Biography of Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova
Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova (8 January 1919 – 21 March 1998) was a Russian ballet dancer. She is frequently cited as being one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century.
Ulanova was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she studied under Agrippina Vaganova and her own mother, a ballerina of the Imperial Russian Ballet. When she joined the Mariinsky Theatre in 1928, the press found in her "much of Semyonova's style, grace, the same exceptional plasticity and a sort of captivating modesty in her gestures". They say that Konstantin Stanislavsky, fascinated with her acting style, implored her to take part in his stage productions.
In 1944, when her fame reached Joseph Stalin, he had her transferred to the Bolshoi Theatre, where she would be the prima ballerina assoluta for 16 years. The following year, she danced the title role in the world premiere of Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella.
In 1954, she published her autobiography: L'École d'une ballerine, translated from Russian into French by Jean Champenois.
Ulanova was a great actress as well as a dancer. In 1965, when she was finally allowed to tour abroad at the age of 46, enraptured British papers wrote that "Galina Ulanova in London knew the greatest triumph of any individual dancer since Anna Pavlova". Having retired from the stage at the age of 50, she coached many generations of the Russian dancers.
Ulanova was one of the few dancers to be awarded Hero of Socialist Labour and the only one to receive this honour twice. She was also awarded the highest exclusively artistic national title, People's Artist of the USSR. And she was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1941, 1946, 1947, 1950, and the Lenin Prize in 1957. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1960.
She died in 1998 in Moscow, aged 88, and is buried in the cemetery of the Novodevichy Convent.
Ulanova's apartment in one of Moscow's Seven Sisters, the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, is preserved now as a memorial museum. Monuments to Ulanova were erected in Saint Petersburg and Stockholm.