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 Yekaterina  Maximova

Prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre (1958-1988), People's Artist of the USSR, winner of the USSR State Prize (1981)


Yekaterina Maximova was the wife of dancer and choreographer Vladimir Vasiliev and the granddaughter of a famous Russian philosopher, art theorist and philologist, Gustav Shpet.
Ekaterina Maximova was born in Moscow on February 1, 1939. She studied at the Moscow Ballet School. In 1957 she won the All-Union Ballet Competition in Moscow andn the same year made her debut as Masha in Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker (choreography by V. Vainonen). Upon graduation in 1958, Yekaterina Maximova got employed to the ballet troupe of the Bolshoi Theater, where she was coached by the great ballerina, Galina Ulanova.
Raised in the academic tradition, Yekaterina Maximova boasted light and powerful jumps, fast-rotation crisps, natural grace, and gracious softness. Her dance was marked with elegance, technical virtuosity, and finely honed details. Yekaterina Maximova with her husband, dancer Vladimir Vasiliev, made one of the greatest ballet duets of the 20th century. Other stage partners of the  ballerina were Maris Liepa and Aleksandr Bogatyrev.
She was the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre from 1958 to 1988, and the guest star of Moscow Classical Ballet and other ballet companies.
Ballerina was the muse of film director Alexander Belinsky, who created specially for her his ballet films, such as Galatea, Annie, The Old Tango and others.
From 1978 Yekaterina Maximova performed in a few foreign troupes, namely Maurice Béjart's Ballet of the 21st Century (1978), San Carlo Theatre (1986, 1988-1989), Marseilles Ballet (1987), and the English National Ballet (1989). From 1980, she danced in performances of the ensemble Moscow Classical Ballet.
In 1982 Yekaterina Maximova and her husband Vladimir Vasiliev were invited by Franco Zeffirelli to star in his La Traviata. The couples' pas-de-deux was filmed in one take.
Having suffered a spinal injury when rehearsing at the Bolshoi Theatre, the ballerina managed to return to the stage - though doctors had insisted that she would not be able to walk even.
Yekaterina Maximova graduated from GITIS as a choreography teacher in 1980. From 1982 she taught at the choreography department of  GITIS.
In 1988, together with other soloists and stars of "retirement age" she was scandalously dismissed from the theater by Yuri Grigorovich.
From 1990 Yekaterina Maximova was a coach of the newly organized theater Kremlin Ballet. In 1998 Vladimir Vasiliev headed the Ballet company of the Bolshoi Theatre and his wife became able to return to their home theater as a teacher.
Among her famous students there were Natalia Balahnicheva, Tatiana Predeina, Zhanna Bogoroditskaya (at the Kremlin Ballet), Svetlana Lunkina, Marianna Ryzhkina,  Anna Nikulina and Anna Antonicheva (at the Bolshoi Theatre).
Yekaterina Maximova last performed on the ballet stage in 1999. She suddenly died in sleep at her apartment in Moscow on April 28, 2009. The star was laid down to rest at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Tags: Yekaterina Maximova Russian Ballerinas Russian Ballet Bolshoi Theatre  

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