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MOSCOW, January 2 (Itar-Tass) — World acclaimed Russian choreographer Yuri Grigorovich has turned 85. On Monday, Grigorovich’s The Nutcracker ballet will be performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Although a jubilee performance will be staged on January 6.
Grigorovich was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on January 2, 1927 into a family connected with the Imperial Russian Ballet. He graduated from the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1946 and danced as a soloist of the Kirov Ballet until 1962. His staging of Sergey Prokofiev’s The Stone Flower (1957) and of The Legend of Love (1961) brought him acclaim as a choreographer. In 1964, he moved to the Bolshoi Theatre, where he worked as an artistic director until 1995. His most famous productions at the Bolshoi were The Nutcracker (1966), Spartacus (1967), and Ivan the Terrible (1975). He reworked Swan Lake to produce a happy end for the story in 1984. In 1997, he left the Bolshoi over disagreement with the policies of the then theatre mangers. Thereupon he choreographed for various Russian companies before settling in Krasnodar, where he set up his own company. Grigorovich has been heading the juries of numerous international competitions in classical ballet. After the death of his wife, the great ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova, on February 19, 2008, he was offered the opportunity to return to the Bolshoi again in the capacity of ballet master and choreographer.
He still has lots of plans. Thus, in January he leaves for a Japanese tour with the Bolshoi company. After that, he will make a three-month tour of the United States with his Krasnodar Ballet company. In May, he will mark the 20th anniversary of the international ballet competition Benois de la Dance, where he has been chair of the jury. In the autumn, Grigorovich plans to rework Sergei Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible.