By Joel Lobenthal
Alla Osipenko is the gripping tale of 1 of history's maximum ballerinas, a brave insurgent who paid the fee for conversing fact to the Soviet country. She studied with Agrippina Vaganova, the main respected and influential of all Russian ballet teachers, and in 1950, she joined the Mariinsky (then-Kirov) Ballet, the place her traces, shapes, and routine either exemplified the venerable traditions of Russian ballet and propelled these traditions ahead into uncharted and experimental nation-states.
She used to be the 1st of her iteration of Kirov stars to enchant the West while she danced in Paris in 1956. yet dancing for the institution had its downsides, and Osipenko's sharp tongue and marked independence, in addition to her almost-reckless flouting of Soviet principles for private and political behavior, quickly chanced on her all yet quarantined in Russia. An across the world acclaimed ballerina on the peak of her profession, she came upon that she might now need to be triumphant within the face of each try by means of the Soviet kingdom and the Kirov management to humble her.
In Alla Osipenko, acclaimed dance author Joel Lobenthal tells Osipenko's tale for the 1st time in English, drawing on forty interviews with the prima ballerina, and tracing her existence from Classical darling to avant-garde insurgent. in the course of the booklet, Osipenko talks frankly and freely in a manner that few Russians of her new release have allowed themselves to. Her voice rises above the incidents as unhesitating and swish as her mythical adagios. Candid, irreverent, and, exceptionally, autonomous -- Osipenko and her tale open a window right into a attention-grabbing and little-discussed international.
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Additional resources for Alla Osipenko: Beauty and Resistance in Soviet Ballet
In the spring of 1947, Osipenko danced the first major role created for her, one of three female soloists in Vakhtang Chabukiani’s A Musical Moment, performed to the allegro moderato from Schubert’s Six Moments Musical. Chabukiani was already a legendary figure to the students. He had been the company’s most brilliant male star during the 1930s, forging a bravura partnership with Natalia Dudinskaya. In 1941, he had returned to his native Georgia, where he danced, directed, and choreographed at the opera house in Tblisi.
Osipenko was determined, however, that her grandmother and great-aunt would listen to it. ” During her second year in Vaganova’s class, Osipenko started to gain weight. Nina’s response was to put her on strict rations. More arguments ensued. To thwart her mother completely, Osipenko would insist that she didn’t want to become a ballet dancer after all. Waking up hungry during the night, she’d sneak into the kitchen to treat herself. Nina was baffled about why her daughter didn’t lose weight. Vaganova was, too.
For a jubilee at the Philharmonic to honor Vaganova, Osipenko was to dance both the Waltz pas de deux and the Mazurka from Chopiniana. Vaganova promised her friends that they would be watching a wonderful new girl. But things didn’t go quite as Vaganova had hoped. Osipenko’s landings were bumpy in the Mazurka. Then, toward the end of the Seventh Waltz duet, fatigue overcame her as she reached the traveling arabesques that the ballerina performs alone. Her legs almost gave way. She felt as though she had lost any connection to them.
Alla Osipenko: Beauty and Resistance in Soviet Ballet by Joel Lobenthal