The Bolshoi: under the pointe shoes of the great Plisetskaya

art & culture
The Bolshoi: under the pointe shoes of the great Plisetskaya

The Bolshoi officially opened 20 October 1856. The talents of its stars have made it an enduring symbol of Moscow and Russia.

As Moscow is best explored on foot, let's start in pointe shoes at the Bolshoi. Someone who has never heard tell of the elegiac prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, performing, in 1961, her famous spinning jumps and flying like a Sukhoi Su-7 across the Bolshoi stage to Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, will never understand the Slavic soul. She premiered under Stalin, was honoured as prima ballerina assoluta under Khrushchev, and suffered always the distrust of an anti-Semitic regime.

Jewish and a child of the enemy of the people, the ballerina, who was never part of the ballet company, became both the icon of a people under the yoke of collectivism, the diva of dance in the eyes of the greatest choreographers, and the feminine ideal of Robert Kennedy and Warren Beatty. Her legend forever haunts this neoclassical theatre, which was renovated in 2011 at a cost of almost $600 million USD. It has regained its original splendour and once again rivals the Kirov in St. Petersburg.

Théâtre Bolchoï
Theatre Square, 1
Moscow 125009

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