Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In Memoriam

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death yesterday of one of the Bolshoi's great ballerinas, Natalia Bessmertnova at age 66.

Born in Moscow on July 19 1941, Bessmertnova trained at the Bolshoi ballet school in Moscow, and was the first in history to earn the school's highest possible grade, an A+.

She became one of the Bolshoi's top stars, interpreting all the roles in the classical repertory. One of her most notable roles was that of Giselle. She was awarded the Lenin Prize, the Soviet Union's top distinction, in 1986. She was also a People's Artist of the U.S.S.R. She also received the Anna Pavlova prize in Paris.

Her husband was the ballet-master and choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, who survives her. He directed the Bolshoi during her career and notably designed the highly-successful ballet "Ivan the Terrible", in which she starred in 1975.

The Russian news agency RIA Novosti wrote: "Her surname is derived from the Russian word for 'immortal'. For ballet fans across the world, her memory is sure to live on."