Russian Ballet Legend Maya Plisetskaya Dies at 89

World » RUSSIA | May 3, 2015, Sunday // 12:37
Bulgaria: Russian Ballet Legend Maya Plisetskaya Dies at 89 A file picture dated 21 August 2008 shows Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Maya Mikhaylovna Plisetskaya in Platja d`Aro, Girona, Spain. Photo EPA/BGNES

World-renowned Russian ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya has died at the age of 89, TASS reported.

The Russian news agency quoted Bolshoi Theater Director General Vladimir Urin as saying Plisetskaya’s composer husband Rodion Shchedrin has called him to say Plisetskaya has died of a heart failure in Germany on Saturday.

“Doctors struggled to save her but could do nothing," Shchedrin said.

With tributes pouring in from the world over, Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called  Plisetskaya  a"genius," and her passing away "an end of an era."

Plisetskaya was on the stage of Russia’s premier ballet for more than five decades, retiring as a soloist only in 1990, at the age of 65.

Born into a prominent Russian-Jewish artistic family, Maya saw her parents arrested, and her father executed on trumped-up political charges during Stalin’s purges in 1938.

Her mother was arrested and sent to a labour camp with her infant son, then exiled to Kazakhstan, leaving Maya to be raised by relatives.

Plisetskaya began studying ballet when she was nine years old. She joined the Bolshoi in 1943 and became its prima ballerina in 1960.

She was one of the most celebrated ballerinas and choreographers of the 20th century. Plisetskaya is best known for the solo dance The Dying Swan, which she perfomed for the last time at age 61. She was also well known for her roles in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, and Carmen.

A memorial evening for the Russian ballet legend will be held at the Bolshoi on November 20, the date of her birthday, Urin said.

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Tags: Russia, ballet, Plisetskaya, Bolshoi
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