Premier danseuse of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Natalia Bessmertnova
The outstanding Russian ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova has died. A classical lyrical-style dancer, Natalia Bessmertnova was the leading soloist of the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre for more than 30 years. Today, the Bolshoi Theatre mourns their tragic loss. Commemorating the famous premier danseuse, Aleksei Ratmansky, the artistic director of the ballet troupe of the Bolshoi Theatre, called her the “greatest poetic soul of the Bolshoi Theatre”. Her ballet style was a combination of romantic fragility and great inner force, and her polished technique enabled her to dance various roles. For many decades, Natalia Bessmertnova was one of the favourite ballerinas of ballet lovers all over the world. Her death is a great loss for world ballet.
Natalia Bessmertnova was also the wife and inspiration, and in the past few years the assistant, of the famous choreographer Yuri Grigorovich. For her, he created bright choreographic images in the most significant of his productions, including Spartakus by Aram Khachaturian, The Legend About Love by Arif Melikov, and Ivan Grozny, which was set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev. Ms Bessmertnova excelled in the performance of the leading parts in the famous ballets of Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
However, Giselle is considered to be her best role (a ballet by Adolf Adam). Ballet lovers link the role of Giselle with the image of this beloved ballerina, Giselle is a romantic ballet filled with estranged dreaminess. Giselle, as performed by Natalia Bessmertnova, was a great triumph all over the world. Critics wrote, “People need to believe in the triumph of spirituality as is shown by the convincing persuasiveness and beauty of Bessmertnova’s dance”. Natalia Bessmertnova was known for her romantic style, but, as it is well-known, it is impossible to teach students to interalise the romantic style. The romantic style, the organic quality of Natalia Bessmertnova’s talent, was praised during her first tours abroad as a member of the Bolshoi Theatre ballet troupe. This occurred in Britain in 1956 when the young dancer performed only small parts. However, acute connoisseurs of ballet art understood early enough that Natalia Bessmertnova would be one who would be able to realise and further develop the traditions of the Russian classical ballet, who would continue its glorious history, and whose name would be added to the list of the legendary Russian ballet-dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova.
26 March 2008
Voice of Russia World Service