of the Bolshoi.
Joined the Bolshoi ballet in 1961, and was their prima ballerina for over 30 years, until her retirement in 1995.
Member of jury at many international ballet competitions.

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